I visited the Berliner Dom and the Brandenburg Tor on my first full day in Berlin, so I’d not completely got to grips with navigating through the city yet and ended up getting off at the wrong train stop (despite Carys’ comprehensive instructions to me that morning, which went in one ear and straight out of the other). After about twenty minutes of walking in the freezing cold, I was toying with the idea of just giving up on the cathedral – after all, surely it was just another church, right? WRONG. I am so unbelievably happy that I decided to go in the end, as it turned out to be the highlight of my trip.
Located on Museum Island, the Berliner Dom is an architectural delight that literally took my breath away. On arrival I spent a solid half hour just walking around the structure, admiring it from all angles and snapping a few pictures along the way. The intricate details, carvings and figures built into the cathedral are worth the visit alone, but the inside of the cathedral was what really sold it to me.
Passing a banner which read ‘hate harms the soul’, I walked in expecting to have to pay a small fortune for an entry pass. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it was just €5 with my student card (€7 for a regular ticket price), and went straight in to explore. I knew it would be beautiful inside, but I honestly can’t describe how stunning the architecture really was. I sat on one of the pews near the back to take it all in for a while, and before I knew it forty-five minutes of sitting and looking had gone by. Whilst stunning, the pictures I took really can’t do justice to how beautiful it truly was. I can’t emphasise enough how much I think the Berliner Dom is worth a visit.
Since I had some time to kill until Carys finished work, I decided to climb the 270 steps to the top of the cathedral, walk around the dome and take in some of the views of the city. Despite being an enjoyable walk, if I were to return I’d probably not do it again (mostly to save my quads…). To anyone physically unable to climb the steps who feel as though they may be missing out, all I can say is don’t be upset. Yes, there is a lovely view of the city but soon after I made it up there, I came back down to spend more time inside the cathedral. Really – you’re not missing the main attraction at all!
The cathedral also offers a wealth of history including blueprints, designs and models of how it was built and information on the crypt and burial monuments, some of which date back to over four thousand years ago.
Brandenburg Tor (Gate)
After reluctantly saying goodbye to the Berliner Dom I walked to a nearby bakery for a spot of lunch and waited for Carys to meet me after work. Shortly after she arrived we made a move and started our walk to the Brandenburg Tor. Originally built for Prussian king Frederick William II, the Brandenburg Tor is renowned as a ‘European symbol of unity and peace’. It was a short walk from the bakery to the monument, and when we arrived we were greeted by the sight of a nude activist standing on a chariot, holding a flag and preaching to the people about something or other that totally went over both of our heads. Personally, I find it interesting that the Brandenburg Gate is still to this day a known location for political activism considering its significant political history, which is readily available and super interesting – have a read of some of the tourist signs up around the square. The monument itself is certainly a gorgeous structure and something you really have to see when visiting Berlin, it would be rude not to.
I had a lovely first day in Berlin visiting the Berliner Dom and the Brandenburg Tor. I spent most of the day on my own but it went by in a flash, mostly because I was so dumbfounded by the gorgeous architecture and rich history of the Berliner Dom. I would certainly recommend a trip to both of these places for anyone visiting Berlin.
Until next time!