Berlin, Germany

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Berlin, Germany is perhaps the most popular vacation destination for international travelers to Germany, and it's easy to see why. In a nation that's highly cultured to begin with, Berlin is the cultural hub. Being the capital of Germany, Berlin is home to almost 3.5 million people. This, of course, includes the population of the former East Berlin, which was reunited with West Berlin in the German reunification of 1989.

Less than two decades ago, Berlin was a victim of Cold War divisions: one side prosperous and democratic, the other deprived and politically suppressed by Communist rule. Since the infamous Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the city has made great efforts to come together in culture and services. However, this takes time, and much work remains to be done.

The Past and Present of Berlin

It's obvious when you visit Berlin where the political division line was, for the east side of the city continues to lag visibly in services, infrastructure, and opportunities. The buildings are shabbier, the poverty worse. However, the people are warm and friendly, and historical tours of the city put everything into fascinating perspective.

Berlin offers a diversity of attractions to suit any taste, starting with its lauded art and history museums. The city is also host to the Berlin International Film Festival, the second largest in the world. In addition, Berlin has a very prominent gay population, with a plethora of clubs and a yearly pride parade. Nightlife in general, whether gay or straight, has always been one of Berlin's strong points, continuing in the tradition of the 1920s cabarets from which Marlene Dietrich came.

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