Deutschland, a country once set a as an outcast in the times of Communism has altered its turbulent past and set a path worth admiring by reinventing itself as a country with a blossoming capital– Berlin.
The end of the Cold War brought with it the end of the infamous Berlin Wall in 1989, and thus brought with it the change Germany needed by uniting East and West, and declaring Berlin its sole capital. As the city began to grow in economy, real estate and lifestyles such as gastronomy, art and innovative start ups; Berliners, as well as expats from all over the world, began to see the potential in many neighborhoods surrounding Berlin. For instance, the flourishing kiez (German for neighborhood) of Kreuzberg, which can be found on nearly every “must visit Berlin” list.
Image via Berlin-Zeitgeist / Alamy
Home to artists of all specialties, a lively community of Turkish immigrants and students, Kreuzberg has become the ideal destination for those looking to soak in culture and art at an affordable price. Filled with graffiti filled walls on nearly every street, plenty of art galleries, artists’ workshops, hip restaurants and some of Berlin’s best bars and clubs, the neighborhood offers a great day life and a matching nightlife. Not to mention, the area is a proud supporter of LGBTQ rights.
Image via Chris Martin Photography
As gentrification slowly took over Berlin and its neighborhoods, Kreuzberg evolved from a once small, impoverished West Berlin quarter and the home of the German Punk movement, to one of Germany’s most populated areas. Kreuzberg has gained such a following and notable attention, that even Silicon Valley’s giant, Google, will open a startup “campus” for tech entrepreneurs this fall in the trendy area.
Visit Maybachufer Strasse a weekly market, one of the area’s largest Turkish markets, where you can experience all the sights and smells these vendors cater. Expect everything from tasty foods, fruit and fabric stands all along the Landwehr Canal that offers great scenery on the border of Neukölln and Kreuzberg.
Image via Peeking Duck
EAST SIDE GALLERY
What used to be the Berlin Wall, is now the largest open-air gallery in the world. Take a bike ride and enjoy the East Side Gallery which showcases 1.3 kilometers of pure and raw art by 21 artists from across the world.
Image via Metro.co.uk
THE JEWISH MUSEUM
No visit to Kreuzberg is complete without stopping by The Jewish Museum, one of the largest museums of Jewish culture in Europe. Aside from the architectural masterpiece that is the building itself, designed by Daniel Libeskind, the museum has an array of permanent collections that share two millennia of German-Jewish history, special exhibitions and contemporary art.
Image via Jewish Museum Berlin
Feel like connecting with the local music scene? Stop by one of Iggy Pop’s and David Bowie’s favorite music hotspots in Berlin, SO36 and see why this venue was the premier location for 1980s Punk and New Wave bands.
Image via SO36
MUSTAFAS GEMÜSE KEBAB
A tradition for nearly all visitors is eating a döner kebab at the famous Mustafas Gemüse Kebab stand that will take your tastebuds on a one-of-a-kind encounter at an affordable price.
Image via Burpple