Berlin is one of Europe’s most memorable cities. It’s had a long history, from being a lavish home to Prussian royalty to becoming a stage for the World Wars. It has beer breweries, techno clubs, grand architecture, graffiti-filled walls, and historical landmarks galore.
But there are things about Berlin that not everyone knows.
Why not head to the city with interesting bits of knowledge about the city tucked in the corners of your brain?
1. Berlin existed before Germany did.
If you’re wondering how it’s possible that a country’s capital existed before the country’s formation, then the answer is Prussia.
Berlin was a throne for the Prussian monarchy and wasn’t the crown of Germany until the German Empire was founded in 1871.
This marks the nation as 149 years old.
Meanwhile, Berlin had already existed as early as the 13th century!
However, it was only a swampland, with the name Berlin widely assumed to come from the Slavic word ‘brl’, meaning swamp or marsh.
2. The Charité hospital has been active for over 300 years.
Known for its awe-inspiring architecture, the Charité university hospital has served Berlin since the year 1710, when the bubonic plague stormed Europe.
The Prussian king, Frederick I, had the hospital built for quarantine purposes.
Now, 310 years later, the hospital continues its services and even offers medical professional training as a university hospital.
It is now known as the oldest hospital in Germany, and also one of the most prestigious.
In fact, many of its medical graduates have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.
3. Berlin’s infrastructure reveals that Germans are dog lovers.
If you want proof that the people of Berlin love dogs, then the fact that 105,000 dogs were registered in 2017 alone may be sufficient evidence.
But one could just take a look at the city’s infrastructure.
For instance, the Ringbahn, or the railway network around the city center, has a distinctive shape of a dog head, hence its nickname Hundekopf meaning Dog’s Head.
Another geographical feature that reveals love for dogs are some swimming pools.
One example among many is the bird’s eye view of the Neukölln Sommerbad pool, which shows that it’s shaped like a small dog!
4. Berlin Wall’s no man’s land was inhabited by bunnies.
Everyone knows that the Berlin Wall (or walls, since there were actually 2 of them running parallel to each other) heavily separated East Berlin from West Berlin.
In particular, the “no man’s land” that ran for 100 hundred meters was a dead zone, preventing East Berliners from defecting to West Berlin over the night.
However, there was actually life to be found in this unlikely space.
Wild rabbits were probably shocked one day to find walls built, giving them a small, lush sanctuary without any predators in sight.
Germans took notice of the little hopping creatures, of course, leading to the creation of several bunny silhouettes on the pavement near the former wall.
5. Berlin is home to Europe’s most significant contemporary art gallery scene.
Europe as a whole boasts of many artistic cities.
Berlin is one that has a lot to brag about – it has around 300 galleries that remain active to this day!
If you include the street art scene, then there’s no question that Berlin takes the cake, with six different districts that showcase the culture, politics, and personality of rebellious Berlin artists.
It would also be impossible to talk about Berlin art without mentioning the East Side Gallery, which is the most extended open gallery in the entire world.
It’s basically made up of the longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall. It’s 1,316 kilometers long and holds artwork by 118 artists.
And there you have it. Those are some interesting things about Berlin that are cool to know when you come to visit.
Aside from being awesome to behold, this sprawling German capital has a rich culture and history behind every corner that, if you know quite a bit about, can truly enrich your travel experience.