Day 01 - Berlin / Wittenberg
Berlin, the capital of Germany, a city steeped in history both ancient and modern. This is where we began our journey. We stayed in the Berlin-Moabit district, a district named by the French Huguenots who settled there. These refugees named the district after the region of Moab in the Old Testament.
As we began our history tour of the city, we were able to see the Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the president of Germany. It was built in the late 18th century and has served as the presidential palace since 1994.
We were also able to stop at the Charlottenburg Palace (pictured), built in the 17th century and commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, wife of Friedrich I.
We also saw the Kaiser Wilhelm Church. This church is notable for the severe damage it suffered during World War II in 1943. Originally, there would have been a large stained glass circular window in the center of the church. However, that window was destroyed during the bombing raid and has since been left unrepaired as a memorial to the war.
Moving on to the events of the 20th century, we visited a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The Berlin Holocaust memorial is unique from other Holocaust museums in that it is an abstract art installation. The memorial consists of stone columns of various sizes and heights arranged in a maze pattern. Various interpretations have been offered, such as that the different sizes represent the different ages of the victims. Walking in the midst of the columns is also meant to make one feel lost in a maze as a symbol for the feeling of lostness that the victims themselves suffered.
No visit to Berlin would be complete without stopping to see what remains of the Berlin Wall. This wall, which cut the city into eastern and western segments and came to be a symbol of the divide between the free West and the oppressed Eastern European nations, stood from 1961 to 1989. One segment of it now exists as a graffiti art wall. Perhaps one of the most iconic art pieces is a painting entitled "My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love" in which the artist recreates a fraternal kiss between Leonid Brezhnev of the Soviet Union and Erich Honecker of East Germany.
The Berlin Wall trapped millions of people for nearly 30 years. A seminal moment in its eventual demise occurred 35 years ago next month, when President Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate and boldly challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” The gate that stood at the barrier between East and West is now freely open to all.
Homesick for Israel Tour
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Sep 3-14, 2023
Experience Israel for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.
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