You begin you trip in Berlin
With a population of 3.5 million people; Berlin is third most-visited city destinations in the European Union.
First documented in the 13th century, Berlin has had an intense and varied history that has seen it devastated during the Thirty Years' War; occupied by Napoleon Bonaparte; two World Wars and the center of the Cold War, as of August 1961, when the country was divided with the building of the Berlin Wall.
In 1989, Berlin witnessed the end of the Cold War and subsequently the demolishing of the wall and one year later the two parts of Germany were reunified as the Federal Republic of Germany. Berlin again became the official German capital.
While in Berlin you will be able to experience incredible architecture such as the Fernsehturm (TV tower) at Alexanderplatz, the Brandenburg Gate, an iconic landmark of Berlin and Germany, the Reichstag building, a traditional seat of the German Parliament.
You can visit one of Berlins 153 museums including the Museum Island in the River Spree houses five museums build from 1830 to 1930 and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
No matter what you interest, Berlin has a museum for you, from the German Historical Museum and the Checkpoint Charlie museum; to the Beate Uhse Museum, the world's largest erotic museum.
You can visit Potsdamer Platz, an entire quarter built from scratch after 1995 after the wall came down or stroll through the Hackescher Markt. The Markt is home to the fashionable culture, with countless clothing outlets, clubs, bars, and galleries. This includes the Hackesche Höfe, a conglomeration of buildings around several courtyards, reconstructed around 1996.
You can wander Oranienburger Straße and see the New Synagogue, the center of Jewish culture before 1933. Although the New Synagogue is still an anchor for Jewish history and culture, Oranienburger straße and surrounding areas are increasingly known for the shopping and nightlife.
Berlin has 746 hotels, so finding a property that serves your purpose will not be an issue.
In 2005, Berlin was awarded the title of "City of Design" by UNESCO.
Next stop is Leipzig
Leipzig is a city of extremes.
Founded in 1015, Leipzig has always been known as a place of commerce.
It has been home to some of Germany’s best-known artists; Goethe was a student in Leipzig, Bach worked here as a cantor, and today, the New Leipzig school brings fresh wind into the art world.
The other side of the spectrum saw in 1938 ''The Night of the Broken Glass” which marked the beginning of the end for more than 13,000 Jewish residents in the city. Then in December 1943, Leipzig suffered its most severe air raids destroying a large portion of the city.
Besides being a center for German art and culture, the city also became famous in Germany’s recent history, when Leipzig demonstrators initiated the peaceful revolution, which lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Some of the attractions that should be visited include;
- The Thomaskirche, the church where Bach played the organ
- The “Monument to the Battle of the Nations” the monument commemorates Napoleon's defeat at Leipzig
- And the Stasi Museum, a permanent exhibition of "Stasi - Power and Banality" about "The dictatorship of the proletariat - the Ministry of State Security´s role as the SED´s instrument of terror." See how people were spied upon in Leipzig during the cold war period.
Click the link below to see 10 other great things to do in Leipzig.
In 2010, Leipzig was included in the top 10 of cities to visit by the New York Times.
The third city on your trip is just outside the German boarder but I feel is well worth the visit, Prague, Czech Republic.
I have had the opportunity to visit most of the major cities in Europe but I have to admit that Prague has left me with the WOW factor. Every corner I turned was more amazing then the last.
Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,100 year existence.
Founded during the Gothic and flourishing by the Renaissance eras, Prague was the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire and after World War I became the capital of newly formed Czechoslovakia.
Prague suffered considerably less damage during World War II than some other major cities in the region, allowing most of its historic architecture to stay true to form.
Following the war, Prague was a city, in the territory of military and political control of the Soviet Union.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Velvet Revolution, Prague benefited greatly from the new mood and in 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became the capital city of the new Czech Republic.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has become one of Europe's (and the world's) most popular tourist destinations. It contains one of the world's most pristine and varied collections of architecture, from Nouveau Art to Baroque, Renaissance, Cubist, Gothic, Neo-Classical and ultra-modern.
Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of twentieth century Europe. Main attractions include the following: Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall, and Petřín hill.
Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Walking around the heart of the city is very easy.
If you are looking for affordable accommodations, I highly recommend HostelWorld.com to find some of the best places to stay throughout this incredible city.
In my opinion Prague is one of the cities that everyone should try to visit at least once.
This is a sample of what you could experience in these three European cities.
If you would like more information, ideas or an itinerary customized just for you please contact us at Rhapsody Tours for your free consultation.
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(Music Credit for Video: Aoife Granville "The Reheen")