- 3 hours
Our tour begins at Pariser Platz in the shadow of the iconic Brandenburg Gate. Looking at this magnificent structure, we will discuss the city’s imperial past and hear some of the stories that have elevated this instantly recognizable gate to its symbolic status. As we continue through Berlin’s historic center, we’ll stop at key sites associated with the city, paying special attention to everything that can’t be seen. Relentlessly bombed during the Second World War and largely neglected during the years of the Berlin Wall, much of this area has only been reconstructed in the past two decades. We will also seek out examples of what one architectural historian has called the ghosts of Berlin--places where the many layers of history are visible alongside each other, from imperial ambition to Nazi terror and Communist rule. (For more in-depth explorations of these topics, take a look at our Berlin Nazi tour and Berlin Cold War tour.)
As our tour ends, we’ll have a better sense of this remarkable city and what may be in store for Berlin in the 21st century. Feel free to continue your exploration of the city on your own, either visiting the numerous world-class museums just around the corner, strolling to the nearby Hackesche Höfe for a good German meal or beer, or hopping on an S- or U-Bahn to visit another exciting part of the capital.
Reichstag Dome reservations are incredibly difficult to secure, and therefore we do not currently offer this option.
Our guides have the flexibility to craft their own narrative based on the major sights of Berlin's city center. Locations visited may include: the Brandenburger Tor, Reichstag, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, former site of Hitler’s bunker, former Nazi chancellery, Berlin Wall fragments behind the former Reich Ministry of Aviation, Topography of Terror, Friedrichstrasse, Gendarmenmarkt (site of the Französischer Dom, Deutscher Dom and Konzerthaus), Bebelplatz, Opera House, Sankt-Hedwigs-Kathedrale, Unter den Linden, Lustgarten and Museum Island, Nikolaiviertel, Alexanderplatz and Hackescher Markt.
Yes. Because Berlin's city center is filled with important historical sites, especially from the period of World War II, both walks tread over similar ground, but using a different thematic lens.
Yes, certainly! This walk can be booked on a private basis for any day, any time. In winter (November-February) it's better not to start later than 1:30-2:00 pm because it gets dark by 3:30-4:00 pm.
Christina is an East Berliner who was born in the GDR, a socialist republic that no longer exists. She danced on the Wall in 1989, and closely observed the restructuring of Germany and the frantic urban transformation of Berlin. At the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) she earned an MA in cultural history and comparative social sciences, particularly the ideology-based history of the twentieth century. Her dissertation was on a more contemporary subject of "The Economic Impact of the Contemporary Art Scene on the city of Berlin." She now works as an arts administrator, manages urban development initiatives, and since 2006 routinely walks guests through the eclectic and varied political, cultural, and architectural histories of the German capital and beyond.
Robert grew up in East Berlin during the 1980s and went on to study at the University of Florence, Italy. He received his PhD in cultural studies from Humboldt University of Berlin where his dissertation focused on sexual violence in the Nazi concentration camps. He recently worked as a researcher for the BBC and as a historian for the Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück concentration camp memorials. His interests range from the history of art and architecture to modern European history and WWII. Robert worked for Hampshire College and has given guest lectures at both Boston University and Brown University. He has been working as a tour guide for more than ten years.
After completing studies in archaeology at Bournemouth University, England, in 2004, Aaron has worked as an archaeologist in the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, London, and all over southern England. Holding the position of Senior Archaeologist at the Museum of London Archaeology Service from 2006–2012, he supervised numerous site excavations dating from the Neolithic period (5000BC) through to the Second World War. Since arriving in Germany, he has continued his archaeological career through excavations in Bavaria, Brandenburg, and Berlin, Mitte. Aaron was more recently involved in an excavation in Klosterstrasse which was determined to be the oldest medieval remains in the city, and he holds the distinction of finding the “oldest medieval pig in Berlin" at this site. It could be said that he operates at the ‘coal face,' helping to rewrite and refine the known histories of places through his archaeological work. Aaron also has had a lifelong passion for military history, particularly that of the Second World War, and finds Berlin an ideal landscape for digging into that history.
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