Berlin Impressions: Modern Tales

Berlin’s role as a city of imagination, myths and symbols can hardly be overestimated. The name Berlin appears for the first time in recorded history in 1244, seven years after that of its sister town, Kölln, with which it later merged. Both were founded near the beginning of the 13th century. The Berlin area was abandoned to the Slavs by the original Germanic tribes as they had migrated westward. Berlin still retains a defiant black bear standing on its hind legs as its symbol as the Slavs were subdued by Albert I the Bear.

The democratization of Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union moved the centre of European gravity eastward. This shift, expressed also by the transfer of the German federal government from the Rhine to the Spree, made Berlin the political, economic, and cultural hub of central Europe. When Berlin was a provincial capital, it only rarely rivaled cities such as London and Paris. From the 18th century on, however, its cultural contribution became distinctive, and if its 19th-century title “Athens on the Spree” seems exaggerated, the contribution of Berlin to architecture, the arts and sciences nevertheless has been considerable. Despite the stigma of Nazism, the destruction of war and division Berlin was able to rebuild its reputation as a centre of international cultural life. In fact, the division of the city into two halves doubled many of its cultural institutions and activities. As a consequence the modern Berlin is unique in its large number and variety of cultural expressions.

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    Not me for sure!

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    Bear is a traditional symbol of Berlin. But which one?, as one inquisitive observer could wonder…

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    Good night, Berlin!

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    The ceiling stucco ornament in one of the Castle of Genshagen’s rooms.

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    Justice and injustice fighting in front of Berlin’s Criminal Court. But who is who?

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    How swift and efficient a female can be? It is as good as a DSL connection called Alice! No understanding of current internet tariffs by Sophie Charlotte on the left.

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    Criminal Court and „Fuck Bush”. Why?!

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    That’s is why!

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    City of street art.

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    Probably the most shining smile in the world…

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    …of the most trasparent man

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    Symbols of Germany come in different forms and shapes

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