Berlin: Should You Stay Eastside or Westside?
The capital of Germany and home to more than 3.5 million people and is a surprisingly green city that is home to extraordinary parks and many scenic landmarks. With so many historical and cultural attractions, Berlin is a renowned destination. Yet many travelers find it difficult to decide which part of the city to stay. As both are home to a myriad of revered accommodations from boutique hotels to cozy inns, many travelers wonder if they should reside in East or West Berlin.
The Two Halves of Berlin
Prior to WWII, of course, Berlin was a unified city. In 1945 the city was divided; Britain, the U.S. and France maintained control of West Berlin while the Soviet Union controlled Easter Berlin as well as East Germany—a circumstance of agreed upon provisions after the War. As the Cold War escalated, however, the notorious Berlin Wall was constructed to physically divide the two parts of the city. In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and the following year both halves of Germany became unified once again.
Life in East Berlin
Life in the east was difficult for Berliners under Soviet Control and divided by its infamous Iron Curtain. People of East Berlin could not pass into the Western part of the city and were cut off from their fellow countrymen. East Berlin controlled much of the city center which contained the historical area of the city. After the division, East Berlin was outfitted with various Societ-style structures, though many of the old building and facades remained intact and even retained war-era damage.
Today, many people who are interested in the city’s history choose to find accommodations in Eastern Berlin. Rich with landmarks and cultural sites, visitors who want see the following sites may find it convenient to stay toward the eastern section of the city: Museum Island, Schloss Bridge, the Berlin Cathedral, Alexanderplatz, the East Germany Museum, Berlin State Opera, Maxim Gorky Theatre, Lustgarten, and the Berlin State Library.
Life in West Berlin
After WWII, allies shared control of West Berlin until 1990 when the two city halves were reunited. Western Berliners enjoyed far more freedoms under occupation than Eastern Berliners. In the West, Berliners were treated as West German citizens. Many travelers prefer to stay in the West Berlin to be near such attractions as Tiergarten, the Kurfurstendamm, the Reichstag Building, Theater des Westens, Charlottenburg Palace, the Europa Center, and the Zoological Garden.
The Sum of its Parts
Now that Berlin is unified and thriving as one of the most revered cities on the continent, there are plenty of attractions worth visiting no matter what side of the city travelers choose. Residing in a central part of the city is often best as people can travel easily about from site to site. When visiting Berlin, be sure also to visit the Holocaust Museum, the Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz, the Spandau Citadel, Victory Column, and so much more. Additionally, there are exceptional places to dine in all parts of Berlin as well as many shopping venues. So, for travelers who want to be close to the historical center of the city, most people stay in East Berlin. On the other hand, the Western parts of the city afford plenty of shopping, entertainment, and cultural attractions that make it quite popular among tourists too!
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