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Berlin Berlin is the capital city and a single state of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is the country's largest city by size and population, and the second most populous city in the European Union.

Berlin is one of the most influential centers in European politics and culture. The city serves as an important crossroads for the eastern EU members and is a main junction of national and international transportation. Berlin is a major tourist and shopping destination and is well known for its diverse range of convention venues and media outlets. It hosts some of the most prominent universities, research faculties, theatres, and museums in Europe.

The rapidly changing metropolis at present is experiencing an international reputation for its festivals, vibrant nightlife, contemporary archite cture, and avant-garde arts. Being home to people from more than over 180 nations, Berlin is a magnet for individuals who are attracted by its liberal lifestyle, eclectic urbanity, and artistic freedom. The city is famous and infamous for its political legacy during the 20th century.

Berlin is located in eastern Germany, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) west of the border with Poland. Berlin's landscape was shaped by ice sheets during the last Ice Age. The city centre lies along the river Spree in the Berlin-Warsaw 'urstromtal' (ancient river valley), formed by water flowing from melting ice sheets at the end of the last Ice Age. The urstromtal lies between the low plateaus of the Barnim, to the north, and the Teltow, to the south. In Berlin's westernmost borough, Spandau, the Spree meets the river Havel, which flows from north to south through western Berlin. The course of the Havel is much like a chain of lakes. The largest lakes along the Havel are the Tegelsee and Großer Wannsee. A series of lakes also feeds into the upper Spree, which flows through eastern Berlin's largest lake, Großer Miggelsee.

Berlin is the national capital of the Federal Republic of Germany.It is the the seat of the German President using the Schloss Bellevue for his official residence. Since German reunification on 3 October 1990 it has been one of the three city states, together with Hamburg and Bremen, among the present 16 German states or Bundeslinder.The Bundesrat ("federal council") is the representation of the Federal States (Linder) of Germany and has its seat at the former Prussian Herrenhaus (House of Lords). Though most of the ministries are seated in Berlin, some of them and also minor departments are seated in Bonn the former capital of western Germany.

Berlin was founded at a point where trade routes crossed the River Spree and quickly became a commercial centre. During the early modern period, the city prospered from its role as Prussian capital by manufacturing luxury goods for the Prussian court and supplies for the Prussian military.

During the mid-1800s, the Industrial Revolution transformed the city's economy. Berlin became Germany's main rail hub and a centre of rail locomotive manufacturing. The city became a leader in the manufacture of other kinds of machinery as well, and developed an important chemical manufacturing sector. Toward the end of the 19th century, Berlin became a world leader in the then cutting-edge sector of electrical equipment manufacturing As the de facto centre of the German Zollverein, or Customs Union, and later the seat of imperial Germany's central bank, Berlin became Germany's banking and financial centre as well.

Berlin suffered from both the German inflation of the 1920s and the Great Depression of the 1930s. The city's economy revived as a centre of armaments production under the Nazis, but it lost a pool of entrepreneurial talent when the Nazis forced Jewish businessmen to sell their holdings and ultimately massacred most who did not flee Germany. World War II severely damaged Berlin's industrial infrastructure, and Soviet expropriation of machinery and other capital equipment as "reparations" further damaged Berlin's industrial base. Soviet restrictions on transport impeded communication with West Germany and ended hopes that Berlin would resume a role as Germany's financial centre; most banks established headquarters in Frankfurt. In East Berlin, central planners rebuilt a manufacturing sector, but one that was not competitive internationally or responsive to market demand. West Berlin's economy grew increasingly dependent on state subsidies and on its role as an educational and research centre.

Berlin is noted for its numerous cultural institutions, some of which enjoy international reputation. In addition, cultural diversity and tolerance remain from the time when West Berlin took pride in its role as a "free city" with the motto "something for everyone."

Berlin has a rich art scene, and it is home to hundreds of art galleries. The city is host to the Art Forum annual international art fair. Many young Germans and international artists continue to settle in the city, and Berlin has established itself as an important centre of youth and pop culture in Europe.

This article is licensed under the [GNU Free Documentation License]. It uses material from Wikipedia

External Links :

Berlin - Official Guide
Air Berlin
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Fan Page
Berlin International Airports
City of New Berlin
Google Images of Berlin

Tags: capital, republic, germany, european union

Date Added: 21 April '06

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