Read Your Way Through Berlin

Daniel Kehlmann at the New York Times:

Berlin is not pretty. You should know that beforehand. You don’t come here for the beautiful architecture of an old European city.

The Berlin Cathedral feels oversized. Across the street, there is the absurd Stadtschloss — a castle that was torn down in 1950, replaced by a rather Brutalist building and then recently rebuilt from scratch true to its 19th century facade, with a hyper-modern interior. On Potsdamer Platz, a tent-like glass roof serves as a strange time capsule of what people in the early 1990s thought their future would look like. Just down the road stands the Brandenburg Gate, a neoclassical monument that became a symbol of the new, reunited Germany.

The 20th century has left deep marks on this city. Not too long ago, Berlin was still divided by a wall.

more here.