Visit to Berlin — in photos and words


Photos from time spent in Berlin, Germany, during the summer of 2019. It’s an interesting and amazing place to visit given its history both remote and recent.

Both banks of the River Spree. Berlin. The post-reunification buildings on either side are government offices. They are deliberately joined by two bridges which symbolise the unification of the city and the country.

The building which houses the German Parliament is the Bundestag.

The Brandengurg Gates are an icon of the division that existed in Berlin and Germany after the Second World War. Today, the area around the gates is busy with tourists and those who wish to sell them something!

The square on the eastern side of the Brandenburg Gates.

East Berlin’s architecture still has its classic feel. And it still has its old GDR cars! These Trabant cars are now available to tourists to rent and drive around in a cramped classic East German vehicle!

This is Berlin’s Lutheran Cathedral (Berliner Dom). It was inaugurated in 1905 and its scale and design suggest a resemblance to St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.

The Dome of the Berliner Dom was burned and collapsed after a bomb hit it in 1944. Work to restore it didn’t commence until 1975 and it was reopened for worship in 1980.

Looking up to the Dome of the Berlin Protestant Cathedral.

The Pipe Organ of the Dom has 7,000 pipes and 113 stops.

Part of what’s left of the infamous Berlin Wall.

This spot on the no-man’s land area between the fences of the wall marks where one person made it to freedom in 1964 by crossing to the West without being shot.

Today’s walls being built in what was East Berlin are all for new office blocks and apartment blocks.

A memorial beside the Berlin Wall records the people who were shot while attempting to escape to the west.

It’s easy to walk on someone’s memory in Germany. These brass plaques in the footpath paving in Berlin are a reminder of an entire household who were exterminated during WWII in the death camps.

Located outside the Protestant church of St Mary is the bronze statue of the German Monk, Martin Luther. Born in 1483, Luther was a professor of theology and a former Catholic priest. His translation of the Bible later influenced the English King James version and he became a controversial figure in his later years due to the content of his writing. The statue was located at the New Market in 1893 and the bronze figure stands upon a granite pedestal. Marking the 500th anniversary of Luther’s birth, the statue was moved to its present location outside the church of St Mary in 1983. The statue was sculpted by the German sculptors Martin Paul Otto and Robert Toberentz who both studied at the Berlin Academy of Art.

The Marienkirck (Church of St. Mary) and in the background Berlin’s TV Tower. The tower was constructed between 1965–69 by the government of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). It was intended to be both a symbol of Communist power and of the city. It remains a landmark today, visible throughout the central and some suburban districts of Berlin. It is 368 metres high and is the tallest structure in Germany.

A reminder of the war sits at the entrance to the former concentration camp at Ravensbruck north of Berlin.

Potsdam is the capital and largest city of the German federal state of Brandenburg. It directly borders the German capital, Berlin, and is part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is 25 kilometres from Berlin’s city centre and about 50 minutes in a Metro.
Potsdam was a residence of the Prussian kings and the German Kaiser until 1918. Its planning embodied ideas of the Age of Enlightenment: through a careful balance of architecture and landscape,
The city lies in an area of interconnected lakes and is distinguished by a series of cultural landmarks, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany.

Potsdam, Germany, former capital of Prussia. Ancient kingdoms left their mark here too.

One of the palaces of Sansoucci Park in Potsdam, Germany, former capital of Prussia.

The Berlin Memorial to the Jews who died in WWII seems strange at first glance. It is comprised of blocks of concrete of different heights spread across a large area and allows visitors to meander in between. In my mind, it recalls the Jewish Cemetery in the Mount of Olives which overlooks Jerusalem. There countless graves and tombs of Jews from all across the world ‘watch and wait’ for the restoration of Jerusalem and the rising of the dead.

Part of the new Berlin — some of the buildings constructed since unification.

Visiting Berlin on a cruise boat on the River Spree is a popular way to get a sense of the city.

Cruise boats meet under a bridge in Berlin.

This marble statue, approximately life-size, was made by Antonio Canova to a commission from the Russian ambassador in Vienna, Count Andrei Razumovsky. Graceful and seemingly weightless, the dancer is turning on her own axis on one leg, elegantly holding her cymbals in her upraised hands. The flimsy fabric of her classical-style gown does more to reveal than to conceal the fine lines of her body. The dancer’s head, evenly formed and with meticulously styled hair, is inclined to one side in an attitude of pure grace. The statue, made of Carrara marble, comes with a circular marble pedestal ornamented with garlands of flowers, on which the figure can be revolved. This gave the original owner the opportunity to observe the beauty and perfection of the statue as light fell upon it from shifting angles.

The feet of the Dancer by Canova at the Rode Museum, Berlin. This is pure sculpture and a privilege to be able to see it up close. Imagine sculpting this from a large block of marble in a studio in Rome 200 years ago! [Canova inspired John Hogan, a Corkman, when cast of some of Canova’s work were brought to Cork in the early 1800s.]

Part of Egypt’s history in the Rode Museum, Berlin.

Berliners love sitting out in the evening sun and chatting over a beer in every public park.

Berlin has a wonderful trasnport system of trains, trams, metro which integrate very well and are on time!

Graffitti around the city echoes the thoughts of part of a disgruntled generation.

Older buildings on one side of the Spree river in Berlin are reflected in the glazing of the new buildings on the other side.

The Theology Faculty of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The University is Berlin’s largest and counts Albert Einstein among its former professors.

The Rode Museum in Berlin’s Mitte district is one of several museums on an island on the river Spree.

You won’t go far in Berlin without coming across one of these scooters – either parked waiting for hire or being used by someone. You create an online accoount, scan the bike with your mobile phone app and away you go!

This image of Berlin — a student busking under a railway bridge — reminds me of the city’s two sides and two histories of dark and light.

This image is taken in a public park on the banks of the River Spree in Berlin on a Sunday evening. Someone puts on music on a public address and people just turn up to dance. This evening the music was Latin so the dancers were doing the Tango. It’s not unlike the cross-roads pattern dances of Ireland in days now gone by!

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  1. #1 by admin on August 5, 2019 - 10:41 am

    Hi Colum, than you. It really is a fascinating place for a whole lot of reasons. Well worth a visit!

  2. #2 by Colum Cronin on August 5, 2019 - 1:35 am

    Fr Tom, thank you for these extraordinary images. One wonders if you got to have any free time at all besides taking photographs! You’ve given us viewers a real sense of being there & an appetite to visit this fascinating city.

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