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When planning your visit to Berlin, especially if it's your very first time, you are probably wondering about the best way to handle Berlin's complexity. For a better and easier orientation, we suggest here various tours that illuminate the different historical and contemporary aspects of Berlin. Naturally, we can also combine several topics into one tour, according to your wishes and fields of interest. For detailed itineraries, please email us.
If this is your first visit to the city, you might want to use your first day for an Introductory Tour: We travel through Berlin’s various neighborhoods and experience their different characters, so you'll understand the structure of the city and know about the various cultural attractions and entertainment strips, that differ from area to area.
On this tour, we'll visit the most important sites and see for example the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag, the Holocaust Memorial, Potsdamer Platz, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Ku'damm avenue, Berlin's Victory Column, The Presidential Palace and many other sites both in East- and West-Berlin. This tour is meant for visitors who want to get a general orientation on the first day.
If you’d like an in-depth tour into Berlin’s complex past, we recommend the Historical Center Tour, in which we experience the city’s development during all periods: From a small town to a splendid royal city, through the 13 years of the Third Reich and the 28 years of the Berlin Wall and up until its astonishing renovation in recent years. From an almost complete destruction in World War II into an international center of culture and architecture, Berlin is reminiscent of the mythological Phoenix, reviving itself time and again. This tour combines the core of all topics (history, architecture, the Third Reich, the Cold War, and contemporary reunified Berlin) to acquaint you with the new city in its painful, but also pleasant aspects. At the end, you will understand deeply why the city you are visiting is so special.
We will see the memorial to the Nazi Book Burning, Germany's National Memorial, the memorials for the Jews, the Gypsies and the Homosexuals, an original communist watchtower, the Room of Silence, the Parliament and the Chancellor's Office, Potsdamer Platz, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall and many other sites as well.
Naturally, we warmly recommend our Jewish Heritage Tour. In this tour, we focus on the old Jewish quarter in East-Berlin and follow the turbulent history of the city’s Jewish community, beginning in the Middle Ages, prospering through modern times, hunted down by the Nazis, and reviving in our days. We visit important locations of worship and culture, but also of persecution and deportation during the Holocaust. We explore stories of help and rescue, but also of collaboration with the devil. Furthermore, we learn about how Germans deal with this difficult past, which continues to trouble this nation up to this day. More information on the basic Jewish Berlin Tour can be found here.
Berlin's Jewish history isn't limited to the old Jewish quarter mentioned above. In our Advanced Jewish Berlin Tour we will go beyond the basics and off the beaten track to explore West-Berlin's own Jewish memorials. In places such as Grunewald, Moabit, the Bavarian Quarter, Steglitz and Wannsee we will see how intriguing and deep Berlin's culture of commemoration is. Our advanced tour is a great idea if you want to dedicate more than one day to Jewish Berlin, but we can also add some of these places to the heritage tour of the old Jewish quarter, creating a tailor-made itinerary to suit your interests. Have a look at our suggestions here.
Our specialty as historians isn't limited to Berlin's Jewish story - we can also extend our itinerary to include unique Cold War sites, such as gigantic Soviet war memorials, Stalinist architecture or a glimpse into everyday life under Communism. The “German Democratic Republic”, as East Germany called itself, does not exist any more, but the socialist past is not dead: What’s left of it today and what is the German “Ostalgia” – the nostalgia for the East – that is so often spoken about? And how come the former communist party is, today, so successful again? If you're interested in these questions, just let us know and we will design an itinerary to match your wishes.
For those who don't have much time in Berlin, we recommend the Combined Tour. In this tour we focus, on the one hand, on the most important sites of contemporary Berlin in the former border zone between East and West; on the other hand, we also visit the most important sites within the Jewish quarter, where the cultural life of the historical community took place and which the current community seeks to revive. This is a concise tour that especially suits professionals and business people that come to Berlin for a convention or a fair that they have to attend during most of their time in Berlin, thus leaving only a short time for touring. This tour aims at making the best of this short time for getting to know the tension between the difficult past and the intriguing present.
If you have enough time in Berlin to go in-depth, we would be happy to guide you through the Jewish Museum. Controversial for many, it never leaves its visitors indifferent. In the Jewish museum, we offer a thorough tour about its rifts and dilemmas: How is Jewish history created, how is it represented and conveyed within a museum? What kind of story are the visitors given? What is the purpose of this museum, and what kind of audience is it meant for? In spite of its (misleading) name, Berlin's Jewish museum wasn't created by our local Jewish community and doesn't represent it. It's actually a German establishment about Jews. Our visit will be a critical journey between symbols, art and architecture.