GUEST POST OVERVIEW: One of my favorite European vacations was a solo-backpacking adventure to Germany. Though I spent most of my time in Bavaria, I was extremely interested in the culture of Berlin. So, that’s what Aleix is going to talk about in this week’s guest post.


Berlin is one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities, with people from all over the world living in the city. Every year, the Carnival of Cultures is a party that brings the best from all the cultures in the city for everyone to enjoy, with a festive atmosphere with the unique essence of the city.

image002Anyone who has been to Berlin will tell you that there’s something different about the city, something that makes it unique and incomparable to any other European capital. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the beautiful streets of Paris or the weather and the beaches of Barcelona.

That said, Berlin has something intangible that makes it so great and special that visiting the city will result in an experience that we won’t forget, no matter how many times we’ve been there before, since it always has something new to offer.

If we are planning on renting Berlin apartments in the month of May, we cannot miss out on the Carnival of Cultures, Karneval der Kulturen in German. Berlin has 3.4 million citizens, of which circa 450,000 don’t have German heritage. Berlin is a wonderful mix of cultures, with a large Turkish community in the city, especially in Kreuzberg, and other cultures that have been arriving to the city throughout the last few decades. An important factor here is to remember that Berlin was a divided city until roughly 20 years ago.

Checkpoint Charlie has become one of Berlin's most famous tourist attractions
Checkpoint Charlie has become one of Berlin’s most famous tourist attractions

West Berlin and East Berlin couldn’t be more different and when the Wall came down, they suddenly found themselves as one, and the economy suffered. This meant that a lot of political, social and economical problems rose in Berlin and this caused a lot of trouble and conflicts in the city and, of course, the subject of immigration was in the spotlight, with the immigrants suffering at the hands of those who believed that they were the cause of all of this.

In the 90s, Berlin, Germany, drew in a highly cultural population, with many artists arriving in the city that was starting to experience a new cultural and social era. With this came a new mentality and, in 1996, Berlin organized its first ever Carnival of Cultures, a carnival that was there to celebrate the richness of Berlin’s different cultures, bringing the best and most festive sides of each culture that lived in the city.

The different parades bring performers dressed in attire typical from their country and also traditional music. In 1997, 50,000 visitors came to see the parade, a number that rose to 1.36 million in 2011. The Carnival is a celebration of culture, of tradition, of pride in one’s folklore and how Berlin embraces it all, forcing out those who believe in the idea of a ruling culture, a problem which has occurred in the past in German history and which the Germans do not want to experience again. Berlin is now one of the most contemporary and liberal cities in the world, and many other cities in Europe could learn from it.

karneval1In the 80s, then Berlin Mayor Richard von Weizsäcker proposed for an institution that was open to all cultural, religious and social communities in Berlin. The Werkstatt der Kulturen (WdK) was created, and they are the ones behind the Carnival every year and they are the ones who promote events of such a kind. The Carnival is obviously free and can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from the youngest ones to the oldest ones, who can enjoy the best from each culture, not only the parades and the colourful performances but also the food markets, bringing the best traditional food from all over the world.

What a wonderful city it is. The liberal and contemporary capital of Europe keeps on bringing events that promote all the positive values that mankind should have, so make sure you’re part of it when you rent apartments in Berlin. The Carnival of Cultures is a great way to have fun and learn from other cultures that will no doubt make us all the better for it.


Lover of Life Travelpod Page 


About the Author: Aleix Gwilliam is a 24 year old from Barcelona who looks English but thinks like a Catalan. He enjoys travelling, especially on old Czech trains, and trying to start conversations in Hungarian with people at Pecs station, even though his Hungarian is as good as his Bulgarian, in other words, not very good. He’s a trier.