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Berlin & Potsdam
Berlin & Potsdam OverviewComprehensive introduction to Berlin. See the city’s major historic sites & the pick of the city’s museums. Special access to the Reichstag to include dinner in its rooftop restaurant. We visit Potsdam to see Frederick the Great’s magnificent Sanssouci. Enjoy Berlin’s fabled musical culture. Very comfortable hotel just off Unter den Linden.
Prussia & the Rise of Germany: Berlin & Potsdam
Tour Lecturer: Tom Duncan, Co-Founder of CICERONI Travel
Prussia - How many reactions can a name conjure up in the Anglo-Saxon imagination? In this particular case surely some of the most frequently mentioned include Frederick the Great and his role both as military genius and patron of the arts; Bismarck and the creation of a German Empire; the family links between the Prussian and British royal families; the militaristic traditions which propelled Germany into two World Wars and their horrific consequences?
While these themes will form part of the historic framework for our visit to Berlin, in contrast to these often tragic events there is a parallel and happier story, above all the reunification of the two Germanys after the collapse of Communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Indeed, it is Berlin, more than any other city, which has demonstrated Germany’s resilience, its acknowledgement of its past and its faith in the future, expressed through a commitment to the human spirit in all its forms. Thus, the great cultural traditions of German music, literature and the visual arts will be with us at all times – a descant to our theme.
Our visit will weave these complex strands via a series of guided walks around Berlin’s historic centre. Since reunification, enormous investment has poured into both the restoration of the historic core and the creation of a new government district from where the reunited Germany is administered. For culturally biased travellers these projects may be dwarfed by the reorganisation of the city’s Museums and Galleries, the so-called Museum Island, a testament to Germany’s belief in visual culture as a transformational experience, and one which we shall have ample time to explore.
From the German Historical Museum with its exemplary overview of the country’s history to the Altes and Pergamon Museums with their unrivalled holdings of antiquities and the Neues Museum remodelled in stunning fashion by David Chipperfield – the room with Nefertiti’s bust is alone worth a detour – all of mankind’s history is brought to life as nowhere else. For lovers of paintings there is the magnificent Gemäldegalerie with Germany’s most comprehensive display of Old Masters. We also visit Potsdam and Frederick the Great’s magnificent Sans Souci, the most perfect realisation of the primacy of Enlightenment culture outside of France. Berlin’s commitment to musical life is sustained by no less than three separate opera houses; the Philharmonie (home of the Berlin Philharmonic) and numerous other venues. Details of operas, concerts and recitals available during our stay will be circulated to participants when known.
Our hotel will be the very comfortable 5* Hotel Regent, a short walk from the famous Unter den Linden and most of the sights we shall visit, and very close to two of the city’s opera houses. It has a starred Michelin restaurant and there are many other good restaurants nearby.