Berlin is the capital of Germany. It lies 44 miles west of the Polish border, and 112 miles south of the Baltic Sea. East and West Berlin were integrated in October of 1990 and renamed simply Berlin, after decades of spearation by the 103-mile-long Berlin Wall (which included the border between West Berlin and East Germany as well). Berlin was made the capital of Germany on April 19, 1999, moving it from Bonn in the western part of Germany.
The Spree River crosses through Berlin, and there are many canals and several lakes, complete with beaches, within Berlin’s city limits as well as parks, the major one being the Tiergarten, and forests, the largest among them being the Grunewald, the Kopenick, the Spandau and the Tegel. In 2001, Berlin was rezoned to be comprised of 12 boroughs (Bezirke).
Berlin’s greatly varied architectural heritage is evidenced in the blending of the new and the old, as with the St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche), the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche) and the Reichstag, the former house of Parliament. Other sights are monuments to its notorious history, as with the Brandenburg Gate and the memorial erected at Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse.
Berlin is accessed by three airports. Tegel airport is 8km from the city, and services international carriers. Schönefeld, 20 km from the city, is for low cost carriers. Tempelhof, just a few km outside the city limits, services flights from with Germany as well as flights coming from the east.