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Berlin Mitte

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The District Mitte

The name of this district doesn't only allow conclusions on its situation in the capital but also reveals something about its meaning. The real city centre of Berlin is in Berlin-Mitte - including the most important sights of Berlin, the longest shopping fronts, the best transport connections in all directions, most nightlife offerings as well as some of the best restaurants and bars of Berlin.

The formerly independent district Mitte consists of the local centers Tiergarten, Mitte and Wedding since the administrative reform in 2001. However, this article refers exclusively to the original district from which Cölln and Berlin arouse from little settlements in the middle of the 13th century and grew together to a town approximately 200 years later. In an explosive speed today's capital stretched in all directions whereupon large Berlin was finally founded in 1920.
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Shopping

Who likes to go shopping, will love this district. Nearly everything that you could wish for can be found here. The list of shopping malls, shopping zones, scene stores and markets seems to be endless and it surely isn’t possible to be fully accessed within a day. Around the Museumsinsel (German for: Museum island) diverse art galleries are located, as well as antique shops that surely will amaze you. Furthermore, souvenir hunters will discover something for themselves between all the sights. The well-known labels, on the other hand, can be found mainly around the Friedrichstraße.

One of the most important and most diversified shopping zones is composed of the Friedrichstraße, the Hackescher Markt, the Alexanderplatz and the Nikolaiviertel. Besides these well-known labels also the hippest Berlin fashion labels settled down here and offer their collections for sale. Additionally, in the Friedrichstraße one of the three in Berlin residing stores of the health food stores is located, named Fresh’n’Friends. It is open Monday till Sunday round the clock, which surely explains the fact, that the prices are quite high there.

One surely needs a whole day for a shopping trip in the Scheunenviertel in Berlin-Mitte. Between the Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz and the Hackescher Markt, several stores are located, that offer everything for every taste. 

For the roofed shopping tour, for example, the Alexa at the Alexanderplatz is a perfect location, to find something suitable regardless of weather. With around 180 stores on 3 floors the pink complex is concerned as one of the biggest shopping malls of Berlin.

It gets very exclusive in the Friedrichstadtpassagen in the famous Galeries Lafayette in the Friedrichstraße. On around 8000m² shopping area throughout 3 floors, the French shopping center includes a highly diversified and international selection of the fanciest collections from the fashion world.

One recommendation for the “sweet” is the candy factory (German: Bonbonmacherei) in the Oranienburger Straße. While stepping into the shop, everyone will feel the sweet scent proving that the candies come from first hand and are produced here. The owners Katja and Hjalmar prepare the sweet ware themselves with ancient machines and based on traditional recipes.

Souvenir hunters automatically are lured into the Hackesche Höfe to the Ampelmann Gallery Shop. After all, the most famous souvenir from Berlin is a world-wide known cult figure – the Ampelmännchen is the figure you will see on every traffic light for walkers (Berlin is known to display the “Walk” and “Stop” sign by a green walking and red standing figure respectively). The green and red figures are offered there in all kinds of variations: as refrigerator magnets, on T-shirts, in form of pasta, on umbrellas, as sweets and many more.
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Nightlife

Mitte offers many possibilities to have a night out or two. Diverse bar streets are spread over the districts, so that one doesn't know anymore, where to go first. The perfect starting point for the first drink might be the Hackescher Markt, where many well-known and favoured Bars, restaurants and clubs are located. Further, one can go to the Oranienburger Straße, where you will find various cocktail bars side by side and one will definitely find a suitable one. Not far away the very exclusive Gendarmenmarkt is located, which is also a meeting point for many politicians and other celebrities.

For dancing purposes, as well, the district is best suitable, as also the list of clubs is extremely long in Mitte. For young and old – whether Rock, Pop, Jazz, Electro – in Mitte everyone is welcomed.

In the Rosenthaler Straße the Delicious Doughnuts resides. Every day throughout the week this very friendly club is opened and plays primarily electronic beats. The particular aspect that makes this address very attractive is the frequently hosted “Good Morning Vietnam”-Party, where party addicts can go on celebrating from 5 in the morning and open-end.

In the Felix Club-Restaurant in the Behrenstraße mostly wonder bra and deep cleavage meet in search of a millionaire opportunity. Gents can only overcome the bouncers, when they wear appropriate shoes – sneakers are very inappropriate. Every Thursday from 7pm the famous after-work party starts, where, however, it is a little more casual what concerns the dress code.

Almost every day during the week the B-flat – one of the prime addresses for live music in Berlin – hosts a live concert or event. Everything anyone who can't live without music can wish for is offered in a location that is not only unique and planned in the minutest details because of its interior design, but also due to its acoustics. The club is located in the Rosenthaler Straße and primarily presents acts from the music styles Jazz, Afro and World’s music. For the entrance mostly €10 can be expected.

Rather glamorous and sophisticated it gets in the Grüne Salon of the Volksbühne at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. The parties are mainly composed of concerts and the styles of music played here are mostly Indie, Chanson, Tango and Jazz. The quite chic audience is further lured by the salsa evening that happens on Tuesdays. That is, of course, connected by a salsa course before the party – just come a little earlier and participate.

The so-called Weekend at the Alexanderplatz is located in an old GDR block of offices. From there the visitor enjoys a fascinating view. Top-class DJ’s , such as Phonique and Tiefschwarz mix the music for a perfect party with House and Minimal-Techno. In summer the roof lounge opens, as well, with a view on the Alexanderplatz – as if the panorama window in the 12th floor wasn’t enough. The club is known even nationwide and frequently lures party friends from the periphery in the location.
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Culture & Entertainment

In this context, surely the TV-Tower on the Alexanderplatz needs to be mentioned first. With a height of 369 meters it's the highest building throughout Germany and – since its establishment in 1969 – also the most distinctive town’s landmark. The view platform is located in 203 meters height, from which one has a perfect view up to 40km distance – if the weather is good. One floor higher – on around 207 meters height – the Telecafé is located. It isn’t quite cheap, but definitely worth a visit for this experience. Within half an hour the café with a panorama view over the German capital rotates about its own axis.

Not less remarkable for the culture of Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate at the Pariser Platz. The monument is now more than 200 years old and was considered a symbol for the division of Germany and Berlin. Today it is the most important landmark for the German Reunification and one of the most widely known characteristics of Berlin.

The most and most remarkable opera, concert and theatre houses are located in the city that is best known worldwide for operas – more precisely in Mitte.  For example the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Friedrichstadtpalast and the Deutsche Theater are just some to be mentioned.

The Filmkunsthaus (German for: Movie Arts House) Babylon Berlin resides in the Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße. Here they present silent and arthouse movies, as well as film programmes of diverse subjects are presented. 'The weirder the better' seems to be the motto here. Additionally readings and diverse workshops are offered here. The program changes constantly, but it definitely always is worth a visit.

The Schaubühne Am Lehniner Platz is the place to be as West-Berlin ows its reputation as being an innovative theatre city  because of this theatre. The former cinema from the 1920's seems to be in good hands under the management of Thomas Ostermeier. The tickets for this very diversified and demanding program range from €5 and €40.

On the program of the Volksbühne at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz mainly provocation and radicalness are presented. Director Frank Castorf unequivocally made it his business to follow this modern concept that primarily lures East-Berliners in the ages of between 18 and 35 years.

The interactive GDR-museum presents on a very interesting way, how the life of the former GDR-citizens looked like. The typical  prefabricated buildings, constructed in small format, are shown here as well as a completely furnished apartment with kitchen, living room and bathroom and also a typical GDR-cinema. Furthermore, a Trabant, where the ride can be simulated, is exhibited here. Very impressive might also be the tracing facilities of the former state security service, especially for those that only know that from history lessons or movies.

A memorial place for the murdered Jews of Europe – the Holocaust-Memorial – is located in the vicinity of the Brandenburg Gate. It has been established between the years 2003 and 2005 based on the conceptual design of Peter Eisenmann and it commemorates the Jews murdered by the National Socialists in the Holocaust. It is composed of 2711 concrete blocks, that remind of sarcophagus graves and – due to its grey colour – remind of the ash of the burned Jewish people.

Very frequently visited is also the medical history museum in Berlin. The establishment belongs to the Charité – a medical centre – and contains a permanent exhibition about the selection of pathologic preparations and models with around 750 objects. The changing exhibitions of the museums frequently take on other aspects from the medical science and history that not only for practitioners are spectacular and interesting.

The Berlin Dom, near the Lustgarten, as well as the French and German Dom at the Gendarmenmarkt, are also located in Berlin-Mitte. As they are very magnificently built and equipped, those buildings form some of the most important city landmarks.

The listed building of the New Synagogue in the Oranienburger Straße has been established in the second half of the 19th century and has a significant meaning for the history of the Jewish population in Berlin. It has been inaugurated in 1966 and was the biggest synagogue in Germany with 3,200 seats. During the November pogrom in the year 1938 the building has been spared from big damages, but has been heavily destroyed during World War II by bombs. 1958, finally the synagogue’s main entrance has been blown up, so that only the parts of the building stayed that were situated at the street. In 1995 the building reopened with a permanent exhibition “Tuet auf die Pforten”. Today the foundation “Neue Synagoge Berlin Centrum Judaicum” resides there and made it its responsibility to preserve and maintain the Jewish culture. The permanent exhibition gives an insight into the history of the building and the Jewish religion.

Immerse yourself into the underwater world of the Aquadom – the biggest cylindrical sea water aquarium worldwide. The lift brings you through the 16m high cylinder that has a total cross section dimension of 11.5m. 1 Million litre sea water accommodate around 1,500 fishes from 50 species – and that is only the exit of the Sea Life in Berlin. There are further about 4,000 marine animals from fresh- and sea-water – including rays, sharks, seahorses, and many more. 

On an exhibition area of about 2,500m² the Loxx Miniatur Welten Berlin at the Alexanderplatz is located, that includes a model railway permanent exhibition. It mainly reflects the profile of the Berlin urban structure and the Berlin life.

Since July 2008 one of the most popular waxworks from Madame Tussauds is located in Berlin in the street Unter den Linden. 75 wax exhibits have been created and exhibited until the opening. Among those also the Hitler-figure has been presented, with and approximate value of €200,000, that has been beheaded by a visitor right after the opening.

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Sport & Recreation

Right behind the Märkische Museum at the Köllnische Park, the bear-pit (German: Bärenzwinger) is located. Visitors get the possibility to experience the female bear named Schnute and her daughter Maxi closely during the feeding on midday or in their daily life. But, attention: between November and March they hibernate and during that time the bear-pit is closed.

Every year – when the first warm rays reach the capital – the BeachMitte opens its season. Until September you can play beach volleyball on one of the 60 fields and leave the big city life behind. But also sports like beach soccer, beach handball, and beach tennis are offered here in BeachMitte. Various events and tournaments are further listed on the seasonal program and care for much fun and excitement in the city.

Moreover, the children’s baths Monbijou in the Oranienburger Straße offer much water, green space and sun during summertime for the little ones.
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Eat & Drink

Mitte is richly filled with fancy restaurants. Naturally, the guests that are lured by the ambiance are just as extravagant. Nevertheless, one should consider that these restaurants rather set their value on the show factor than on the actual matter. The real gourmets should definitely take a look around at the Gendarmenmarkt, as there are the most innovative celebrity chefs. Very diversified in international dishes, very reasonably priced, but still very high in quality are the restaurants along the Scheunenviertel – between Hackescher Markt and Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. If one cannot make up one’s mind, it is just understandable.

The food in the MA in the Behrenstraße, where the celebrity chef Tim Raue creates ultimate sensations of taste, is relatively expensive and equally exclusive. His motto: Asian cuisine, where carbohydrates, such as flower or white sugar are completely excluded. Not only the interior, but also the prices are quite impressive. One should expect around €120 for a 6-course menu. But the guest is definitely provided with an unforgettable culinary delight.

A real highlight of the Berlin gastronomy culture is the Berliner Republik at the Schiffbauerdamm. On the one hand it offers freshly cooked plain fare from the traditional German cuisine. From the typical Eisbein until the Bratwurst everything imaginable is included on the menu. In the evenings, however, your nerves will experience quite an attack. The Berliner Republic not called beer stock market for nothing. The demand determines the price for the 18 types of draught beer. Everywhere there are screens displaying the actual price for the beers – so you can still hope, that your own favourite beer is not the favorite one of the other visitors as well.

The Indochina-Location Monsieur Vuong in the Alte Schönhauser Straße is often tried to be copied – unavailingly. Just rarely the cuisines from this type are as good as there. Tourists and Inhabitants equally come here daily to enjoy the healthy and tasty food over there. And it is reasonable, as well – already for €6.90 you can get one of the main dishes.

Chocolate friends, attention please: at the Gendarmenmarkt a real chocolate paradise is located, namely the Fassbender & Rausch. With diverse chocolate creation – whether to drink or to eat – even the most addictive ones can be satisfied.

Quite famous throughout the Berliners – especially the politicians – is the Café Einstein in the popular Street Unter den Linden. The highly exclusive ambience in coffee house style might be deterrent in the first moment. However, the service is extremely friendly, the food excellent and the ambiance comfortable. Especially the home baked apple pie can be recommended here. The highlight of the café is the homebased gallery with changing exhibitions from notable national and international photographers.

A much diversified audience is lured by the Tadschikische Teestube. Tourists, students and inhabitants of the district go to this café in the street named Am Festungsgraben, in order to make themselves comfortable on the huge seat cushions and to drink tea from silvery samovars. However, you have to take off your shoes right at the entrance.
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Local Transport

 
The “Middle” of the town, of course, has a perfect connection to all directions of Berlin by means of the public transportation. Hence, the stations Alexanderplatz and Friedrichstraße form the most important junctions that also are passed over by regional express trains.
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