Yep, it’s Berlin – capital of Germany. A world class city and the largest city in Germany (and of the German-speaking world) with plenty to do including museums, night life, history, and of course, football!
I’m going to state there are a lot of museums but I’m not really a museum guy so I skipped the vast majority of them because I just didn’t care especially after going to the Topography of Terror aka the former headquarters of the famous and notorious Nazi SS (Schutzstaffel) who were the ones who did surveillance, spying, and enforcing rules and laws which ultimately left them responsible for the Holocaust such as the death prison/concentration camps of Auschwitz, Dachau, and many others. Anyways, the Topography of Terror was just a bunch of reproduced photos and didn’t really show that much. That’s probably why I got museum-ed out and said, “Let’s cut the museums out.”
One of the places that should be seen is the Berlin Wall as it still stands from the Cold War days which the world saw the superpowers of the West: United States squaring off against the East: Soviet Union. The Berlin Wall was one of the greatest symbols of that time since it was well-publicized particularly after the Wall went down. Some of the Wall still stands as a reminder of that time period as tourists can see the remnants of the Soviet Union trying to keep East Germans in and prevent the West Germans and the Allies from coming in to break down the wall.
Another interesting place that relates to the Berlin Wall is Checkpoint C (C meaning Charlie). One of several checkpoints that allowed traffic in/out of West Berlin and East Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie was the more famous one as it was literally on the west-east border as the crossing point so it symbolized the Cold War there because of the standoffs between the Allies (US, UK, France) versus the Soviet Union. After the Berlin Wall came down, a lot of development occurred around the area only leaving the old guard shack remaining.
Another quick and easy sight to see are the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag which are close to each other. The Brandenburg Gate is pretty famous as many people think of the gate and they immediately think of Berlin. Built by the Prussians, it’s been a testament to surviving the times especially since it had to get re-patched due to all these bullet holes that riddled the gate until it finally got a makeover and fixed them all…. only after the end of the Cold War since the Berlin Wall was constructed near it. The Reichstag also needed huge repairs and renovations before the German government could finally use it again as their main government building.
The reason why I input the football club here is because the team plays at Olympiastadion, a famous stadium that actually held the 1936 Summer Olympics that when the Nazis came into power, they used the Games for propaganda purposes of the Nazi cause and Aryan dominance. They even built a special area for Hitler and his special staff to watch the games only to see Jesse Owens, a African-American, win an Olympic-high off 4 gold medals and humiliate the Nazis on their own home turf. Well, maybe… Germany actually won the most medals in those Olympic Games so it’s debatable.
After the end of World War II, the British Military took over Olympiastadion and its surrounding area as its headquarters and it eventually became a training ground to where they used to parade and celebrate the Queen’s Birthday every year with the local Germans in attendance until the British Military left. Other notable events in the stadium include various concerts, the FIBA World Cup, and the of course, the Champions League Final in 2015 where FC Barcelona defeated Juventus FC (Italy) to win the Champions League trophy which made it a treble since they also won the La Liga and La Copa del Rey trophies in the same season as well.
But Olympiastadion is also the home of Hertha BSC, the local football club that plays there regularly until they get a new stadium (which may or may not happen – it really depends on the local fan support and how well the team does). So, there’s a lot of history in this Olympiastadion that many other arenas or stadiums cannot say the same because they are too new. I don’t know why Hertha wants to move but they do.
I know this question will come up which is why is the football team called Hertha BSC? Hertha is actually the name of a boat that the local football team came up with and then the team later merged with BSC which stands for Berlin Sports Club. That’s why it’s called Hertha BSC and not FC Berlin or something like that. There is another Berlin football club called Union Berlin which has roots in East Berlin so the team is more East German but that team has never done that well as it’s pretty much plateaued at the second level of Bundesliga so the Berlin Derby (two Berlin teams playing against each other) has been more of a rare thing. It happens only when they are in the same league level or play in the German Cup, but unlikely. I would imagine that it would be a bigger game like FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid, but to a lesser extent.
Tip: One thing that I recommend that you do is if you’re already in Germany then travel to Berlin via train. Their main train station is huge! It’s almost like a mall in there with restaurants! It’s also centrally located which makes it perfect to take a taxi from there or even the metro to somewhere else within the city.