Nefertiti, one of the most powerful women of Egypt, is looking in my eyes. One eye of the Egyptian Queen is crystal. The word meaning of her name is ‘beauty comes’ or ‘coming from beauty.’ For the last four days, I have been traveling through nature and history that are as impressive as Nefertiti is. I have been encountering with the clues of how the 70 percent of the cultural heritage that had been built between 1830 and 1930 in this part of Berlin was destroyed during the Second World War and was resurrected once again at the last stop of Germany’s world heritage route, Berlin Museums Island.

Potsdam-Dessua-Berlin route, which is one of Germany’s world heritage routes certified by UNESCO, is a green route that is full of treasures. Beside the cultural treasures that surround you, you prosper from philosophy and ideas as you advance. While you are walking through the magnificent palaces, beautiful gardens that seem as if created by an artist, lake sceneries that look like pastoral paintings, you are also traveling through the capillaries of the German history.

A baroque dream
Potsdam used to be a garrison town 300 years ago and then it became one of the most magnificent royal cities of Europe. You become impressed by this change, when you are socializing at the oldest socialization place of Potsdam, Heider Café. The city of science and arts, Potsdam, which is where Voltaire had stayed for two years, has approximately 500 hectares of parks, 150 structures from the period between 1730 and 1916, and beautiful landscapes. The city, which is known as the ‘palaces and parks’ leg of the heritage route, is a baroque dream and Versailles of Prussia. When the Kings of Prussia had transformed Potsdam into palaces and parks, they had added giant structures of classicism. The palace of Friedrich II, who didn’t like wars but still hadn’t portrayed stability on the subject, Sanssouci, which means ‘worriless’ in French, is both magnificent and graceful with its terraces and gardens. The collection that takes place at the art gallery of the palace and consists of the works by famous Italian and Dutch painters is priceless. In addition, English Tudor-style Cecilienhof Palace, which is where the Potsdam Conference that hosted Churchill, Stalin, and Truman who are also known as ‘the three greats’ in 1945 was held, and the Russian colony Alexandrovka are worth to see. The architecture of the town is extremely aesthetic. You arrive in the Dutch region, which has a nice ambience with brick buildings and backyards, through the Nauen Gate. The place is full of cafes, bars, bakeries, and avant-garde galleries. Gasthaus Augustiner with its authentically dressed waiters and its German dishes and La Maison du Chocolat with its delicious cakes draw attention in this neighborhood.

A wonder of landscape in the garden kingdom  
Imagine a gondola trip; you are floating on the waters that are surrounded with mansions, gardens and parks that have great landscapes, various trees, greenery… Your gondolier is also your guide. German style cake and tea are your treats. This image is the work of Leopold III who was a strong supporter of the Enlightenment and who used landscape architecture as a way to voice his political opinions. The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Worlitz from the 18th century is accepted as the first British style garden of the continental Europe. UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s statement is as follows: “The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz is an outstanding example of the application of the philosophical principles of the Age of the Enlightenment to the design of a landscape that integrates art, education and economy in a harmonious whole.” The harmony of the landscape and architecture is striking. You cannot get enough of the greenery, the lake, and the beautiful mansions. Many structures that are spread on 140 square kilometers of land between the Elbe and Mulde rivers had been designed to develop the spirituality of their observers. Worlitz Palace, which was built in Neoclassical style, is accepted as one of the fundamental structures of the classical age in Germany. It is possible to walk or pedal around the gardens united by canals.

Berlin Museum Island
The ‘cultural and intellectual history’ leg is the most hectic stop of the heritage route. Five excellent museums established on an island that is located at the town center… Bode, Altes, Alte National Gallery, Neue, and Pergamon Museums take place on Berlin Museum Island, which is smaller than one square kilometer, in the Spree River. Not only are the stunning treasures displayed in the island, but also the concept of art museology that reaches to the Age of Enlightenment and the French Revolution takes a stand in front of us with all its aesthetic. Pergamon Museum is the most visited museum of Berlin with a yearly average of 1 million 300 thousand visitors. Complimentary electronic audio guide system in many languages including Turkish is offered at the museum. Don’t miss to see Market Gate of Miletus, Ishtar Gate, Babylon Processional Way, and Mshatta Façade. The world famous Pergamon Zeus Altar was gone under a five-year restoration at the end of last year. While museums gradually stand following the World War II, the Neue Museum was opened as the last one in 2009. The use of steam power and load-bearing construction that was developed industrially during the construction of the Neue Museum in 1841 had caused a stir in the aspect of engineering. Today, a different architectural style draws attention. The architect holds light to the damaging effects of war on cultural heritage impressively and aesthetically by leaving the marks of war as they are instead of restoring the museum to its original state. The bust of Nefertiti is also displayed in here. The liveliest and the youngest neighborhoods of the town are located around the Museum Island. You can enjoy the spring sun, while resting on one of the lounge chairs along the riverbank.

Hotel Am Jaegertor in the central Potsdam or Hotel Bayrisches Haus Potsdam in the forest are nice selections.

Floating on the Havel River on wooden rafts for four, having a barbeque, and staying overnight is the favorite activity of Germans in Potsdam Huckleberrys.

From May through September is concert season in Worlitz.

Cross the Glienicker Bridge that the prisoners of war were exchanged between the Americans and the Soviets in Potsdam during the Cold War.

If you purchase your museum tickets on-line, you won’t have to wait in line in Berlin.

Berlin is shaken with concerts, plays, and guieded tours on the ‘Long Night of Museums’ from the mid March until the end of August.

The tourist guide Jens Becker who is knowledgable, fun, and who knows about good food offers tours in English.


For other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany