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Berlin, much more than two

Rivers, East and West, wars, old and new districts, ruins, skyscrapers. The greenest city in Germany –the capital city and the largest city in the country- is located in the North, on a plain area, divided by the Havel river and its main tributary, the Spree, converging in the district of Spandau. Almost one third of its area consists of lakes and forests. Half a million trees have been planted for the past twenty years to make up for the thousand trees lost during the bombardments in the last two World Wars, Berlin was the heart of the Third Reich and an important militar target. Nowadays the capital city of the 3rd economic power in the World is a rich and thriving city, with more than 160 museums, art exhibitions, three Operas, the Philarmonic Orchestra, concerts, medieval jousting tournaments, theatres, popular festivals: cultural supply in Berlin is wide and assorted. The Festival calendar is full all year long: in February the Berlin International Film Festival (the Berlinale) with films competing for the Golden Bear, the Berlin International Dance Festival in August, the Foreign Music Festival from July to August, the Bach Festival and Love parade, both in July, the Jazz Fest Berlin in October and November. The german capital city is an important press centre, with communications media , sport events, souvenirs (ceramic and zinc jars, antiques, classical music, football items, and those related to the Berlin Wall and the “ostalgie”: recalling the socialist regime and the cultural characteristics disappeared after the reunification), fairs and congresses.
Berlin is an important historical centre as well, with its palaces and gardens which give proof of Prussian architecture; Cold War and aircraft shelters in the cellars, the remains of the Iron curtain which divided the city in two zones: West and East Berlin; monuments and tributes for those who died here ( the Holocaust Memorial, the Statue in the Bendlerblock courtyard, in honour of the German Resistance -Federal Ministry of Defence- the German Resistance Memorial Centre, the Parliament of Trees and the Chapel of Reconciliation located in the former 'no-man's land' between East and West Berlin).
All European History of the 20th century is summarized in this city split in two until 1989, with border crossings at Checkpoint Charlie and at Friederichstrasse S-Bahn station, which have been the backdrop for uncountable movie films and docummentaries. Today, 20 years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the city evolves continuously: a city, much more than another brick in the wall, much more than two.

History of the City

The German tribes , formed by Germans, Bavarians, Frankish and Saxons laid the foundations of the actual German people (Deutsche). The word German, from Latin “Germanus” was used by the Romans to name the rest of the tribes in Central Europe. The idiomatic affinities will identify the country as Deutschland (Alemania= Deutsche , land=tierra), the place where German language is spoken. Berlin is the capital city of this country, and from its birth a dichotomy is present throughout its rich History: the first settlements dating from the 12th century were in Cölln -on the actual Museum island of the Spree- and Berlin north side of the Spree river). In 1307 both cities joined and took the name of Berlin.
During the First German Empire (1701-1806, Napoleon’s conquest) and after the coronation of Frederick William III as King of Prussia, Berlin becomes the seat of the Royal Residence. A Second German Empire (II Reich) starts in 1871 and lasts until the end of the First World War in 1918. The Monarchy extinguishes, together with an increasing economical and financial crisis and revolutionary riots, radical and opposite movements arise, extreme right and extreme left.
Even though a cultural, scientific and artisitc flowering is experienced in the “Golden Twenties”, the centre of which is Berlin. The Third Reich arrives led by Adolf Hitler: dictatorship, persecution, horror, debris and large areas of the capital city of Germany are destroyed and the population killed. The allies divide Berlin into 4 sectors and the Soviet sector blocks 3 of them building a 160 km long Wall, enclosing West Berlin (capital city of the Fedreal Republic of Germany) in some kind of island. This Iron Curtain, symbol of the Cold War and of Germany’s division stood from 1961 to 1989, dividing the city in two cities: East and West Berlin. Reunification was cheeerfully cellebrated by Berliners and Berlin became Germany’s political centre.

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