Photography By Heide Van Doren Betz


Berlin Mitte

Rich And Famous In History, Survival And Perseverance

The Berlin Cathedral or, Berliner Dom, seen through the columns of the Altes Museum


Berlin Mitte, one of several sections of Berlin, began as a trading post in the 12th century.  It became the central part of the Soviet sector, the DDR (East Germany), in 1945 until the reunification of Germany in 1990. Much of Berlin Mitte was bombed during the war and remained in various states of destruction or disrepair until after the reunification of East and West in 1990.

Berlin’s Brandenburger Tor: Photo opportunities for tourists abound, as with these two actors posing as soldiers

The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 by the DDR as a concrete barrier cutting off travel and communication from the East Berlin to the West.  Today the Wall Museum is a popular attraction with commissioned outdoor wall murals and historic photographic exhibitions.

Neues Museum: Xanten Youth, c. 1st century AD

The Mitte is one of the most vital areas in the new German capital.  The world-class museums of Museum Island – the Pergamon, Altes Museum, Neues Museum, and Bode have been redesigned to accommodate extensive collections from former West and East Berlin museums.  The modern shopping malls include state of the art international retail stores.  The television tower is the highest structure in the country with a visitor center and a revolving restaurant on top.  King Frederick William built the Brandenburg Gate, which sits majestically at the start of the picturesque Unter den Linden Boulevard, in the late 1700s.  It was severely damaged during World War II and covered with barbed wire during the DDR rule.  Brandenburger Tor in its restored glory continues to be a symbol of not only Berlin but also Germany.  Not far from the Gate is the Reichstag building, the seat of the German parliament, the Bundestag.  The historic building reconstruction, complete with glass dome was completed in 1999, after having been destroyed during both the First, and the Second World War and subsequently neglected.  The imposing Berliner Dom, known as the Protestant St. Peter’s, rebuilt in 1905 by and for the Hohenzollern royal dynasty, on the site of earlier churches beginning in the 13th century, is another highlight of Byzantine architecture.  Gendarmenmarkt, one of Europe’s magnificent urban squares, is known for several noteworthy architectural structures, among them the French and the German Doms.  All were restored in the mid 1990s to house historical exhibitions.  Many elegant shops, hotels, cafés and restaurants are in the vicinity of this square.  While Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall is considered one of Europe’s finest, with an illustrious legend of famous conductors, many outdoor musical events are in the Gendarmenmarkt Square.

Neues Museum: Museum of Egyptian Antiquities – Ptolemy III, c. 220 BC

Berlin has much to offer.  If you can only see one area, explore Museum Island, Mitte. The rich and famous treasures gathered here, will remain with you for a lifetime.


Pergamon Museum: Detail of the Great Frieze of the Altar of Pergamon, representing battle between the Gods and the Giants



Neues Museum: Egyptian Antiquties – Fragment of a Pillar of King Seti I, standing in front of the God Osiris, c. 1300 BC


A section of Berlin’s Museum of the Wall or, Mauer Museum, exterior wall commissioned murals


The Kiss, one of the most famous commissioned wall murals in Berlin, shows Communist leader Leonid Brezhnev kissing Erich Honecker, the leader of the DDR.
(The German caption reads: My God, help me to survive this deadly love affair.)

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