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Brandenburg & Berlin Travel Guide

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Gendarmenmarkt at sunset, Berlin (© flashpics - Fotolia.com)
Gendarmenmarkt at sunset, Berlin.

Introduction

With a population of just 2.5 million for 29,478 km2, Brandenburg is the second most sparsely populated German state after its northern neighbour, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Berlin, a city state of its own, is in fact more populous, with 3.5 million inhabitants.

Composed in large part of wetlands and woodlands, Brandenburg is one of the greenest states in Germany, with 15 large protected areas making up nearly a third of the total land area. The capital of Brandenburg is Potsdam. Its historical capitals were first Brandenburg, then Berlin.

Brandenburg is home to Germany's only indigenous minority, the Sorbs, descendants of 6th-century Slavs who settled the region. They are mostly confined in the southeast of the state, around Cottbus.

Famous people from Brandenburg include (chronologically): the philosopher and diplomat Wilhelm von Humboldt, the physician and physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, the naturalist and biologist Ernst Haeckel, and the Nobel Prize chemist and physicist Walther Nernst.

Famous people from Berlin include (chronologically): the geographer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, the painter Max Liebermann, Nobel Peace Prize chancellor Gustav Stresemann, the founder of the Bauhaus School Walter Gropius, the Nobel Prize poet and playwright Nelly Sachs, and the actress and singer Marlene Dietrich.

Attractions

West

Rheinsberg Palace
Schloss Rheinsberg (© schneiderpics - Fotolia.com)
very good Originally a moated medieval castle Schloss Rheinsberg was reconstructed in 1566 in Renaissance style. King Frederick William I of Prussia acquired it in 1734, and bestowed it to his 22-year-old son, the future Frederick the Great...Read more



Berlin
Reichstag, Berlin (© pp76 - Fotolia.com)
must-see Germany's capital and its largest city, Berlin is one of the world's most dynamic cities. It is home to renowned universities, research institutes, large corporations, and top-class orchestras and museums. Its nightlife, designers and...Read more
Potsdam
Potsdam (© Elisa Locci - iStockphoto.com)
must-see Potsdam was the residence of the Prussian kings and German Kaisers until 1918. The rococo splendour of Schloss Sanssouci was Frederick the Great's answer to Versailles. Combined with the Orangerieschloss, the Neues Palais, Schloss...Read more
Brandenburg an der Havel
Brandenburg an der Havel (photo by Lienhard Schulz - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
good Settled by the Slavs in the 6th century, Brandenburg is the oldest city in the state. It was the seat of the margraviate of the same name until the new Hohenzollern rulers moved it to Berlin in 1417. Ravaged by WWII and mutilated by...Read more
High Fläming Nature Park
High Fläming Nature Park (photo by Lienhard Schulz - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
very good The High Fläming Nature Park covers 827 km² and is composed half of forests and the other half is agricultural land. It is home to a rich wildlife, including deer, mouflons, raccoons, black storks, great bustards, middle spotted...Read more

East

Lower Oder Valley National Park
Lower Oder National Park (photo by Sane - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
outstanding This cross-border German-Polish nature reserve is the habitat and breeding ground for a wide variety of animals, including rare and endangered species. The marshes and forests are notably home to black storks, sea eagles...Read more
Chorin Abbey
Chorin Abbey (photo by Lienhard Schulz - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
very good The Cistercian Abbey of Chorin was founded by in 1258 by the Margrave of Ascania and had a far-reaching influence on the Slavic population that occupied the region in medieval times. Chorin Abbey is generally considered one of...Read more.



Niederfinow Boat Lift
Niederfinow boat lift (© Annett Possenig - Fotolia.com)
good Opened in 1934, the Niederfinow boat lift is the oldest working boat lift in Germany. It lies on the Oder-Havel Canal between Berlin and Stettin, and uses a staircase lock with four chambers to overcome a difference in ...Read more
Lübben & Lübbenau
Lübbenau (© dieter76 - Fotolia.com)
outstanding The twin towns of Lübben and Lübbenau, 10 km apart, are the touristic heart of the Spree Forest, declared Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO. The towns are crisscrossed by 400 km of canals, along which visitors are conveyed in ...Read more
Cottbus
Cottbus (© flashpics - Fotolia.com)
very good Cottbus is the cultural capital of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority of East Germany. Apart from the colourful façades and the unusual Art Nouveau theatre, the main point of interest are the Lodka cultural centre and Wendisches Museum...Read more

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Cities, towns, villages & historic buildings

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Natural attractions

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  • : Highly recommended
  • : World-class natural attraction
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