Population: 3.459.218 (30th of november 2010)
Foreigners: 472.321 = 13,65% (30th of november 2010)
Length of city limits: 234 km
Longest distance north – south: 38 km
Longest distance east – west: 45 km
Total area covered: 892 km² (compared to: New York City: 789 km², London: 1572 km², Sydney: 1664 km², Paris: 105 km², Amsterdam: 167 km², Madrid: 606 km², Rome: 1285 km²)
biggest lake: Großer Müggelsee (7,4 km²)
longest river: Spree 45,1 km inside the city limits
highest natural elevation: Müggelberge (114m above sea level)
highest building: Television Tower (368 m)
Short history of Berlin:
1237: The city of Cölln, one of two parts of the twin city Berlin – Cölln, is first mentioned in a document. Berlin, across the river Spree in what is now called the Nikolaiviertel, is referenced in a document from 1244.
1415: The House of Hohenzollern takes over the Margraviate of Brandenburg, Berlin becomes their residence.
1618 – 1648: During the Thirty Years' War armies, plagues and famines devastate the area, halving the population of Berlin and leaving only a third of the buildings intact.
1701: Frederick I. becomes King in Prussia, making Berlin the residence of the Kingdom of Prussia.
1740-86: During the rule of Frederick II. (called Frederick the Great) Prussia becomes one of the great powers in Europe, holding off the combined armies of Russia, Austria and France in the 7-years war. Many important buildings such as the Opera house and the big churches at Gendarmenmarket are build during his reign, as well as the castle Sanssouci in Potsdam, where Frederick the Great gave flute concerts and met with philosophers such as Voltaire.
More about his life and the ascend of Prussia can be discovered on our essential Berlin Tour and of course on our Potsdam Tour.
1806: The troops of the french Emperor Napoleon conquer Prussia, occupy Berlin and Napoleon steals the Quadriga from the Brandenburg Gate. More about this in our Essential Berlin Tour.
1871: After the Franco – Prussian War the German Empire is founded and the prussian king Wilhelm I. becomes „Deutscher Kaiser“ (German Emperor), making Berlin the capital of the empire. The economy flourishes and Berlin grows to more than one million inhabitants.
1914 – 1918: The German Empire looses the first World War, the Kaiser Wilhelm II. resigns from the throne, ending the more than 500 years rule of the House of Hohenzollern.
Germany becomes a republic.
1920 – 1929: During the „Golden Twenties“ Berlin becomes a vibrating center of art and culture. It was the epoch of the cabaret, the great revues and the ascend of the cinema, but also a time of great economical and political turmoil with a devastating inflation, mass unemployment and unstable governments.
Berlin reaches almost 4 million inhabitants.
1933: The Nazis under Adolf Hitler take over power in Germany, starting the persecution of oppositional thinkers and politicians and the jewish population of Germany.
1936: The Olympic Games take place in Berlin. Hitler uses the Games as a stage for his propaganda. During the games the Nazis removed signs stating "Jews not wanted" and similar slogans from the city's main tourist attractions, trying to dazzle the world into thinking the Third Reich was a peaceful regime. More about this time can be discovered on our Third Reich Tour which includes a visit in the Olympic Stadium.
1939 – 1945: The Third Reich starts an looses the second World War. Due to allied bombing and the russian advance into the city most of the city center is destroyed, half of the population of Berlin becomes homeless.
With 4.5 million inhabitants Berlin reaches its maximum population in 1942.
1945: During the Potsdam Conference the allied forces decide the division of the country into four occupied zones, the same happens to the capital Berlin. More about the conference on our Potsdam tour.
1948 – 1949: Soviet blockade around West Berlin. The United States and Great Britain decide to supply the city with the airlift. During 11 months thousands of „raisin bombers“ supply the people of West Berlin with food, coal and other goods and prevent the takeover of the Soviets.
More about the airlift on our Bohemian Berlin Tour which will also take you to the former airport of Tempelhof.
1961: The City is torn apart by a big wall that the GDR constructs all around West Berlin to prevent the escape of their citizens into the West. More about the Berlin Wall on our Essential Berlin Tour.
1989: After months of mass demonstrantions by the people of the GDR the Berlin Wall is opened on the evening of the 9th of november. The suprising events of this night lead to the downfall of the socialist regime in the GDR and initiate the reunification process of Germany.
1990: After 45 years Germany is reunited on the 3rd of october.
1999: After its modernization the Reichstag houses the first session of the german parliament since 1933. Berlin is once again the capital of Germany.
2006: The FIFA World Cup takes place in Germany, the finale taking place in the renovated Olympic Stadium. Hundred thousands of Germans and visitors from all around the world celebrate the event together.
Curiosities about Berlin
total lenghts of S-, U- train, busses and trams: 2.368 km (12/2007)
number of trees along the streets: 424.590 (12/2007)
numer of registered dogs: 108.509 (12/2008)
theaters: 51 (12/2007)
museums: 170 (12/2008)
cinemas: 285 (12/2007)
sport clubs: 1.763 (12/2007)
number of football clubs in the 1st league: 0 at the moment, 1 in the next season
main football clubs: FC Union Berlin, Hertha BSC (both 2nd league)
basketball team: Alba Berlin
Berlin and literature
David Clay Large: Berlin
By far the best book about the citys history: It starts in 1871, when Berlin became the capital of the German Empire and covers the whole 20th century until shortly after the reunification.
Christopher Clark: Iron Kingdom – The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600 – 1947
If you want to dig deeper into the history of the region and the conflicts that shaped it, Christopher Clarks book about the „Iron Kingdom“ is the right book for you. While full of facts and information it is always entertaining, funny and very well written.
Alfred Döblin: Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929)
Carl Zuckmayer: The captain of Kopenick (1931)
Christopher Isherwood: Goodbye to Berlin (1939)
Christa Wolf: Divided Heaven (1963)
John le Carré: The spy who came in from the cold (1963)
Bernhard Schlink: The Reader (1995)
Cees Nooteboom: All Souls day (1999)
Berlin in film
Metropolis (1925 /1926) Fritz Lang
Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis (1927)
One, two, three (1961) with Billy Wilder
Cabaret ( 1972) with Liza Minelli
Octopussy (1983) with Roger Moore as James Bond
Wings of Desire (1987) by director Wim Wenders
Run Lola Run (1998) with Franka Potente
Good bye, Lenin! (2003) with Daniel Brühl
Downfall (2004) with Bruno Ganz
The Lives of Others (2006) Oscar - winner
Valkyrie (2007) with Tom Cruise
The Counterfeiters (2007) Oscar – winner