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Berlin is the capital of Germany and one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is also the largest city in Germany and has a population of 4.5 million from over 190 countries within the city limits. Berlin is a relatively young city by European standards, dating to the thirteenth century, and it has always had a reputation as a place filled with people from elsewhere. It may seem tough to find someone born and raised here and this is part of Berlin's charm: it never gets stuck in a rut. Berlin is best known for its historical associations as the German capital, internationalism and tolerance, lively nightlife, its many cafés, clubs, bars, street art, and numerous museums, palaces, and other sites of historic interest. Berlin's architecture is quite varied although badly damaged in the final years of World War II and broken apart during the Cold War. Since that time Berlin has reconstructed itself greatly, especially with the reunification push after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Though a certain uneasy détente still exists between some former residents of East and West Berlin - “Wessi” evolved as a derogatory nickname for a West German and as a corollary there are “Ossi” too. The implication here is that after reunification, Westerners got a reputation for being arrogant who saw the Easterners as stubborn Communist holdouts interested only in a handout from the "rich West.

" Nevertheless there are so many ways to “be Berlin” and so many sights to see. You can start with the renowned Brandenburg Gate - a symbol of division during the world war, which now shows German reunification, built after the Acropolis in Athens it was completed in 1799 as the royal city-gate. Proceed to the salons of the Charlottenburg Palace, famous all over the world for their collection of world-class art, as well as the palace’s baroque gardens. The Fehrsehturm, or Television Tower, at Alexanderplatz stands as Europe’s fourth tallest freestanding structure, and is said to reflect sunlight in the shape of a cross. A stone’s throw away from the city in Potsdam still stands the Palace of Sanssouci, the ancient “carefree” home of Prussian King Frederick the Great. It is now possible to see the heritage of many different historic periods within the city center in a short time. From a few surviving medieval buildings near Alexanderplatz, to the ultra modern glass and steel structures at Potsdamer Platz. Berlin is - at least in many parts - a beautiful city, so allow enough time to get to see the sights, and you can be sure that there will be no time for boredom while exploring this city.

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