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Berlin, Germany

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When people think of Berlin, the first thing that usually comes to mind is its most famous landmark – the Brandenburg Gate. For decades a symbol of division, the monument is now the heart of a city bursting with ideas, inspiration, art, culture and creativity.

There's a sense of peace and freedom in the air here – in stark contrast to the days when Berlin was responsible for unthinkable crimes. Today, Berlin is filled with people with friendly charm and an anxiousness to please. This city has gone through a renaissance and has embraced a progressive spirit of optimism that engulfed the reunified city. The memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, a work by New York architect Peter Eisenman located near the Brandenburg Gate, serves as a reminder of those atrocities, as does the Topography of Terror documentation centre at the former Gestapo headquarters.

Berlin is the creative workshop of Germany, a trendsetter and a capital of fashion, design and music. The city has embraced art and is now permeated with hundreds of backyard art studios and on the streets. Artists have also appropriated the remains of the Berlin Wall: the section from Oberbaum bridge to Ostbahnhof station, now going by the name of East Side Gallery, has become an illustrated encyclopedia of street art. Today, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Neukölln and Wedding are the districts of choice for more than 20,000 artists.

Berlin is famous for its nightlife featuring many pubs and theatres. The cosmopolitan vibe also permeates the government district, which spreads out to the east from Brandenburg Gate and from the neighboring Reichstag.

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