Berlin's Top 10 : Unter den Linden

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“As long as the lime trees still blossom in Unter den Linden, Berlin will always be Berlin,” Marlene Dietrich once sang about this magnificent avenue. Today the lime trees blossom more beautifully than ever in the historical centre of Berlin, because the old buildings along the street have been extensively restored and modern architecture has created new highlights. The “Linden” – originally a royal bridle-path linking the Stadtschloss (the king’s town residence) and Tiergarten – became Berlin’s most fashionable street in the 18th century, and was synonymous with the city that was then the capital of Prussia.

Deutsches Historisches Museum

  • Unter den Linden 2

  • 10am–6pm daily

  • 030 20 30 40


  • Admission charge

  • Staatsoper, Unter den Linden 7

  • Box Office 10am–8pm Mon–Fri, 2–8pm Sun

  • 030 20 35 45 55


  • Admission charge

The largest selection of cakes in Berlin tempts visitors in the Café im Opernpalais. In summer, you can enjoy them outside.

Buses No. 100 and No. 200 run along the entire length of Unter den Linden, with bus stops at nearly all the famous sights.

Top 10 Sights
  1. Deutsches Historisches Museum

    Germany’s largest history museum, reopened in 2003, provides an overview of more than 1,000 years of German history. Housed in the Zeughaus – the royal arsenal built in 1706 – it is the oldest and, architecturally, the most interesting building in the avenue Unter den Linden (see Deutsches Historisches Museum).

    Deutsches Historisches Museum in the Zeughaus
  2. Staatsoper Unter den Linden

    The richly ornamented State Opera House is one of Germany’s most attractive. Neo-Classical in style, it was built by von Knobelsdorff in 1741–3 as Europe’s first free-standing opera house, to plans devised by Frederick the Great himself .

  3. St Hedwigskathedrale

    Designed by Georg W von Knobelsdorff in 1740–2 and modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, this is the seat of the Catholic archdiocese in Berlin. Frederick the Great commissioned the cathedral to appease Catholics in Berlin after conquering Silesia .

  4. Humboldt-Universität

    Berlin’s oldest and most highly regarded university was founded in 1890, on the initiative of Wilhelm von Humboldt. Twenty-nine Nobel Prize winners were educated here, including Albert Einstein.

  5. Neue Wache

    The central German memorial for all victims of war was created in the years 1816–8 and designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. An enlarged reproduction of the moving Pietà sculpture by Käthe Kollwitz stands in the centre of the room.

  6. Kronprinzenpalais

    The Neo-Classical Palais, built in 1732–3 by Philipp Gerlach, was originally a residence for the heirs to the Hohenzollern throne. After World War I it became an art museum, and after 1948 the East German government housed state visitors there. Until 2003 it was used for exhibitions of the Deutsches Historisches Museum opposite.

  7. Bebelplatz

    Originally named Opernplatz, this wide, open space was designed by Georg W von Knobelsdorff as the focal point of his Forum Fridericianum. The elegant square was meant to introduce some of the splendour and glory of ancient Rome to the Prussian capital. In May 1933, it became the scene of the infamous Nazi book burning.

  8. Opernpalais

    The charming building next to the Staatsoper, built in 1733–7, served as a palace for the princesses.

  9. Russische Botschaft

    The gigantic Russian Embassy, built in Stalinist “wedding-cake style”, was the first building to be constructed in Unter den Linden after World War II .

  10. Frederick the Great’s Statue

    One of Christian Daniel Rauch’s grandest sculptures, this statue shows the “Old Fritz” (13.5 m/ 45 ft high) on horseback, wearing a uniform and tricorn hat .

Deutsches Historisches Museum

  1. The Dying Warriors

    The 22 reliefs by Andreas Schlüter, displayed on the walls of the courtyard rather than in one of the museum’s exhibitions, portray the horrors of war in an unusually immediate way.

  2. Martin Luther

    Luther’s portrait, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, is the focal point of exhibition rooms devoted to Martin Luther and the Reformation.

    Portrait of Martin Luther in the Zeughaus
  3. Europe and Asia

    This group of Meissen porcelain figures reflects the fascinating relationship between the two continents.

  4. Steam Engine

    A full-sized steam engine from the year 1847 marks the entrance to the exhibition on the Industrial Revolution.

  5. Clothes from the Camps

    Among the many exhibits illustrating the years under Nazi rule is the jacket of a concentration camp inmate –a chilling reminder of the Third Reich.

  6. Gloria Victis

    The moving allegorical figure of Gloria Victis, created by the French sculptor Antonin Mercié, bears witness to the death of a friend during the final days of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1.

  7. Soldiers Plundering a House

    This painting by Sebastian Vrancx, dating from around 1600, depicts a scene from the wars of religion that tore the Netherlands apart during the 16th century.

  8. Saddle

    A valuable saddle, dating from the middle of the 15th century, is decorated with elaborately carved plaques made of ivory.

  9. The Berlin Wall

    An original section of the Wall, together with the banners of a peaceful pro-unification demonstration in 1989, commemorates the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  10. V2 Rocket

    In the section on Nazi Germany is a V2 rocket engine – next to an 88-mm flak gun. The V2 was one of the Wunderwaffen (“wonder weapons”) used at the end of World War II.

Zeughaus Unter den Linden

Originally the royal arsenal, the Zeughaus was built in 1706 in the Baroque style according to plans by Johann Arnold Nering. It is an impressive structure, with its main and side wings surrounding an historical central courtyard that is protected by a modern glass cupola roof. Especially memorable are Andreas Schlüter’s figures of 22 dying warriors, lined up along the arcades in the courtyard. They portray vividly the horrors of war.

A cone-shaped glass annex, erected by the Chinese-born architect Ieoh Ming Pei in 2001 for special exhibitions and temporary shows, stands behind the museum.

The permanent exhibition in the main historical building includes a collection entitled “Images and Testimonials of German History”. Highlighting the most important periods and events in the history of the country, the displays include a surprising variety of exhibits dating back to the days of the early Medieval German Empire through the period of the Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War as well as the wars of Liberation and the failed Revolution of 1848, right up to the two World Wars and more recent events of the 20th century up to 1994.

Top 10 Events
  1. 1573 Elector Johann Georg has a bridle path built, linking the Stadtschloss and Tiergarten

  2. 1647 During the Great Elector’s reign, the road is planted with “Linden” (lime trees)

  3. From 1740 Frederick the Great has grand buildings erected

  4. 1806 Napoleon marches along Unter den Linden

  5. 1820 The road becomes a grand boulevard

  6. 1928 Unter den Linden and Friedrichstraße epitomize the world city

  7. 1933 Troops celebrate Hitler’s victory

  8. 1945 The avenue is razed to the ground

  9. 1948–53 Revival of the street

  10. October 1989 Demonstrations lead to the fall of East German regime

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