Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the largest grade-separated rail station in Europe, Wikimedia Commons
Berlin, Germany - is the capital of Germany and one of the 16 states of Germany with a population of 3.4 million people in northeastern Germany on the River Spree. Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate and around one third of the city's area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.
First documented in the 13th century, Berlin became the capital of the
Kingdom of Prussia (1701-1918), the
German Empire (1871-1918), the
Weimar Republic (1919-33) and the
Third Reich (1933-45). After World War II, the city, along with the German state, was divided into
East Berlin -capital of the German Democratic Republic, colloquially identified in English as East Germany - and West Berlin, a political exclave (surrounded by the
Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989) known colloquially in English as West Germany from 1949 to 1990. Following German reunification in 1990, the city was once more designated as the capital of all Germany.
Berlin is a world city of culture, politics, media, and science, hosting 147 foreign embassies. Its economy is primarily based on high-tech industries and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations, and convention venues. Berlin also serves as a continental hub for air and rail transport and is a popular tourist destination.
Berlin is home to renowned universities, research institutes, orchestras, museums, and celebrities and is host to many sporting events. Its urban setting and historical legacy have made it a popular location for international film productions. The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts, public transportation networks, and an extremely high quality of living.
Berlin has a long history of gay culture and influence on popular entertainment, and according to some authors, in the 1920s the city was the Gay Capital of Europe. Today, the city has a huge number of gay clubs and festivals, such as Easter fetish week Easter in Berlin,
Berlin Pride (Christopher Street Day)-central Europe's largest gay-lesbian pride event celebrated on the last weekend of June-Folsom Europe and Hustlaball.
Berlin is home to 153 museums. The ensemble on the Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is situated in the northern part of the Spree Island between the Spree and the Kupfergraben. Berlin is home to more than 50 theaters. The Deutsches Theater in Mitte was built in 1849-50 and has operated continuously since then, except for a one-year break (1944-45) due to the Second World War. The VolksbÜhne at Rosa Luxemburg Platz was built in 1913-14, though the company had been founded in 1890. The Berliner Ensemble, famous for performing the works of Bertolt Brecht, was established in 1949, not far from the Deutsches Theater. The Schaubühne was founded in 1962 in a building in Kreuzberg, but in 1981 moved to the building of the former Universum Cinema on KurfÜrstendamm.
Berlin has three major opera houses: the Deutsche Oper, the Berlin State Opera, and the Komische Oper. The Berlin State Opera on Unter den Linden opened in 1742 and is the oldest of the three. Its current musical director is Daniel Barenboim. The Komische Oper has traditionally specialized in operettas and is located at Unter den Linden as well. The Deutsche Oper opened in 1912 in Charlottenburg. During the division of the city from 1961 to 1989 it was the only major opera house in West Berlin. The city's main venue for musical theater performances is the Theater des Westens (built 1895). There are seven symphony orchestras in Berlin. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world.