Feature

Getting the flavor of ... Berlin, 20 years later

If Berlin still seems “divided” today, it’s in a much more benign way.

Berlin, 20 years laterThis year marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, said Chris Moss in Time Out Berlin. Much has changed since November 1989, when the wall separating East and West Berlin came tumbling down. If Germany’s largest metropolis still seems “divided” today, it’s in a much more benign way. A “rush of capital into the city” has turned West Berlin into a kind of “über-Frankfurt,” crammed with “retail, finance, and aspiration.” East Berlin, on the other hand, has been revitalized by young families and hip little restaurants and bars. Together these elements have turned Prenzlauer Berg, a former working-class tenement zone, into “one of the city’s coolest districts.” To commemorate the anniversary, 100 local artists are repainting the East Side Gallery, a nearly mile-long stretch of the wall that still stands along the Mühlenstrasse. The Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse features a museum, a Documentation Center, and a Chapel of Reconciliation.Contact: Visitberlin.de/index.en.php

Uzbekistan’s ancient historyIt was a James Elroy Flecker poem, “The Golden Road to Samarkand,” that drew me to Uzbekistan’s oldest city, said Ian Williams in National Geographic Traveler. In 1913, the British foreign officer wrote, “For lust of knowing what should not be known / We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.” Founded more than 2,750 years ago, Samarkand is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. The name alone evokes “exotic sights and experiences.” Alexander the Great conquered the city in 329 B.C., and Genghis Khan seized control in A.D. 1220. Its sister city, Bukhara, has also “long been a source of wonder,” attracting visitors to its central citadel—the Ark of Bukhara—and the Magok-i-Attari mosque. “Adorned with elaborate complexes of turquoise-domed mosques, mosaic-filled mausoleums, and celebrated madrasas,” both cities are UNESCO World Heritage sites—seemingly enchanted oases on the edge of the vast Karakum Desert.Contact: Visit-uzbekistan.com

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