Germany is one of the favorite tourist destinations in the world and one of the favorite places to visit is Berlin. Berlin is known for its rich history and it remains one of the top destinations for lovers of modern art. The most vibrant part of Berlin history happened in the 1920s when the world became conscious of Berlin as a renowned world city. The notable features of the Berlin of that time include science, education, government, music, film and art in general.
As a matter of fact the “Weimar era” began as a result of several art movements including the German Expressionism which started in World War I. several other art forms sprung up at that time mainly as opposition to the existing German Expressionism of that time. The art continued to evolve and its reach extended into the architectural designs, painting and fashion. There are numerous amazing sights to explore in Berlin so as to fully enjoy the evolution of its modern art and six of them will be highlighted briefly as follows.
1. Stay in the newly opened Art Nouveau Henri Berlin boutique hotel
This hotel is located in a vantage point close to the subway, making transportation to and from the hotel easy. The Henri Berlin hotel was built in the architectural style of the 1920s and was recently renovated. The interior boasts of stucco ceilings and décor in the Art Nouveau style which contributes to the elegance of the hotel. It is a well-designed 4-star hotel which offers great accommodation and attractions such as its closeness to the picturesque tree-lined Kurfuerstendamm Boulevard, the Berlin Zoological Garden, top of the line boutiques, restaurants and cafes among others. In addition to its choice location, the 68 room hotel also has facilities like a great wellness area, fantastic dining services, a well-stocked bar, free Wi-Fi and a gym. With the recent renovations carried out, the Henri boutique hotel is bound to become a favorite among tourists.
2. Take a walk through the Kurfürstendamm and relive the ‘Golden Twenties’
This is one of the few places one can visit so as to have a feel of the 1920s Berlin. The Kurfürstendamm used to be the nightlife center of Berlin in the 1920s and the historic buildings still standing are reminiscent of that era. The area is surrounded by other historic buildings and sculptures, as well as luxury boutiques like Gucci, Escada, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Giorgio Armani. There are numerous cafes and restaurants lining the tree-lined streets and they have a wide array of dishes, snacks and drinks as part of their menu. In addition several car manufacturers have their showrooms also lining the street. The walk through the Kurfürstendamm is as much fun as it is educative.
3. Discover Oranienburger’s architectural jewels: The New Synagogue
The first building was constructed between 1859 and 1866 and it was meant to serve as the synagogue for the Jewish community in Berlin. The building has gone through many changes and renovations due to extensive damage over the years. However, the building has still not lost its appeal and it is one of the significant monuments that speak of Berlin’s 19th century history. The synagogue is truly a sight to behold; the interlocking construction of terracotta, brick and glazed bricks on the outside is fascinating. The synagogue also has a central dome made with iron which gives it the appearance of having gilded ribs. Overall, the Oranienburger synagogue is an awe-inspiring sight and should rank high on the list of things you should do while in Berlin especially if you are interested in architecture.
4. Have a look at the old buildings in Mehringdamm
The Mehringdamm is a street located in southern part of Berlin, precisely Kreuzberg. It is a historical street with many 19th century buildings and currently forms the federal route 96. There are several interesting buildings and centers in this area that will make for an educative and thrilling experience.
5. See the Art Nouveau Hackesche Höfe
This is a classic example of the art nouveau architecture and it is located in the Mitte district of Berlin. The collection of buildings form a courtyard which has been designated a heritage site. The area is one of most popular entertainment centers in Berlin and it also combines easy access, architecture and art works as part of its appeal. The surrounding structures of interest are the Jewish cemetery, the synagogues, memorial tombstones, the Chamäleon Variety Theatre and the Hackescher Hof Restaurant. The Hackesche Höfe is a symbol of the vibrant and new Berlin, a fact made obvious by the urban blends that can be found in the area.
6. …and enjoy the street art in Berlin
The streets of Berlin are home to the works of some of the best street artists in the world. The art works include graffiti and murals of all kinds that can be found all over the city. Some of these art works have attained landmark status and you cannot help but notice them while others are more subtle and you might not find them unless you know where to look. The streets of Kreuzberg, Mitte and Friedrichshain have some of the most fascinating street arts in Berlin. The styles of street art that can be found include postal, cut-outs, spray painting, and many others. On closer observation, you might be able to figure out the inspiration for these works while some are strictly contemporary. In order to get the full benefit of a walk down these streets, you might need the help of a local resident who knows a lot about the street arts so they will guide you to the hidden ones. However, if you do not have a guide, the numerous artworks lining the walls and the streets are plenty enough for your eyes.
Olivier Templar-James is Chief Editor at Luxury Travelers Guide.