Charlottenburg is the home to many of Berlin’s notable locations such as the Charlottenburg Palace, the Olympiastadion, the Deustche Oper, and the Berlin Institute of Technology, and it borders both Tiergarten and Berlin’s Tegel Airport. Charlottenburg lies in what was once the English sector of Berlin, which later became the heart of West Berlin during the city’s 29 years of division. The environment is described as a wealthier area that is also strongly family oriented, but this is not what Charlottenburg is all about. Along with this reputation, Charlottenburg is also known for being clean and safe. With a flow of universities and parks in the neighborhood, you can find families, children and young adults going about their everyday lives in Charlottenburg.
The Olympiastadion was built in 1934-1936 and hosted the summer Olympics in 1936, during a politically complicated time, as Adolf Hitler was the Chancellor. African-American track star Jesse Owens took four gold medal titles, which was controversial to the visions that Nazi Germany was trying to implement among the nation. The stadium is still used today as the home arena for Hertha, Berlin’s soccer team. The stadium is also used to host a range of various events during the year such as the Champions League Finals, FIFA World Cups, and various concerts such as Michael Jackson. With space for more than 74,000 spectators since the stadium’s renovation in 2004, the stadium makes an ideal location for hosting events.
The Charlottenburg Palace, which also happens to be the largest palace in Berlin, was built from 1695-1713. It was built as a summer palace for the wife of Elector Frederick III. His wife, Sophie Charlotte, is also the name of the U-Bahn station that you would take to visit the palace. In December, the Charlottenburg Palace is known to be one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Berlin. During the summer, it is an ideal setting to spend an afternoon either touring the inside or exploring the surrounding gardens.
Apart from some of the historical sites that exist in Charlottenburg, the area also has many beautiful parks, such as Lietzenseepark, and a large selection of places to shop and eat. Some of the more popular locations include the pedestrian street of Wilmersdorfer Straße and Kant Straße. Kant Straße is home to many Asian restaurants and stores and is known as Berlin’s Chinatown of the west. Other areas in Charlottenburg, such as Savigny Platz, have a very posh vibe, which is also reflected in the stores and restaurants available. When looking to find brand names such as Chanel, Valentino and the like, Kurfürstendamm hosts these kinds of high-fashion shops.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the cultural heart of Berlin is not necessarily Charlottenburg. Due to Berlin’s rich history, the different boroughs all have their own strong identity. It is debatable that Mitte, the cultural center of the East, has taken the title of Berlin’s center, but Charlottenburg is still rich in art, music, and literature, much of which is not found in the East. When looking for things to do in Berlin, Charlottenburg hosts an array of various activities, whether it is going to one of the many museums in the borough or attending the Opera. When compared to other neighborhoods, Charlottenburg is unique with a completely different ambiance, making it a definite must-visit while in Berlin.
By Lara Hurtubise
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