Berlin. Population. Industry

Berlin is Germany's capital and largest city. It has a population of about 3½ million and is one of Europe's great cultural, political, and economic centers.

Berlin developed as a trading village about A.D. 1 200. Overtime, its location at the junction of the Spree and Havel rivers—a trading crossroads—helped to establish its importance. In the 1600's, Berlin became the capital of Prussia, an emerging German state. Two centuries later, in 1871, Berlin became the capital of the new nation of Germany.

Berlin's darkest period began with the rise to power in Germany of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in 1933. During World War II (1939-1945), Germany and other Axis powers fought the Allies, who included Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Berlin was wrecked by Allied bombs and the Soviet Army.

After Germany's defeat in 1945, the victorious Allies divided the nation into two sectors (districts). Communist East Germany and non-Communist West Germany. Berlin was divided into Communist East Berlin and non-Communist West Berlin. East Berlin became the capital of East Germany. Bonn was made West Germany's capital.

The divided city played an important role in the Cold War, a power struggle between Communist and non-Communist nations. In 1961, during the Cold War period, the Communist East German government blocked access from East Berlin to democratic West Berlin by building the Berlin Wall, a high, heavily guarded barrier.

In 1989, the East German government collapsed, and the Berlin Wall was knocked down, symbolizing the end of the Cold War. In 1990, East and West Germany reunited, and the two Berlins merged to become one city. Berlin became the official capital of united Germany.

The Brandenburg Gate, a famous symbol of Berlin, stands between the city's two downtown areas. The gate's huge stone colonnade was completed in 1791.

Berlin. The city. Berlin covers an area of 341 square miles (883 square kilometers), and the entire metropolitan area lies within the city limits. The city has a diverse and, for Europe, unusually open urban landscape. Within the city limits lie many parks, lakes, gardens, and forested areas, and some open farmland. Berlin's outer districts resemble the suburbs of many large European and North American cities. Outside the city limits are rural areas and mostly flat, sandy countryside.

The downtown areas. Two main downtown areas emerged in Berlin after the city was divided in the late 1940's. One of them, in the administrative district called the Mitte (Center), had been the city's original downtown area. Before World War II, this section of the city was the wealthiest area in Germany and the heart of Berlin's business, cultural, and political life. It included Germany's most important banking district and the headquarters of Germany's leading book and newspaper publishers. This section also was the seat of government for the German Empire, formed in 1871, and the Nazi regime.

The Mitte was severely damaged in World War II and afterward became part of East Berlin. The East German government rebuilt the Mitte as downtown East Berlin.

Many of the Mitte's cultural buildings cluster around a boulevard called Unter den Linden (Under the Linden Trees). They include the German State Library, German State Opera House, and Humboldt University. A nearby island in the Spree River called Museum Island has many world-famous museums and art collections.

A new downtown emerged west of the old one after World War II. Wide new boulevards, tall buildings, and sprawling parks replaced the war ruins in this area, which became downtown West Berlin. Many department stores and banks are in the western downtown, along with hotels, cultural institutions, and theaters.

The most famous avenue in the western downtown area is Kurfürstendamm, an elegant shopping boulevard. At the east end of the Kurfürstendamm stands the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The modern church building and a bell tower stand on either side of the original bombed-out tower, left standing as a reminder of World War II. Other landmarks in downtown West Berlin include Ernst-Reuter-Platz, one of Europe's largest public squares; a railway station called the Bahnhof Zoo; and the Hansa Quarter, an area of houses, apartment buildings, and other structures designed in the 1950's by leading architects from all over the world.

Between the two downtown areas stands a famous symbol of Berlin called the Brandenburg Gate—in German, Brandenburger Tor. The gate's main part is a huge stone colonnade completed in 1791. Prussian armies paraded through it after returning from victorious military campaigns.

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church consists of two modern structures on either side of a ruined tower left standing as a reminder of the destruction caused by World War II.

Residential areas of Greater Berlin vary widely in population density, in their type of housing, and in the social and economic status of their residents. The city's inner districts are much more densely populated than its outer ones. In the inner districts, including both downtown areas, most people live in crowded, multistory apartment buildings. Housing in some outer districts consists mainly of comfortable single-family homes and modern condominiums. The outlying districts also have large housing projects.

Since the 1940's, a shortage of housing has been a major problem. Air raids and ground fighting during World War II destroyed or severely damaged about one-third of all housing units. Some low-quality apartment buildings from the 1800's and 1900's survived the war. These buildings are now run-down, and many lack private bathrooms. Since reunification, immigration to Berlin has increased, worsening the housing problem. Thousands of Berliners are homeless. Some of them live in camping trailers, old construction huts, and tents gathered in squatter slums called Wagen-Dörfer (wagon villages) near the site of the old Berlin Wall.

Industrial areas are scattered throughout Berlin. Most large manufacturing plants are in the city's outlying districts. The largest firms operate near the main rail lines and along canals and the Spree and Havel rivers.

Berlin, Germany's largest city, lies at the junction of the Spree and Havel rivers in the northeastern part of the country.

Facts in brief
Population
: 3,433,695.
Area
: 341 sq. mi. (883 km).
Altitude
: 115 ft. (35 m) above sea level.

Climate: Average temperature - Jan., 35 °F (2 °C) July 74 °F (23 °C). Average annual precipitation (includes rainfall and snowfall)—23 in. (58 cm). For the monthly weather in Berlin.

Government: Legislative – House of Representatives of about 240 members, elected by the people (four-year terms). Chief executive—governing mayor elected by the House of Representatives (four-year term).
Founded: About A.D. 1200.






Date added: 2023-02-04; views: 178;


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