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BERLIN

A chapter right off a high school world history textbook

overcast 2 °C

There are many reminders small and large that continue to stand all across Berlin serving as a silent yet valuable reminder of a once-divided country and city. But Berlin as I came to recognise lives the term "Vergangenheitsbewältigung" - which literally translates to "the struggle to overcome the [negatives of the] past".

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Snippets from a brief trip to this fascinating city.

BRANDENBURG GATE

All roads in Berlin literally lead to the Brandenburg Gate. Interiors of metro trains, marks on pathways, ... all point towards this beautiful vicory gate. (Observation: It resembles the Archway on the grounds of the Louvre Museum). This historic entrance built to reflect the German nations former glories has lot of space around it so the crowds are well spread.

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A block away from the Brandenburg Gate is the HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL.

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This abstract monument honestly touches a raw nerve with anyone who has any understanding of Germany's "questionable" role in one of the darkest chapters of world history. A walk between the 2711 concrete blocks of varying heights, physically provoked anxiety in me, conveying some of the terror of what happened in Germany in the 1930's and 40's. This memorial is not particularly flashy, but maybe that is the precise point. Each visitor is able to wander through the memorial with their own thoughts and seek an independent interpretation, while remembering how the Holocaust changed our world forever.

SOVIET WAR MEMORIAL

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ALEXANDER PLATZ

Alexanderplatz is a big square in the middle of Berlin with lots of stores, restaurants, cafes. I found to be a really good spot to hang out with friends and grab some lunch. Discovered to my glee that the place has such a young-hip-cool-and-animated vibe and is flanked by modernistic monuments like the TV tower, the World Clock and the Fountain of Friendship. Plus there were a ton of street artists showcasing their art all through the square.

WORLD CLOCK
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FOUNTAIN OF FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN PEOPLES
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EAST SIDE GALLERY :

Seeing the wall in its full scale was an incredible experience and the highlight of my trip to Berlin. There is a fairly long portion of the wall still intact, decorated with art and graffiti.

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Its strange that when I first arrived in Berlin, I hadn’t pay much thought as to the scale of it. Berlin is massive and extremely developed that is quite incredible when you consider that this city was until 25 years ago separated and was the setting for some of the most world changing events from the last century. Standing in front of a portion of the wall that formed the separation between East and West Germany was such a moving experience especially, when you reflect back about the past 80 years of history in this city which has found such a large amount of space in our history texbooks and makes you think of all the people who were affected.

But I truly believe Berlin has a few lessons to teach the world and considering the divisive climate taking over the world in the present day. We all have to re-look at history and could do with some lessons in Vergangenheitsbewältigung.

Until next time,
Sowmya

Posted by Ceej 02:33 Archived in Germany Tagged berlin holocaust_memorial berlin_wall brandenburg_gate east_side_gallery alexander_platz

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