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Berlin is the capital city of Germany and one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.5 million people, Berlin is Germany’s largest city and is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany on the River Spree, it is the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has 6 million residents from over 180 nations.
- Due to its location in the European Plains, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate.
- First documented in the 13th century, Berlin was the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the Third Reich (1933–1945).
- The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts, public transportation networks and a high quality of living.
- In 1435, Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440.
- The Thirty Years’ War between 1618 and 1648 devastated Berlin.
- In 1871, Berlin became capital of the newly founded German Empire.
- The sectors of the Western Allies (the United States, the United Kingdom and France) formed West Berlin, while the Soviet sector formed East Berlin.
- As a result of the political and economical tensions brought on by the Cold War, on 13 August 1961, East Germany began building of the Berlin Wallbetween East and West Berlin and similar barriers around West Berlin, and events escalated to a tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie on 27 October1961.
- In Spandau, Berlin’s westernmost borough, the Spree empties into the river Havel, which flows from north to south through western Berlin.
- The Gendarmenmarkt, a neoclassical square in Berlin whose name dates back to the quarters of the famous Gens d’armes regiment located here in the 18th century, is bordered by two similarly designed cathedrals, the Französischer Dom with its observation platform and the Deutscher Dom.
- Facing the Chancellery is the Bundestag, the German Parliament, housed in the renovated Reichstag building since the government moved back to Berlin in 1998.
- The Senate of Berlin consists of the Governing Mayor and up to eight senators holding ministerial positions, one of them holding the official title “Mayor” (Bürgermeister) as deputy to the Governing Mayor.
- Each borough contains a number of localities (Ortsteile), which often have historic roots in older municipalities that predate the formation of Greater Berlin on 1 October 1920 and became urbanized and incorporated into the city.
- During the Cold War era, the partnerships had reflected the different power blocs, with West Berlin partnering with capitals in the West, and East Berlin mostly partnering with cities from the Warsaw Pact and its allies.
- The Science and Business Park of Berlin-Adlershof is among the 15 largest technology parks worldwide.
- The state-owned railway, Deutsche Bahn, has its headquarters in Berlin as well.
- Berlin is among the top three convention cities in the world and is home to Europe’s biggest convention center, the Internationales Congress Centrum (ICC).
- The ensemble on the Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is situated in the northern part of the Spree Island between the Spree and the Kupfergraben.
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