I spent three days in Berlin, and I took an evening stroll through the city center a couple of those days. I had the very good luck of some pleasant summer evenings there. Bill Paulsen and I stayed at an inexpensive hotel next to the Hauptbahnhof, just across the Spree river from the Reichstag. While the hotel was fine, if a little austere, it was primarily for kids; mostly very middle class German backpacker kids and a few budget conscious older foreigners (like us). We saw very few people there over 30, including the staff. So, in the evenings, I would go out and walk.
The following is put together out of both of those walks.
These are all my photos, except for some historical pictures. They are freely available especially to educators.
You can see here clearly the famous cross made by the sun striking the glass tiles on the tower; an effect locally known as "The Pope's Revenge."
It was originally located in front of the Reichstag. Hitler moved it to its present location in the middle of Tiergarten Park to make room for his colossal and mercifully unbuilt Volkshalle (Berlin Dome).
Forgive me, but I find the Siegesäule to be just a little vulgar.
Allied bombing in World War II heavily damaged the cathedral. The Soviets left it vacant and made no attempt to repair or restore it other than to add a temporary roof where the dome had been. The DDR made a belated effort to restore it. The East German government rebuilt the dome, though they did not restore the original spires. West Germany paid for the restoration of the interior.
You can also see how much the Lustgarten in front of it has changed. The big bronze statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I is very much gone and replaced by a fountain. Also, today there is more grass and less stone pavement.
While the designs of these government buildings (and also some very large corporate buildings around town) went out of their way to avoid anything that smacked of imperial militarism, they were in their own way very triumphalist. The Bundesrepublik Deutschland (the Businessman State as Günter Grass called it) is back and it's the biggest and most successful economy in Europe. This particular building was almost as vast as the Pentagon, though a lot less brutal looking. Even so, it made the old Neo-Classical buildings of Schinkel and Klenze look intimate by comparison.