In the beginning of the 13th century, two towns (Berlin and Cölln) developed on each side of the river Spree (today the Nikolaiviertel and the quarter next to it beyond the river).As the population grew, the towns merged and Berlin became a centre for commerce and agriculture.This area stayed small (about 10,000 inhabitants) up to the late 17th century, because of the 30 years' war in the beginning of the 17th century, which led to death of about half of the population.
East (Lichtenberg, Hohenschönhausen, Marzahn, Hellersdorf)The museum at the site of the 1945 surrender to the Soviet army is of interest, as well as the former Stasi prison, an essential visit for anyone interested in East German history.
Marzahn-Hellersdorf has a not entirely deserved reputation for being a vast collection of dull high-rise apartment blocks, as it contains the "Gardens of the World", a large park where various ethnic styles of garden design are explored.
The wall had 45,000 sections of reinforced concrete and included 79 miles of fencing, nearly 300 watchtowers and 250 guard dogs. Mitte (Mitte)The historical centre of Berlin, the nucleus of the former East Berlin, and the emerging city centre.
Cafes, restaurants, museums, galleries and clubs are abundant throughout the district, along with many sites of historic interest.
North (Spandau, Tegel, Reinickendorf, Pankow, Weißensee, Gesundbrunnen, Wedding)Spandau and Reinickendorf are beautiful old towns which feel much more spacious than the inner city.
Pankow was once synonymous with the East German government, and the villas the SED leaders inhabited still exist.
East Central (Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg)Associated with the left wing youth culture, artists and Turkish immigrants, this district is somewhat noisier than most, packed with lots of cafes, bars, clubs and trendy shops, but also with some museums in Kreuzberg near the border to Mitte.
These districts are undergoing gentrification as they are popular with students, artists and media professionals alike.
The district also contains the Charlottenburg Palace, Kulturforum, Tiergarten and the Olympic Stadium.
Schöneberg is generally a cozy area for ageing hippies, young families and LGBT people.
It was built after the Acropolis in Athens and was completed in 1799 as the royal city-gate.