Berlin is one of the iconic capitals of Europe. With that title come a few characteristics: These cities are big, full of tourists, and full of history. And it’s the latter, the way this history expresses itself, that makes the character of a place like Berlin come to the surface for us to observe.
Here’s a term I really like: Historical weight. I couldn’t find an official definition so I don’t think it’s an academic term (yet!), but I like to explain it like this: Historical weight is the feeling that creeps up on you at places where the past gets right up against the present. It can manifest itself mentally, a feeling of awe, but also physically, your throat tightens, something heavy keeps you locked in place for a second (hence ‘weight’). Usually, this feeling of historicity is evoked by the presence of old things (architecture or historical art). The Colosseum or the Louvre may be two of the more obvious places that make you feel connected to the people and places of the past, and there are many like it. But in Berlin, there’s more to it than just “old things”.