How popular has Berlin been over the centuries

7 incredible facts about Berlin's history + video

In the course of history, Berlin has undergone more changes than a drag show can offer. Long before the German capital became famous for techno, it was the home of the Prussian royal family and the focus of World War II. Before you put Berlin on your travel list: Walk with us through the chapters of its colorful history right now. You will then be able to shine all the more with knowledge on your future visit. Here are the most impressive facts about Berlin's history:

1. Berlin is older than Germany

Berlin is around 800 years old, while the (first) German republic was only proclaimed around 102 years ago. Berlin began in the 13th century with two medieval merchant settlements in the marshland of the Spree: Cölln and Berlin. In 1432 both parts were officially united, Friedrich II chose Berlin as the capital of Brandenburg.

2. Napoleon looted the statue on the Brandenburg Gate

Modeled after the entrance gate to the Acropolis of Athens, a goddess is enthroned on the Brandenburg Gate, who is standing in a chariot and is pulled by four horses (also called quadriga). When Berlin was the capital of the Prussian Empire from 1701 to 1918, the city was captured by French troops in 1806. Napoleon marched through the gates and had the Quadriga dismantled and transported to Paris. After Napoleon's defeat, the Quadriga was finally driven back to Berlin in 1814. Fun fact: By the way, the Berliners called this return transport Return carriage.

3. Berlin was the beer capital of Europe

Belgium and Bavaria come to mind when you think of the most important beer regions in Europe. In fact, the title of “Beer Capital” has already been given to Berlin once. Today there are around 17 active breweries in the “poor but sexy” city, but around 1900 Berlin was the largest beer producer in Europe. Perhaps you have already been to the popular Kulturbrauerei (former brewery) in Prenzlauer Berg - by the way, it is a listed building.

4. Berlin's highest “mountain” keeps a secret

Man-made hills made of war rubble are often found in cities that were once destroyed by the war. The 120 meter high Teufelsberg in Berlin is, however, a special case. Below it is an unfinished military academy, the so-called "Defense Technology Faculty", which was built from 1937 to 1940 but never completed. The facility was so stable that the Allies could not tear it down. From the 1950s to 1970s, the Americans and British used the hill as a listening station during the Cold War. Today you can still hike up the Teufelsberg and see the remains of the radar towers.

5. Berlin was a royal capital

Feel like a royal and stroll through the palaces that kings and princesses have also walked through. Berlin's famous palaces include Glienicke and Bellevue or in Berlin's neighboring city of Potsdam: Sanssouci. Don't miss the largest palace complex in Berlin: Charlottenburg Palace, named after Queen Sophie Charlotte, wife of Frederick I .. The French baroque elements are no coincidence, the Palace of Versailles served the architect Eosander v. Göthe as a role model.

6. The Charité has been treating patients for more than 300 years

When the bubonic plague threatened Prussia in 1710, Frederick I had a plague house built in front of the city gates. In 1727, King Friedrich Wilhelm I converted the house into a "Lazarett und Hospital" and renamed it the "Charité". Since then, it can look back on an eventful and exciting history. Today the Charité is the largest university hospital in Europe and one of the largest employers in Berlin.

7. Rabbits dominated the Berlin Wall

You may have seen brass rabbits on the sidewalk by the former Berlin Wall. They are a symbol of the once wild horde on the former strip of the wall, the so-called “no man's land”, where the animals could multiply undisturbed. The then heavily guarded border strip made it difficult for East Berliners in the Soviet sector to get to West Berlin. The artist Karla Sachse created 120 brass figures in honor of Hoppel.

Experience Berlin's history on an online tour

Do you feel inspired How about a virtual tour through the history of Berlin with our guide Mike Stack? He takes you on his tour Berlin: Cold War & Third Reich. Find out how the Nazis came to power after the First World War, discover the Soviet Memorial and cross the border from east to west at Checkpoint Charlie. Experience the tour online and make plans for your future visit to Berlin:

Our new initiative The World at Home brings some of our most popular tours and experiences straight to your home, to bring a little travel joy into your living room - and to celebrate the fantastic tour guides who make our trips unforgettable. If you want to experience even more Berlin, then get up close and personal with the real drag queen Gloria Glamor or do an online graffiti workshop with a Berlin artist. New experiences are added every week.