Six years ago today I was in Berlin, Germany. It was a warm summer day when I arrived in Berlin and it stayed warm the whole time I was there. The people of Berlin were outside enjoying the long days and summer weather, and along the road that runs through the Tiergarten there were large screens set up so that locals could watch the ongoing Euro Cup tournament. Sadly, Germany’s national team lost while I was in town. While walking around Berlin I remember being impressed by how the city had bounced back, first from destruction of World War 2 and then from the Cold War division that literally split Berlin between the East and West. The part of Berlin I stayed in while I was visiting the city used to be part of the Communist East Berlin, but you would never guess that by how well developed and prosperous it was. There was a construction boom going on back when I was in Berlin and while on top of the Reichstag I counted no fewer than 30 construction cranes all across the city.
That’s not to say that Berlin’s past has been swept away. All throughout the city are historic buildings and remnants of days gone, particularly the 20th Century. Sections of the Berlin Wall can be seen in several places, Alexanderplatz still has its World Clock and TV tower from the Cold War, a plaza full of concrete slabs commemorates the slaughtered Jews of the Holocaust, and if you look closely at the Reichstag you can see discolored patches of the exterior that mark where bullets and shells struck the building.
In the background of today’s photo is another of Berlin’s historic buildings, the Berlin Cathedral Church. While it’s technically not a cathedral since it doesn’t house the seat of a bishop, no one seems bothered by that fact. The Berlin Cathedral is one of the few Protestant churches in Europe that can compete with the great Catholic church of Europe in terms of grandeur and decorations, and if you go inside and look up around the interior of the dome you’ll see statues of some of the major church reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin. The dome can also be climbed for good views of the surrounding area.