Berlin (German Berlin [bɛɐ̯ˈliːn], pronunciation (inf.)) is the capital and largest city of Germany, the first in terms of population and the fourth largest city in the European Union.
It is one of the 16 states within Germany and is entirely located within the federal state of Brandenburg. The city is located on the banks of the rivers:
Spree (in connection with which it is called "Athens on the Spree"),
Havel in the center of the federal state of Brandenburg (Berlin has not been part of the latter since 1920).
Around 1200, on the site of modern Berlin, there were two trading settlements - Cologne and Berlin. The exact date of their receipt of city rights is unknown. The city rights of Cologne are first mentioned in 1237, the city rights of Berlin in 1244. In 1307, the cities united and formed a common city government. In 1400, the population of the united Berlin was 8,000 people. The historical name "Kölln" is reflected in the name of the Berlin district of Neukölln.
Berlin was the capital of the Margraviate / Elector of Brandenburg (since 1417), Prussia (after the unification of the Elector of Brandenburg with the Duchy of Prussia) and after the creation of the German Empire became its capital.
After the Second World War, in accordance with the decisions of the Yalta Conference, Berlin, located on the territory of the Soviet zone of occupation of Germany, was divided by the four victorious powers into occupation sectors. Later, the three sectors of occupation of the allies were transformed into West Berlin, which received the status of a special (albeit closely related to the FRG) state entity. Movement between the sectors of Berlin remained relatively free for a long time, and in order to prevent the outflow of the population to the western sectors, the government of the GDR decided to build the Berlin Wall, which surrounded West Berlin on August 13, 1961. It became one of the main symbols of the Cold War and was only demolished in 1989. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the reunified Berlin became its capital. In accordance with the decision of the Bundestag of June 20, 1991, in 1999 the Parliament and the Government of Germany also moved to Berlin.
Today Berlin is a world cultural and tourist center, as well as a major European transport hub. Universities, research institutes and museums in Berlin are known all over the world.