The first records of Berlin make reference to the city as a powerful trading center in the 13th century. Although a consistently prosperous city, it has an especially troubled recent history. As the capital of Germany, it was the center of power for Hitler's Nazi movement and immediately following the war it found itself on the front line of the cold war.
After reunification, the city has seen much prosperity and now home to skyscrapers and trendy clubs. Berlin now markets itself as the creative and cool capital of Europe.
Although much of Berlin is new, the city is not trying to forget the past. Along Berlin's famous shopping mile, Kurfürstendamm (locally known as Ku'damm), the bombed out remains of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church still stand - a reminder to a more troubled past.
The division of east and west is becoming less and less obvious in Berlin today, but remnants still remain that show the stark differences between the two former states. None the less, the city has been reborn, and is reinventing itself as it has done so many times in the past.
Berlin has a temperate climate, with a mean annual temperature of around 50F (10C). The warmest months are June, July and August where a top temperature of around 75F (24C) can be expected. Winters in Berlin are normally cold and often snowy with temperatures usually lingering around the freezing point.
Berlin is easy to reach from most European cities, and even many international destinations through the emergence of budget airlines such as Air Berlin.
The city has two commercial airports. Tegel International Airport (TXL) lies within the city itself, and can be reached quickly and easily with city public transport. Schönefeld International Airport (SXF) is however situated just outside the cities borders in the state of Brandenburg, although there are similarly good public transport links to the city from this airport as well.
Public transport in Berlin is clean, on time, and reasonably cheap. Through an extensive network of U-Bahns, S-Bahns, Trams and Buses, almost anywhere in the city can be reached quickly and easily.