The historical background of Berlin


Berlin is the European city that best combines culture, architecture and history. It is also a city where you can have a lot of fun. It’s actually hard to find another European city to have such an alert nightlife and here you get the impression that the city is always ready for party. Those who come to visit the city are also interested in the historical background of Berlin. The locals are more than happy to tell stories about the city and they friendly welcome the tourists with their specific kindness and respect.

Located in the heart of Europe, the unofficial border between East and West is a key location in the European history. Since it’s always good to know something about the formation of the city, here is a little about the historical background of Berlin.

The old Berlin


It was first documented in the 13th century as the capital of Prussia. In 1920, the city was the third largest town in the world. The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) has destroyed the city almost entirely and made it lose more than half of its inhabitants. In 1649, Frederick William, which was the prince of Prussia, promoted a policy of immigration and religious tolerance which bought a lot of new inhabitants and increased the city population. In 1700, a third of Berlin’s population was French, due to the migration of Huguenots. The French had a great influence on the city’s culture and even today, the most witnessed influence of the French culture is the cuisine. Other immigrants came from Poland, Bohemia and Salzburg.

The new Berlin


During the Weimar Republic, the city had a population of 4 million and became the European centre of culture. After 1933, the Jewish community was eliminated by Adolf Hitler. Thousands of Jews were imprisoned and shipped to concentration camps, such as Auschwitz. The city was bombed again during the World War II. At the end of World War II, the Greater Berlin Act divided the city in two: the East Berlin, the capital of Eastern Germany, and the West Berlin, an enclave surrounded by the famous Berlin Wall. The West Berlin, the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, was controlled by the US, UK and France, while the East Berlin was controlled by the Soviet Union. The curious thing is that even if Berlin remained an occupied city in the east of Germany, it was still part of the German Federal Republic. The Berlin Wall became the barrier between the two political zones and was controlled by checkpoints. The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989. The East Side Gallery shows a portion of what remains from the physical wall. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the city became again the capital of Germany reunited.?

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