Berlin – Beyond the Wall
Berlin has been the nexus for many pivotal moments in modern European history as its urban fabric bears witness. Join Nick Jackson, an archaeologist who lives in Berlin, who will reveal to you a Berlin only residents know. He will uncover the fascinating narrative of the region’s past and present: from its Royal Prussian palaces, to its place in Nazi fantasies, and its role as a hub of both socialist cultures and radical countercultures. You will explore a plethora of gems, including the Ishtar Gate housed in the Pergamon Museum and world-changing treaties, to secret escape tunnels and the vibrant city of today. We will introduce you to this multi-faceted culture while allowing you time on your own to experience one of Europe’s most dynamic cities.
We fly to Berlin from London. In the evening we take a stroll through the heart of Berlin to explore the Prussian city shaped in large part by Frederick the Great. We take in the Opera House, Humboldt University, founded by Frederick William III in the 19th century, as well as the Memorial at Bebelplatz, commemorating the 22,000 books- mainly Jewish or communist - that were burned by students and professors of the National Socialist Student Union in May 1933.
We spend the morning at Museum Island, the cultural heart of imperial Berlin where we explore innumerable treasures, including the reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate, and the Babylonian Processional Way at the Pergamon Museum, as well as the famous bust of Nefertiti at the Neues Museum. After lunch we visit the Jewish Quarter where we see memorials such as the Stumbling Stones and Deserted Room and consider Otto Weidt who employed blind and deaf Jews to make brooms and brushes, thereby saving them from deportation. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore.
We spend the day in Potsdam where we visit Sanssouci, Frederick the Great’s Rococo private residence built in the mid 18th century. As the soubriquet suggests, the palace was conceived as a very private palace where Frederick could escape from Berlin and be ‘without worries’. Rather unlike Versailles, it isn’t very large because it wasn’t designed to host the court; that said, like Versailles it has extensive grounds on where there are a number of follies. We proceed to Cecilienhof, a very different royal palace built by the Hohenzollern during World War I, ironically in the form of an English Tudor manor house. Famously, it was the site of the Potsdam conference at the end of WW2.
We journey to Wittenberg today to visit a number of World Heritage Sites associated with Luther. These include the Lutherhaus, originally part of the University of Wittenberg, it became Martin Luther’s residence and is where he wrote his 95 theses. We also visit the Castle Church, or rather All Satins’ Church, where he allegedly nailed his 95 theses to the door and where he is buried. In this town steeped in the reformation, we visit the houses of other figures important to the movement, such as Melanchthon and the painter, Cranach.
This morning, we explore Berlin’s famous sites, including the Reischstag. Its glass dome, designed by Norman Foster, has transformed the building into a symbol of German unity as well as civic transparency. We also visit Brandenburg Gate, modelled on the Propylaeum of the Athenian Acropolis and one of the most iconic sites in Berlin. We complete the morning with a visit to ‘Checkpoint Charlie’, the infamous crossing point between East and West so redolent of the city’s Cold War period. Our tour will end this afternoon and we transfer to the airport for flights home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Andante Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with water (wine with dinners)
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
- Field Notes
- Hotels - Accommodation in hand-picked hotels.