Thursday, April 29, 2010

Berlin Germany Insider Sightseeing - TOP Sights - Part 4 of 4

What the Museum Island means to the UNESCO, is the Erotic Museum for adults. But let's see what (else) amazingly we will discover today.

X. Erotik Museum

This "museum" lies on the corner of the seediest-looking block in Berlin. The museum in its exhibits honors the "queen of the Rubber Willy" herself, Beate Uhse. It's a household name here in Germany. Her life is documented from her days at the "Deutsche Luftwaffe" to pictures of her at the helm of a large speedboat. This septuagenarian opened the world's first shop devoted to "marital hygiene," ultimately championing the right to sell contraceptives. Today she still heads the world's largest sex-related merchandising business. Downstairs are video cabins filled with middle-aged men in raincoats and a "sex superstore."

However, you start out on the third floor and work your way down (there is no sexual pun intended). Eventually, it is hard to believe, that it has become the fifth most visited museum in Berlin. The museum shelters 5,000 sexual artifacts from around the world. Asian and Indian miniatures of erotic positions; African fertility masks; large carved phalli from Bali; or some Chinese wedding tiles from the 18th and 19th century that were supposed to provide sexual education to a newly married couple. Life-size dioramas explore topics such as fetishism and S&M. Well-worth visiting.

XI. Gendarmenmarkt

Gendarmenmarkt is considered as Europeans most beautiful square, so a must see for every tourist. Here you will find three historical buildings; the "Konzerthaus" (Concert House), the "Deutscher Dom" (German Cathedral), and the "Franzoesischer Dom" (French Cathedral).

The square was laid out from 1688 to the plans of J.A. Nering. It was originally known as Linden Markt, then Friedrichstädtischer Markt or Neuer Markt. Because the square was used by a curassier regiment "gens d'arms," from 1736-82, complete with sentry boxes and stables, the name Gendarmenmarkt arose. From 1777, the square was developed according to unified plans drawn up by Georg Christian Unger. It was badly damaged in the Second World War. On the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the Prussian Academy of the Sciences (Akademie der Wissenschaften), it was renamed "Platz der Akademie". In 1991, its previous name was restored.

==> Konzerthaus

The Konzerthaus is the new building designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel to replace the Nationaltheater built from 1800-02 by Karl Gotthard Langhans, which was burnt to the ground in 1817. The conception of the Konzerthaus integrates the remains of Langhan's rectangular building and adds a higher, wider, gabled solidium in the center, complete with an ionic columned hall projecting at the front. Following its destruction in the Second World War, the building was initially only made safe, and the systematic restoration of the original design only began in 1979. Since its reopening in 1984 it has served not as a theatre, but as a concert hall.

==> Deutscher Dom

The German Cathedral was built from 1701-08. M. Grünberg planned it, and Giovanni Simonetti built it. From 1780-85, during the redesigning of the Gendarmenmarkt, Carl von Gontard added the domed tower onto the cathedral. The cathedral was destroyed in the Second World War as well. However, it had been reconstructed and rebuilt. The reopening was on October 2nd, 1996, five years after the reunification.

==> Franzoesischer Dom

The Französische Friedrichstadtkirche was built from 1701-05 by Cayart. He designed it as a church for Berlin's Huguenot community. From 1780-85, the imposing tower of the French cathedral (Französischer Dom) was added to plans by Unger and Gontard as part of the redesigning of Gendarmenmarkt. In the World War 2, the cathedral was badly damaged. However, from 1977 on it was rebuilt and reconstructed.

And, how was the journey? Did you shoot enough photos? I hope so... :-) And did you recognize, that I gave you 11 instead of 10 tips? Good! :-)

However, enjoy your trips!

Marcus Hochstadt

Copyright Marcus Hochstadt All Rights Reserved


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