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NORTHERN GERMANY As the walking tour continues along


the Unter den Linden, a smaller build- ing with six roman columns sits just past the German historical museum. Though the Neue Wache, meaning New Guardhouse, is small in size, the monu- ment located inside is essential to Ger- man history. The guardhouse has been redesigned


several times since it was originally built between 1816 and 1818 on behalf of the Prussian King Frederick William III, in- cluding after being severely damaged by World War II bombs. Since 1993, the Neue Wache has served as the central memorial to the Federal Republic of Germany, according to informational plaques at the site. T e interior of the guardhouse is built


on an expressive scale and its walls and fl oors are lined with tile. A large circle in the roof allows light to shine on a sculp- ture by Kathe Kallwitz known as “Mother with her Dead Son.” T is dramatic sculp- ture stands in the center of the guard house. Written on plaques before one enters,


the Neue Wache is “the place where we commemorate


the victims of war and


tyranny. We honor the memory of the peoples who suff ered through war. We re- member the citizens who were persecuted and who lost their lives. We remember the innocent who lost their lives as a result of war in their homeland, in captivity and through expulsion.” Continuing on the walk, the Branden-


burg Gate, arguably the main symbol of Berlin, stands at the far end of the Unter den Linden. T e “Room of Silence” in the northern


gatehouse is not well known, but is sig- nifi cant since the Brandenburg Gate was originally built to be the “gate of peace.” Its message of peace receded into the


background during the course of German history. During World War II, the Bran- denburg Gate was a “symbol of a divided city and a divided world… and when the wall fell in 1989, it became a symbol for a peaceful future in Germany and Europe,” according to a plaque at the monument site.


T e small room inside “off ers everyone


— regardless of origin, color, religion and ideology — the opportunity to be silent for a while in the midst of the hectic pace of the big city, thus serving as an example of peace, tolerance and brotherhood,” ac- cording to the plaque. A few hundred feet to the north of


the gate stands the enormous Reichstag building. Originally built between 1884 and1894 to accommodate the assemblies of the German Empire, it is now the seat of the German parliament, or Bundestag. T e panoramic view from the glass dome allows an expansive view of the city and


Far left: Berlin’s cathedral, commonly known as Ber- liner Dam, was constructed in 1454 and can be found on Museum Island. Above: Berlin’s Bran- denburg Gate is easily accessible from city centre and is the only remaining gate through which Berlin was once entered. If taking the U-Bahn or S-Bahn into city centre, stop at the Brandenburger Tor to start your walk. Left: “Mother with her Dead Son” sculpture by Kathe Kallwitz inside Neue Wache.


makes the Reichstag one of the world’s most-visited parliamentary buildings. Just outside of the Reichstag lies a row of 96 slate slabs as a memorial to the politicians who opposed Hitler and were murdered because of their diff ering views. Each slab has the name, birth and death dates of the politician represented. T ough the large buildings and sites stand


out in appearance during this two-mile walk- ing tour, the smaller monuments are just as noteworthy because they show Germany’s re- spect for the many innocent victims harmed throughout its history.


ALPINE LIVING 2011 | 29


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