Berlin: A City With History | Verve Magazine
India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
June 07, 2014

Berlin: A City With History

Text by Rouble Nagi. Illustration by Rahul Das

Artistic muralist Rouble Nagi describes why she picks Berlin as the city she would love to visit and revisit

“Berlin is a city with so many layers of history: everywhere you go there are reminders, and evidence, of world-changing events both past and recent, so there is always something to reflect on; and that gives an extraordinary depth and density to the experience of being there. One never feels one has to be impressed all the time, as one does in Paris and Venice. Berlin has a lot of character as a city, add some of the finest museums and collections in the world, and the huge open green spaces of the Tiergarten and the Grunewald: what more can you ask for of a city?”

Why I think it is a cool city
What makes Berlin cool is that somehow they have managed to make its culture its primary industry. It’s an extremely culture rich, extremely international city. There is sort of a cross pollination between film and fashion, of music, high art and the club culture has been one of the keys to Berlin’s rise on the hipster metre.

Its visual/art appeal
In Berlin one of my favourite activities is visiting the East Side Gallery which is along the Spree River. It’s an open air gallery including one of the longest remaining sections of the Berlin Wall. You can see murals and graffiti by more than 100 artists from all over the world. I am a sucker for good architecture, the dome of the Reichstag building is a must visit; its design feels like an installation in itself, the view from the top is simply amazing.

Where to stay
I have never lived anywhere but the Hotel Adlon Kempinski. It’s got the best location I feel right on Pariser Platz. I insist on a room with views of the Brandenburg Gate. The hotel has some fantastic restaurants and the spa is made for bliss.

Food fiesta
Food is a very personal matter. I have two restaurants that I frequent every time I am in the city, the first being Borchardt which was introduced to me by a German artist. It’s an institution by itself and the schnitzel here is superb. It’s located in the heart of the city, perfect if you need a light lunch to break up the sightseeing. My second most favourite eatery is the Royal Grill. I love a good steak and they have the best cuts sourced from all over the world. And how can I forget to mention that I once saw George Clooney dining here; now that makes it even better doesn’t it! I wouldn’t underestimate their vegetarian dishes either.

A shopper’s paradise
Just walk down Kurfürstendamm and the stores become more elegant and exclusive. Amongst the luxurious hotels, restaurants and cafés are display windows for international designers and labels including Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Bally, Valentino – just name it you have it. You can spend a day here shopping and sipping coffee, it’s really wonderful.

Art and culture
Berlin’s art scene is fantastic; creatives are making real investments in the city to transform its unusual spaces. Right from street art, galleries to public art one can never get bored in this city. Museums are in abundance, the Museum Island is a must visit. The people and surroundings are just the best. The Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the Cultures of the World), is a place to visit for all artists. It presents art exhibitions, theatre and dance performances, concerts, author readings, films and much more. It’s a place where I can spend a complete day.

Award-winning artist Rouble Nagi is looking forward to exhibiting in New Delhi this year. Her solo exhibition Strokes of Strength showed in the capital last year and the Tree of Life installation was unveiled in Mumbai in 2013.

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