Mitte Governmental Sites Walking Tour (Self Guided), Berlin

Reunified Germany’s government district comprises several buildings that symbolically link the former East and West Berlin. Follow this route around the Mitte borough to comprehend Berlin's historic, political and architectural connections in their entirety.
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Mitte Governmental Sites Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Mitte Governmental Sites Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Berlin (See other walking tours in Berlin)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Author: clare
1
Hauptbahnhof

1) Hauptbahnhof

The Hauptbahnof is the major railway terminal in the city of Berlin. The present structure with a glass roof replaced an older 19th century building called the Lehrter Bahnof.

The Hauptbahnof was ceremonially opened by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2006. It was designed by an architecture firm based in Hamburg called Gerkan Marg and Partners. It has five levels. The first level is underground and has a series of tunnels through which trains run under the River Spree. The station hall is made with steel and glass and runs in an east to west direction. At the middle of the hall is a 160 meter long and 40 meter wide station building that runs in a north south direction. It has 70,000 square meters of floor space with retail stores and cafes. All types of shops are located here from pharmacies to florists. For this reason, it has been described as a shopping center with a railway connection.

The Haupbahnof is operated by DB Station and Service and is classified as a Category I station. There are six passenger tracks on the upper level and 8 in the lower level. About 1,800 trains travel in and out every day carrying over 350,000 passengers.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Bundeskanzleramt

2) Bundeskanzleramt

The Bundeskanzleramt or German Chancellery building contains the offices and residence of the German Chancellor. It was constructed after the unification of Germany when the seat of the Chancellor shifted to Berlin from Bonn in the erstwhile West Germany.

The Bundeskanzleramt was designed by Berlin based architects, Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank. It was completed in 2001. The structure flanks three sides of a ceremonial courtyard. It has nine floors and is 36 meters high. It has a series of free standing columns with a curved concrete roof forming an awning at the entrance. It has plenty of windows that let natural light and air into the building to conserve electricity costs. A circular staircase at the entrance leads to conference rooms, the office of the chancellor and dining rooms where official banquets are held. The Chancellery has a postmodern style of architecture and occupies a floor area of 12,000 square meters. State guests are received in the expansive courtyard. The highlight of the courtyard is an iron sculpture called Berlin by the Spanish artist, Eduardo Chillida.

The Bundeskanzleramt is one of the largest government buildings in the world. Visitors are not allowed except on the open day in September when conducted tours around the complex are organized.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Paul-Löbe-Haus

3) Paul-Löbe-Haus

The Paul Lobe Haus is one of the parliamentary buildings in Berlin. It has the offices of 22 parliamentary committees, the PR division and the office of the visitor’s service located within its walls. It was named after the last elected parliamentary president during the Weimar Republic before the Nazis assumed power.

The Paul Lobe Haus was designed by Munich based architect, Stephan Braunfels. He also designed another building called the Marie Elisabeth Leuders Haus on the other bank of the River Spree. The two structures have similar roof edges and are connected by a double sided footbridge that runs across the river to symbolize the unification of Germany. The building became functional in the year 2001.

The Paul Lobe Haus covers an area of 61,000 square meters. It has 1700 rooms that make up 550 offices for 275 members of parliament. There are also 19 meeting rooms and the 22 parliamentary committees occupy 450 offices. The structure looks like a double comb and has eight courtyards. The imposing entrance is under a porch held by four filigree columns. At the center of the building is a glass roofed hall with transparent staircases and glass elevators. There is a restaurant located within the building serving officials staff and visitors.
4
Reichstag Building

4) Reichstag Building (must see)

The Reichstag Building is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933 when it was severely damaged in a fire supposedly set by Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe. After the Second World War, the Reichstag building fell into disuse as the parliament of the German Democratic Republic met in the Palace of the Republic in East Berlin and the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany met in the Bundeshaus in Bonn. The official German reunification ceremony on 3 October 1990, was held at the Reichstag building, including Chancellor Helmut Kohl, President Richard von Weizsäcker, former Chancellor Willy Brandt and many others. One day later, the parliament of the united Germany would assemble in an act of symbolism in the Reichstag building. The Reichstag dome is the large glass dome at the very top of the building. The dome has a 360-degree view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape and is open to anyone, although the waiting queues can be very long, especially in summertime.

Why You Should Visit:
Free attraction providing some pretty unique views across Berlin.
The lift takes you up to the top floor where you pick up audio guides and are then free to wander into the dome and take photos.

Tip:
Don't forget to book in advance at the information desk or via the website, and you'll need identification for entry.
If you make a reservation in the Käfer Roofgarden at the very top, you don't have to stand in line (note: the Käfer is in the pricey category).
Don't forget to wrap up, as all the glass "windows" are actually open and it gets pretty cold up there.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-12am
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Brandenburg Gate

5) Brandenburg Gate (must see)

The Brandenburg Gate (German: Brandenburger Tor) is a former city gate and one of the main symbols of Berlin and Germany. It is located west of the city center at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. It is the only remaining gate of a series through which one formerly entered Berlin. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building. The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees which formerly led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs. The Gate survived World War II and was one of the few structures standing in the Pariser Platz ruins in 1945. Vehicles and pedestrians could travel freely through the gate until the Berlin Wall was built, 13 August 1961. The Wall was erected as an arc just west of the gate, cutting off access from West Berlin. When the Revolutions of 1989 occurred and the Wall fell, the gate symbolized freedom and the desire to unify the city of Berlin.

Why You Should Visit:
Besides the photo-op, its historical significance alone should be enough a reason to visit.

Tip:
Go and see it when it gets dark as it looks stunning when lit up.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Pariser Platz

6) Pariser Platz (must see)

The Pariser Platz is a large square located behind Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and named after the French capital city, Paris to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon and occupation of France by Prussian armed forces and other armies that formed the allied forces in 1814.

The Pariser Platz was a grand square in Berlin and many important buildings stood around it. It was laid between 1732 and 1735 and was simply called "the square" at first, before being renamed in honor of the services of the Prussian army in the defeat of Napoleon. Notable structures that flanked the square were the French and American Embassies, the Academy of Arts and the Aldon Hotel which was once the finest in Berlin. After the Berlin bombings during WWII, only the Brandenburg Gate remained standing though damaged by bombing raids and artillery fire. In divided Germany, the square was an abandoned space that divided Berlin. Today, Pariser Platz is being restored to its former glory by the city government.

Pariser Platz is an important tourist meeting place in unified Berlin. Many walking tours start here and it is also the spot where visitors can rent bikes for touring and take horse cart rides around the city. The Brandenburg Gate flanking the square is an important monument and Berlin's best-known landmark.

Why You Should Visit:
The best point to get a good photo of the Brandenburg Gate and also the beginning of "Unter den Linden" Boulevard.

Tip:
Do yourself a favor: come early in the morning or late at night to have this beautiful square to yourself. Special architecture and pretty illumination. Take your private, undisturbed walk through the Brandenburg Gate at 11pm and enjoy.
In the morning, sneak into DZ Bank and get a glimpse at the fascinating architecture. Or visit the exhibitions in the Max-Liebermann-Haus right next to the gate, where paintings of the 1920s are displayed.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
DZ Bank

7) DZ Bank

The DZ Bank (formerly DG Bank) building is a mixed-use: office, conference, and residential complex, located at Pariser Platz 3 in Berlin. It was designed by architect Frank Gehry and engineered by Hans Schober of Schlaich Bergermann & Partner. The construction began in 1998 and was completed in 2000. Facing the Brandenburg Gate are offices, the headquarters of Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank. On the other side, facing Behrenstraße, are 39 residential apartments. Between the two is a large atrium, designed as a venue for conferences or performances. It is covered with a sophisticated glass-grid roof, curved in a complex form typical of Gehry's designs.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Unter den Linden

8) Unter den Linden (must see)

Unter den Linden ("under the linden trees") is an iconic boulevard in the central Mitte district of Berlin, named for its linden ("lime" in British English) trees that line the grassed pedestrian mall between two carriageways. Unter den Linden runs east-west from the site of the former Stadtschloss royal palace at the Lustgarten park, where the demolished Palast der Republik used to be, to Pariser Platz and Brandenburg Gate.

Unter den Linden at the heart of the historic section of Berlin developed from a bridle path laid out by Elector John George of Brandenburg in the 16th century to reach his hunting grounds in the Tiergarten. It was replaced by a boulevard of linden trees planted in 1647, extending from the city palace to the gates of the city, by order of the “Great Elector” Frederick William. By the 19th century, as Berlin grew and expanded to the west, Unter den Linden became the best-known and grandest street in Berlin.

Why You Should Visit:
At one end you have the Brandenburg Gate and Pariser Platz, and to the other end, you have Berlin Cathedral and Alexanderplatz. In between is a feast for the eyes.

Tip:
Get your walking shoes on and immerse yourself.
If you visit in early October, catch the Festival of Lights.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Holocaust Memorial

9) Holocaust Memorial (must see)

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (German: Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas), also known as the Holocaust Memorial (German: Holocaust-Mahnmal), is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims and other victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000 square meter site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae", one for each page of the Talmud arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. According to Eisenman's project text, the stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. An attached underground "Place of Information" (German: Ort der Information) holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem. It was inaugurated on May 10, 2005, sixty years after the end of World War II, and opened to the public on May 12 of the same year.

Tip:
After walking outside around the monuments, make your way downstairs to the free exhibit (€3 for an audio guide). It takes about 45 minutes to walk through, starting with the history of the Holocaust, then displaying some snippets of letters and journal entries by those taken to concentration camps.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-8pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Checkpoint Charlie

10) Checkpoint Charlie (must see)

Checkpoint Charlie was one of the three crossing points from East to West Germany after the construction of the Berlin Wall. It later became one of the symbols of the Cold War and is a tourist attraction because of its immortalization by American movies and spy novels.

After completion of the Berlin Wall's construction, the Americans established three crossing points, A, B, and C. They were called Checkpoint Alpha, Bravo and Charlie by the NATO forces. Checkpoint Charlie became the only crossing point by 1962. It was the location where the documents of visitors and diplomats were checked by East Germans before issuing visas. It was also the venue of a standoff between America and the Soviet Union with their tanks facing each other on either side of the checkpoint when an American diplomat was refused a visa soon after the building of the wall.

Today, a replica of the original Checkpoint Charlie booth stands at the site with a, ‘You are now leaving the American Sector’, sign that once marked the border between East and West Germany. There is also a museum near the venue which is dedicated to freedom with exhibits relating to the many escape attempts over the Berlin Wall.

Why You Should Visit:
Bit of a tourist trap, but a good part of the city's history. The surrounding area is also steeped in history and you can walk around the streets to see the Berlin Wall and try the great local cafés.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Berlin, Germany

Create Your Own Walk in Berlin

Create Your Own Walk in Berlin

Creating your own self-guided walk in Berlin is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Famous Religious Sights Walking Tour

Famous Religious Sights Walking Tour

Berlin has a diversity of historic and modern religious sights. Among the most acclaimed ones are places of worship which are centuries old, like St. Mary’s church, which is one of the oldest in the city, dating back to the 13th century. Take this tour to discover the magnificent religious heritage of Berlin and its landmark places of worship.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.8 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Berlin without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Berlin, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Berlin Nightlife Walk

Berlin Nightlife Walk

Nightlife is buzzing in every single quarter of this fantastic city. Berlin is all about going out and having fun. Bars and clubs are generally open until the wee hours of the morning, and you’ll find plenty of choices to suit any taste. Take this tour to enjoy Berlin's dynamic nightlife.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Third Reich Walking Tour of Berlin

Third Reich Walking Tour of Berlin

The Third Reich and Nazi Germany are the common English names for Germany between 1933 and 1945, while it was led by Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Take this tour to get familiar with the unparalleled history of the most defining figure and regime of the 20th Century – Hitler and the Third Reich.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Berlin for Kids Walking Tour

Berlin for Kids Walking Tour

Berlin has a lot to offer its little tourists and their parents too. Here, kids will have a wonderful opportunity to enjoy boundless games, sports and recreation facilities. Numerous museums will let them discover the world of art and history. Take this tour together with your little ones to dive into the miraculous atmosphere of childhood.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Mitte Orientation Walk

Mitte Orientation Walk

Ever since the reunification of Germany, Berlin has been enjoying a growing influx of tourists year on year. This orientation walk takes you to the central-most borough of Berlin – Mitte – emerged in 2001 as a result of amalgamation of some former West and East Berlin districts. On this tour you will visit, among other attractions, some of the city's most iconic highlights, such as the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 km

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