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Berlin FAQ

How old is Berlin?

Berlin is generally thought to have been founded sometime in the 13th century AD, although the exact date is unknown. The first written mention of Berlin (or more precisely its then neighbouring village of Cölln, which was since merged into Berlin) was in 1237, and this is the year generally taken as the date of Berlin's founding.

In 1987 Berlin celebrated its 750th anniversary, with separate events in East and West Berlin.

What is the best ice-cream shop in Berlin?
Without doubt Kleine Eiszeit in Prenzlauer Berg.
What is the tallest building in Berlin?
The Television Tower (Fernsehturm), which is also the second tallest building in Europe.
What is the longest U-Bahn line in Berlin?
The U7, which runs for 31.8 km between Spandau and Rudow.
What is the legal limit for marijuana possession?
Apparently 15 grams in Berlin, though over the border in Brandenburg it's just 6 grams.
Where can I get roads / traffic information for Berlin and the surrounding region?
From the Verkehrsmanagementzentrale (Traffic management centre) site at At the top right there's an option to set the language to English, though not all reports are completely translated.
OMG I've just seen someone sunbathing naked in the park, surely that's illegal!?
Technically it's not entirely legal, but Berlin (as with much of Germany) is a pretty tolerant place, and as long as they're not disturbing anyone, no-one is going to "do anything about it".
Where did David Bowie live in Berlin?
In Schöneberg's Hauptstrasse. Our page Gay Berlin has the full details.
Which Berlin station has a sign from the London Underground?
That would be Wittenbergplatz, on the U2 platform towards Ruhleben.
What happens if I don't have a ticket on the public transport system (U-Bahn, S-Bahn etc.)
The chances are that you'll run into a plain-clothes patrol and end up having to pay a 40 Euro fine. (Murphy's Law dictates that if you have a valid ticket you won't meet any ticket inspectors, but the day you forget your ticket, there they are).
Where can I get free stuff in Berlin?
Check out our Berlin for Free list.
How large is Berlin's Tiergarten?
The Tiergarten is about 210 hectares (about 520 acres) in size. See the Tiergarten page for more information.
What is the Berlin Fence?
The "Berlin Fence" is another, rarely used description for the Berlin Wall.
Where did the Soviet Army (Russian Army) leave graffiti in Berlin?
In the Reichstag. The graffiti has been partially preserved and is visible to visitors.
What is the name of Berlin's river?
Berlin's main river is the Spree.
What's the name of the ruined church in Berlin?
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, in German Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche.
Where can I find English bookstores in Berlin?
Here: Berlin bookstores with English books
What is the capital city of Germany?
This question comes in quite a lot from searchers, so here's the lowdown: Berlin is the capital city of Germany.
What is the name of the big model railway exhibition in Berlin?
The name of the model train show is LOXX Berlin.
Where's the floating hostel?
Berlin's unique hostel-on-a-boat is the Eastern Comfort, moored on the Spree near Schlesisches Tor.
Is there a smoking ban in Berlin?
Not yet, but strict anti-smoking laws will come into force from 2008.