Berlin is a large metropolis with the charm of an international village. The metropolis is a worldly city, encompassing a diverse range of social activities, making it one of Germany’s popular tourist destinations. It is a world city of culture, politics, media and science. Its economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities and media corporations. Modern Berlin is home to world renowned universities, orchestras, museums, entertainment venues and it hosts many sporting events. Its urban setting has made it a sought-after location for international film productions. The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts and a high quality of living. About one third of Berlin is comprised of forests, rivers, parks and gardens, giving nature an opportunity to thrive as well.
First documented in the 13th century and situated at the crossing of two important historic trade routes, Berlin became the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg (1417–1701), the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the Third Reich (1933–1945). Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II and its subsequent occupation by the victorious countries, the city was divided; East Berlin was declared capital of East Germany, while West Berlin became a de facto West German exclave, surrounded by the Berlin Wall (1961–1989) and East German territory. Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of all of Germany.
Today, the city is a bon vivant, passionately feasting on the smorgasbord of life, never taking things, or itself, too seriously. Bismarck and Marx, Einstein and Hitler, JFK and Bowie, they’ve all shaped, and been shaped by, Berlin, whose richly textured history stares you in the face at every turn. This is a city that staged a revolution, was headquartered by Nazis, bombed to bits, divided in two and finally reunited – and that was just in the 20th century! It’s like an endlessly fascinating 3D textbook where the past is very much present wherever you go.