Berlin - City of Culture

Trip Start May 20, 2005
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Trip End Jun 07, 2007


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Saturday, June 4, 2005

Berlin is not an old city just as the united Germany is not an ancient state. Modern Germany was not united under the Prussian monarchy until after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Two world wars and a long cold war later, Berlin is building itself back into the capital of the re-united Germany, seeking to define itself as a center of culture and social life.

Berlin is:

A large city: Millions in the metropolitan area.

A young city: The population has a very high percentage from the age of 18-34 attracted by the low rents and the buzz of an urban dynamo.

A political city: Politics are sharpened by the continuing distinctions between East and West.

A diverse city: Over 120,000 Turkish guest workers and Turkish Germans live in Berlin with a concentration in the Kreuzberg area. In the 1920s, Berlin had a huge gay population which was decimated by the Nazis, but today the City boasts a comparable gay population and an openly gay mayor.

An inexpensive city: because of the economic downturn after the fall of the wall, the city is a cheap place to live and buy a home....more so than Paris, Rome or London, the cost of living in Berlin is moderate.

A financially strapped city: the virtual end of Federal subsidies and huge public works projects have driven the city into financial difficulty, but city leaders seem unable to work things out.

In short, Berlin struggles with problems and opportunities like most international communities and with some unique unto itself.

Next time: Berlin - A City with a Past
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