BerlinBerlin is of course the capital city of Germany with its rich and stormy history.
|Oktoberfest in Munich.|
This tradition came from the life-style of their farmers. Until 1860 AD, most of Germans were farmers, as in all other civilized countries in the world. Famers work hard during the spring and summer months. They have good reasons to hold their festivities during the month of September to celebrate their good harvests.
- How about the Oktoberfest in Berlin? They hold their festivity at
a wide open plaza called the
Alexanderplatz. This plaza has a rich history starting from 1805
Czar Alexander I of Russia visited Prussia at the invitation of
Prussia's King Friedrich Wilhelm III. At that time, Russia was a strong
empire while Prussia was an insignificant kingdom.
Prussia was special to Alexander I, because his grandmother came from a small port in Prussia (now Szczecin in Poland). The grandmother was Ekaterina II, known widely as Catherine the Great. It is believed that Alexander's biological grandfather was an unknown Russian soldier. Click here for Romanov's Russia.
Let us look at some Oktoberfest photos.
- This sign says the Oktoberfest is progress. I was there in 2014.
- The bread and pastry are the main items on every dining table.
- Sit down, eat, and drink. The plaza is wide enough to accommodate many more people. This is a beer-drinking place.
- German sausages being charcoal-fired. More food items being prepared on the festival site.
- Colorful pumpkins mean good harvest. More pumpkins.
- Amusement devices for young citizens.
- In Europe, I become very happy whenever I meet young ladies from North America. They seem to have the same feeling toward me for having come from the same shore of the Atlantic Ocean. I met these two young ladies from Canada. We talked about maple leaves in Canada during the Oktoberfest season. Behind is the department store called Galeria Kaufhof.
- During the Cold-War period (1945-1990), communist authorities in East Germany
developed the Alexanderplatz as the heaven for workers and farmers.
- I am standing with a statue of their farmer in this photo taken during my first visit to Berlin in 1991.
- I went there again in 2004, and had this
photo at the same place. The statue was thoroughly stained. New non-communist
authorities did not maintain this statue properly. It is not right to leave
this landmark like that. There are no communist or non-communist farmers.
God created the famers many many years before Marx and Engels wrote their
manifesto in 1948. Berliners should clean up this important landmark, even
though it was set up by communists.
- This is a statue of the worker.
I was there in 2004. This statue is also badly stained.
Here again, I have to say that Berliners should clean up to show their respect for
Marx-Engels in 2016 and in 1991.
- In 1991, I had a photo with Marx and Engels
admiring the Alex Tower (Berlin TV Tower). This Marx-Engels statue was
moved to a wooded area at the intersection of the Spree River and the unter den
Linden, near the Berlin Dome. Like to see their statue there?
- Front view of their statue.
- Statue with accessories praising what they did.
- Engraving of their names.
- Berlin TV
tower is the tallest structure in Europe, and can be seen from every place
in Berlin. During the Cold-War period, East German authorities set up
this tower to show how great their communist world is.
After the collapse of Hitler's Germany, the country was divided into two, and the entire city of Berlin was within the territory of East Germany. However, Berlin was also divided into two.
Thus, the citizens of West Berlin were able to enjoy Western life-style. This created migrations of Berliners to West Berlin. In order to prevent this, East German authorities had to show how superior their system is. This is the reason why they refurbished the Alexanderplatz and set up the TV antenna to show off and to send strong TV signals.
Their efforts did not work. This is the reason why Soviet authorities in 1961 decided to isolate West Berlin by building traffic barriers around West Berlin. This resulted in the tragic comedy called the Berlin Wall.
- Click here for more about divided Berlin and the unification in 1990. The Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989.
The Brandenburg Gate is Berlin's address No. 1, with its rich history.
During the period from 1945 to 1990, when the city was separated into the
East and West regions, the Gate was on the western edge of East Berlin.
Thus, it served as a symbol of divided Berlin and divided Germany.
I was there in 1991, but was not able to approach the gate because its surrounding area was being reconstructed. Since then, I went there six times and took many photos.
- In 1998, I was able to take this photo from the east side of the Gate.
- By 2010, the place became a photo place for tourists. I had this photo with a man pretending to be a Soviet soldier. I said a few words of greetings to him in Russian, but he was not able to understand. He was not a Russian.
- On December 31, 2015, this area was a
police state, with more police vans
on the back street. They were
there to protect the crowd celebrating the New Year's Eve.
On the back on the Gate (west side) was a music stage, as big as the Gate, where exciting
concerts were taking place. The stage was facing the west.
- Crowds were gathering on the west side of the Gate.
- Among the crowds was a man dressed like an
Indian Maharaza. I also met
three Japanese students from Osaka. It was
please to talk with then in Japanese.
- German mother and daughter came with bat masks. I marooned "Die Fledermaus," meaning Johann Strauss's opera about a New Year's Eve party. They understood what I was saying, and I had a photo with them. When I told them I am a professor in the United States, the daughter, still a student, wanted have a photo with me without her mother.
- Exciting concerts were taking place on the stage in front of the Gate.
- Stage and crowd. All excited and waiting for the happy new year.
- During the peaceful times, the west side is like this. The Reichstag building, with its giant glass dome, is seen in this photo.
- On the back on the Gate (west side) was a music stage, as big as the Gate, where exciting concerts were taking place. The stage was facing the west.
- One block east of the Brandenburg Gate is the
Hotel Adlon Kenpinski. It is a very expensive 5-stat hotel, and many famous
people stayed in this hotel.
- John F. Kennedy never staid in this hotel, because this area belonged to East Berlin. Yet, the hotel dedicated one glass cage to him. While in Berlin in 1963, Kennedy said "Ich bin ein Berliner."
- The main lobby in preparation for the New Year's Party on December 31, 2015.
- From the hotel balcony, the hotel quests were looking at what is going on in the Gate area from in the early evening of December 31, 2015. In 1945, Soviet soldiers stood at the same place.
The United States Embassy is 20 meters south of the Gate.
- The entrance to the Embassy. One police officer is standing in front of the entrance.
- Side view of the Embassy building from the west side of the Brandenburg Gate. The building is very big, and is separated from the rest of the city by barbed-wire fences. The size of this building and its proximity to the Gate tells how important Germany is to the United States, and vice versa.
- About 500 meters west of the Gate along the Strasse des 17 Juni is
the memorial dedicated to the Soviet soldiers who came to Berlin in May of 1945.
- In 1998, I took this photo of the monument. I noted that the Soviet soldier has on his shoulder a Mosin-Nagant rifle. I also noted two T-34 tanks. I like those machines, because I know how to operate the Mosin-Nagant, well-designed machine. The T-34 tanks driven by north Korean soldiers were un-invited guests to my house in 1950. When NK soldiers retreated they left many of their rifles behind. I picked up one of them and learned how to operate.
- In 2010, I went there again to check whether everything was OK. Yes, the place was just like before, but the T-34 tanks were repainted with a lighter color. I took a photo of one of them with the Brandenburg Gate in the background.
- Click here for more tank photos.
1945 and 1991.
A glass dome was added at the top (photo taken in 2010).
- The Reichstag building is 100 meters
north-west of the Brandenburg Gate.
The Reichstag, which know houses Germany's national congress
was built in 1894 for the parliament of the German Empire. Since then, the building
went through a stormy history.
page contains many photos of this building.
- In 1945, during the battle of Berlin, the Reichstag was severely damaged.
- In 1991, right after the unification, the building became neater, still with many spots of the battle wounds.
- In 2012, a glass dome was added to the top
of the building,
- Have you been inside the dome? Click here, and here.
- From this glass dome, one of the towers looks like this.
- From the Spree River, the Reichstag
appears like this with its corner
- The entrance of the building says Dem Deutche Volke (for the German People). The 1945 photo says the same thing.
inside the building, German politicians
are working for the German people during their congressional meeting.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is sitting below the German flag.
- In front of the Reichstag building (west side), there is a wide open space. On the northern age of this space, there is the chancellor's office building.
- Front of the chancellery's
- Government buildings on the bank of the Spree River.
- One government building across the Spree River. At this point, the River used to serve as the boundary between the East and West Berlins during the Cold War years. Thus, this building covers the both Berlins.
- This government building seen from the River.
The Humboldt University of Berlin is about 2 kmph east from the Brandenburg
Gate along the
Unter den Linden. Many world-changing persons spent their years
at this university as students and/or professors, including 40 Nobels.
Among those, 27 of them got their prizes while being paid by the university.
- The list of physicists includes Herman von Helmhotz, Max Planck, Albert
Einstein, Max Born, James Frank, Fritz Haber, Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg,
Ernst Gehrcke, Gustav Ludwig Hertz,
Heinrich Hertz, Albert Abraham Michelson,
Gusrtav Kirchhoff, Max von Laue, Leise Meitner, John von
Neumann, Erich Regener,
Erwin Schroedinger, and Wilhelm Wien,
Among g the names of non-physicists are Otto von Bismarck, Karl Marx, Frederich Engels, Felix Mendelsson, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Heinrich Heine, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Alexander von Humboldt, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Karl Weierstrass.
- The main campus viewed from the unter den Linden. The statues of Wilhelm Humboldt and Alexander Humboldts are seen. Click here for a photo taken in the evening.
- Click here for a close-up
view of their statues.
- Wilhelm von Humboldt was the founder of this University.
- Alexander von Humboldt was Wilhelm's younger brother. He was a philosopher interested in many things in the world. He traveled extensively around the world. Needless to say, his deep knowledge of the world his brother in setting out the plans for the university.
- Front of the entrance to the main
hall is a statute of
Helmholtz who formulated the conservation of energy. He was a professor
of physiology at this University.
- I had a photo with him in 2015.
- In 1998, I had a photo of myself at the base of his statue. The statue was being repaired at that time. I was younger then.
- Max Planck's statue is also at
the front yard, back of Wilhelm von Humboldt's statue.
- As soon as you enter the main hall, you will see
the marvel wall with what Karl Marx
said about philosophers. Marx says the same thing in English on
his tombstone at the Highgate
Cemetery in London. He says
The philosophers have interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.
Marx talks about the philosophers. If you are not a philosopher, what does he tell you? He tells you
It is not enough for you to interpret this world. You have to change it.
Was Einstein a philosopher? Yes or No, depending on your subjective point of view. In either case, he changed the world. Click here for a story.
- Behind the Marx marvel wall is
a green-grass quadrangle, students worrying about their grades.
It is always a pleasure for me to talk with those students and have
photos with them. This is one of the
photos I had with the students.
- The Law School is across the street from the main hall. The name of this street is called Under den Linden.
- The list of physicists includes Herman von Helmhotz, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Max Born, James Frank, Fritz Haber, Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, Ernst Gehrcke, Gustav Ludwig Hertz, Heinrich Hertz, Albert Abraham Michelson, Gusrtav Kirchhoff, Max von Laue, Leise Meitner, John von Neumann, Erich Regener, Erwin Schroedinger, and Wilhelm Wien,
- Berlin Opera
also has a long history since 1742. Its home base is at the Opera House
on the unten den Linden.
- This opera house shares the same bus station with the Humboldt University of Berlin.
- This opera house is now being reconstructed.
- While the reconstruction is in progress, the opera programs continue at the Schiller Theater about 3 km west near the Technical University of Berlin.
- The ticket box is still at the original location. It sells also tickets for the Comic Opera of Berlin.
- Berlin Philharmonic Hall.
The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra has a long history since 1882.
- Among the many outstanding conductors throughout the history of this
Wilhelm Furtwangler was the most outstanding and controversial figure.
He conducted the symphony from 1922 to 1845 covering Hitler's Nazi period.
He then came back in 1952 and became active until he died in 1954.
He was succeeded by another great conductor named
Herbert von Karajan.
- Yes, Hitler took advantage of Furtwangler's talent for his political cause. After the war, he was tried for the war crime for his collaboration with Hitler, but the court could not convict him because he was a God-like figure to all Germans. This is the reason why he was not the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic from 1945 to 1952.
- During the war, Berlin was constantly bombed, and Berliners had to bomb shelters. However, when Furtwangler was conducting, the audience stayed still in the hall, and there are some recordings of his conducting with the bomb noise in the background.
- When he was re-instated in 1952, I was a high school student in Korea, and I heard about him. This tells how famous he was. Old-time music lovers become very happy when I talk about him.
- Among the many outstanding conductors throughout the history of this orchestra, Wilhelm Furtwangler was the most outstanding and controversial figure. He conducted the symphony from 1922 to 1845 covering Hitler's Nazi period. He then came back in 1952 and became active until he died in 1954. He was succeeded by another great conductor named Herbert von Karajan.
- The Konzerthaus
is another concert hall for Berlin. This building was originally built for
theater performances. After 1945, this theater was used for a concert hall.
Since the hall for the Berlin Philharmonic was on the West side, Germans on the
East side needed a major concert hall in Berlin. This elegant building has a
- The square seen from the
front steps of this building.
- The French Protestant Church on the north side of the Square.
- The scenic street north of this church is called the French Street.
- The German Protestant Church is on the south side of the Square.
- The Galeries Lafayette (French department store) is behind this Concert hall, on Friedrich Strasse.
- The square seen from the front steps of this building.
The museum island is the area between the Spree River and the Spree Canal
north of the Unter den Linden.
- This diagram tells the distribution of the museums in this area.
- The Museum Island is still under reconstruction as can be seen from
this photo taken from a fourth-floor room of Berlin's Radisson Blu Hotel.
- Berlin Dome is at the intersection of
the Unter den Linden and the Spree River. This is an old church with its
history. Inside the Church,
- The Alte Museum is the old museum.
It used to contain Egyptian items. This museum looks like
this from the Unter den Linden.
This museum used to display Egyptian items, and thus was called the
Egyptian Museum in the past. These days, those Egyptian items were transferred to
the nearby Neuse Museum.
The Egyptian collection includes
- Bust of Queen Nofretete. I am
- Egyptian ship driven by slaves.
- Egyptian goodies.
- Egyptian god giving you strength.
The Alte National Gallerie has
its long history. This museum gives exhibitions of modern and classical paintings
people want to see. It is
- The History Museum of Germany is on the Unter den Linden just west of the Spree Canal. The museum shows how Germany became unified into a strong one country from 20 to 50 different kingdoms depending how you count. There is a giant statue of Vladimir Lenin in the main lobby. I assume this statue was set up when this part of Berlin was under communist domination. To the people walking along the Under den Linden, the museum front wall looks like this. Unfortunately, I have not been inside the exhibition hall. I will in the future. I am interested in German history.
- The Pergamon Museum
is very famous for its collection of the historical items from the Mesopotamian,
Persian and the Eastern Mediterranean areas.
- Let us look at the map of the area
from which the items are collected.
- The main entrance of this museum is still
under reconstruction. The museum is open to the public through
a temporary route.
While making a detour, you can see
the sign on the Museum wall.
- The Museum collections include many Roman items since Romans were in
control of Turkey and Egypt. Here is
one of the Roman governments.
- Another Roman structure, and
- Persian wall, and
- Persian horses, and
- Babylonian monument,
and Babylonian decrees.
- Dinner plates, and
decorations for women.
- Click here for more photos.
- Let us look at the map of the area from which the items are collected.
- Potzdamer Platz
is one of the major traffic and cultural centers in Berlin. During the Cold War
period, the Berlin Wall made a
90-degree turn at this Plaza. Thus, the place was
ruined during that period. There are still pieces of the wall at this plaza.
- This is the Germany's oldest traffic signal.
This means that the Plaza was a major traffic center for many years before
1945. This signal tower is standing in
the middle of a wide open area.
- Angry Berliners are trying to make their case known at this plaza. This tells how important this place is. The traffic signal tower is seen in this photo.
Remnants of the Berlin Wall.
Someone praying for
the unification of Korea.
- The remnants of the Berlin Wall. This photo shows how high the Berlin Wall was.
- This street plate says "Berlin Wall 1061-1989.
- The wall plates tell how the Wall was constructed and how the Wall cuts through the the Potzdamerplatz.
- The railway station is in the middle of the Plaza.
- These days, the Plaza is surrounded by shiny tall buildings like these, and like these.
- There is a Korean structure south side of the Wall, just outside the communist region. It is called "Unification House." I assume it was set up either by the Korean government or the Korean community in Berlin. The purpose of this Korean house is very clear. Both Germany and Korea became divided after the second world war. Germany became re-united in 1990, while Korea still remains divided. Koreans like to pray for the unification of their country. Since I am a Korean, I had to pray there. Click here to see how I prayed.
- Do you know how Korea was divided? Click here.
- Angry Berliners are trying to make their case known at this plaza. This tells how important this place is. The traffic signal tower is seen in this photo.
Checkpoint Charlie of 1991.
Armed confrontation during
the Cold War period.
- This is the Germany's oldest traffic signal. This means that the Plaza was a major traffic center for many years before 1945. This signal tower is standing in the middle of a wide open area.
- Check Point
Charlie served as an opening between the American-occupied region and
East Berlin. It is one of Berlin's prosperous shopping streets called
"Friedrich Strasse." This place is still a popular spot among tourists.
I was there in 1991, and passed though this point many times since then.
I am very sensitive to issues concerning divided countries.
- In 1991, the check point was like this. I was there in 1991 and had this photo.
- Occasionally, during the Cold War period, there were armed
confrontations like this, but
no shooting events took place, fortunately.
- These days, you will see the portrait of a Soviet soldier welcoming you when you approach the check point along Friedrich Strasse from the American side.
- An American soldier will welcome you in his portrait when you move from the Soviet to American region.
- Not only the portrait, but also the real soldiers will welcome you. They are real men, but do not appear to be regular members of the U.S.Army. They are actors collecting tips from those tourists who pose with them for photos.
- The Victory
Column is about three kilometers west of the Brandenburg Gate along the Street
of June 17. This monument is set up to commemorate Prussia's three war victories.
Victory Column looking like an asparagus stem.
Statue of Bismarck
looking at the Column.
1864. German-Danish War (Second Schleswig War). Germany captured the
port of Hamburg from Denmark. There is a giant stature of
Otto von Bismarck in Hamburg.
During Germany's war against, Austrian army came to the battle field and
helped German army.
1866. Austro-Prussian War. While fighting together with
Austrian troops, Prussians found out how strong they were compared with
their Austrian counterparts. Thus, Prussia declared war against
Austria and won the war. The crucial battle took place at the
battle ground of
Battle of Königgrätz.
1870. Franco-Prussian War. Afraid of Prussia's growing strength,
France's Napoleon III declared war against Prussia, but Prussia
thoroughly defeated the French army and annexed two provinces of
Alsace and Lorraine into one German province called Alsace-Lorraine.
Click here for my Alsace-Lorraine page.
- 1971. Deutsches Reich (German Empire) was established.
Bismarck, Moltke, and Roon.
Let us look at some photos.
- The Victory Column looks like
an asparagus stem. Its top
and Its base. The Column
surrounded by a traffic circle,
and seen from the Street of June 16,
and seen from the elevated Tiergarten
The statue of Bismarck seen from the
Column, and the statues of Moltke,
Bismarck, and Roon. The statue of
Moltke , and the statue of
Brandenburg Gate viewed from the Victory Column.
- Behind the statue is a wooded park. Beyond the park is a residential area
with apartment buildings.
There, I spotted a
German lady with her mother. I had a very friendly conversation with them.
They both are fluent in English, and I had a
photo with them.
- The wide street between the Column is called the Street of June 17, named to commemorate the revolt in East Berlin against the Soviet rule on June 17, 1953. This is photo of this street taken from the Column. The Gate is hidden by a large circle set up to provide a summer-time excitement. The red city hall building is seen.
Charlottenberger Gate serves as the entrance to the Technical Unv. of Berlin.
- 1864. German-Danish War (Second Schleswig War). Germany captured the port of Hamburg from Denmark. There is a giant stature of Otto von Bismarck in Hamburg. During Germany's war against, Austrian army came to the battle field and helped German army.
The Charlotenburg Gate
is a about 3 kilometers west of the Victory Column, and the large area just
west of this landmark is the territory of the Technical University of
Berlin, often called TU-Berlin. The "territory," instead of "campus" is an
appropriate word because the area is so large.
TU-Berlin, with its distinguished history, has been and still is
is one of the most best engineering universities in the world.
Among the TU's outstanding alumni was a rocket scientist named Wernher von Braun. As you know, he was responsible for constructing the engineering base for sending a man to the moon in 1969.
There was another outstanding scientist from this university. His name was Eugene Paul Wigner. He studied chemical engineering while he was a student. He did his research work at Max Volmer Laboratory for Physical Chemistry.
However, Wigner's heart was always in physics. He diligently attended physics seminars held at various places in Berlin.
After finishing his degree at this university, Wigner moved to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry, which is now called the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society. This institute is now located at the campus of the Free University of Berlin. When Wigner moved to Göttingen, he became a full-time physicist.
Wigner's portrait at Princeton.
In 1963, Wigner received the Nobel prize in physics for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles.
The Eugene Wigner Building is one of the three biggest buildings on campus of TU-Berlin. Click on the map for a larger image.
- Let us come back to TU-Berlin. The University now has
a new building named after Eugene Paul Wigner. It is one of the three
biggest buildings on the campus. Click here
to see where this building is located. Two other large buildings are
- Main building, and
- Technology Innovation building. The tall building seen from the Charlottenbug Gate.
- Main building, and its entrance.
The Wigner Building must be new. I was not able
see this building when I was at the TU campus in 1998.
- At the entrance to the building, there is a brass plate saying
Eugene Paul Wigner Building. I was so happy to
see this plate that I had a
photo of myself standing on the side the plate.
- I met a group of graduate students
near the building. I asked them whether they know who Wigner was, and they
knew. I then told them I published seven papers with him. They became surprised
and asked me how old I am. I said two hundred years. We all laughed. When I
told them I was a graduate student at Princeton, they started becoming serious.
- I also talked to a group of
undergraduate students studying for their exams at the lobby of the building.
I asked them who Wigner was. They said they do not know. It is OK. This is how
the history is made.
- The main lobby was designed for study,
as well as social or academic gathering. A product of modern architecture.
Here is another photo.
- The directory in the lobby says this building
houses biological physics, chemical physics, -- all kinds of physics.
- At the entrance to the building, there is a brass plate saying Eugene Paul Wigner Building. I was so happy to see this plate that I had a photo of myself standing on the side the plate.
- The usual prejudice against engineering schools is that they are like
factories and lack humanity. Certainly the TU-Berlin is not that kind of place.
- There are many open spaces for students and professors to think. Look
at these linden trees.
- The entrance to the main building welcoming
- The entrance to the main library.
- The interior of the
student hall in the main building and
a statue of Nike in the hall.
- The Technology Innovation Center (left) is next to
- I have not had a chance to look at their curriculum, but I assume it is very strong in liberal arts. Good engineering schools are good because of their strong liberal arts programs. I know this because I did my undergraduate study at a good engineering school called "Carnegie Institute of Technology" - now called Carnegie Mellon University. I am able to make good webpages thanks to my undergraduate training there. Click here for my Carnegie page.
- There are many open spaces for students and professors to think. Look at these linden trees.
- To be continued. I have many more photos to post. Please come again.
|Alexander I of Russia.|
|Oktoberfest in Berlin.|