TOPOGRAPHY OF TERROR
This is a great outdoor museum to visit and it is absolutely free. Built on the site of former Gestapo Head Quarters and incorporating remnants of the Berlin wall, there is a permanent exhibition and also temporary exhibitions here. I found this fascinating as there was a detailed look in to the destruction of Warsaw and Poland as a whole which is part of the war which I have not really heard about or been exposed to. A great place to learn more about Berlin’s detailed history.
THE STASI PRISON
This memorial is slightly out of the centre, for us it ended up being a 30-40 minute bike ride from Alexandrplatz. We also discovered when we got there that you are actually meant to book a tour as you are not supposed to wander the prison by yourself. Luckily there was an English tour already in session so we tagged along. It is also free to visit and free to book a tour so definitely add it to the list of cultural Berlin activities. During East Germanys communist era this was the prison that the secret police, or Stasi, used to detain political prisoners. You could be abducted in the middle of the night and taken here simply for being under suspicion of being an anti-communist. The prison is well preserved and the tour is fascinating, detailing real stories about the physical and later psychological (due to the need to appear to be an above board prison) torture that these prisoners experienced. Whats more fascinating is that this was only closed down in 1990! Now there is a permanent exhibition that is free and open to everyone and a tour of the prison both above and under ground is available also. Sometimes some of the old prisoners who survived to see the closure of the prison take the tours themselves.
DDR MUSEUM – COMMUNIST MUSEUM
This is Berlin’s hands on, interactive museum all about the communist regime in East Germany when the soviets occupied the east. This is so fascinating, everything can be touched, picked up, opened/closed, and even worn!. Here you can see original products from this era and learn about what life was like in East Germany. A typical East German apartment has been layer out for you to investigate and you can even sit and watch some East German television. It was amazing to read about real stories and the truth behind what went on living in the East and what life was like. This was a favourite for me. Students 4 euro, Adults 7 euro.
THE GERMAN HISTORY MUSEUM
Another great museum taking you through time right from the beginning in the medieval times of Germany. The exhibits tell you a lot about Germanys role in both of the world wars and is extremely detailed. You need at least 3 hours for this, we were there for 3.5 and didn’t quite complete it. Also make sure you have a big breakfast as you can’t take your bags through the museum with you, I got quite near fainting from hunger and thirst!
MEMORIAL AT BERNAUER STRASSE
Here you can see amongst the long strip of memorial at the former border strip a preserved patrol area complete with lights and watch tower. The memorial shows the “no man’s land” where many tried to escape over the wall. Interesting for a stroll and to see what the border patrol would have looked like.