In the early 20th century, in the 1920s and 1930s, Potsdamer Platz – at the heart of Berlin – was the junction with the most traffic in Europe. During the Second World War almost every building was destroyed, and for almost four decades Potsdamer Platz was a wasteland. After the Wall went up in 1961, Potsdamer Platz became part of the "Death Strip" between East and West Berlin. It was not until after the Wall came down in 1989, that this location turned into Europe’s largest construction site. Meanwhile it has been transformed into a singularly modern city district. Of the historical buildings, only one wing of the Grand Hotel Esplanade has survived at the Sony Center, while Weinhaus Huth is all that remains within the Daimler Chrysler Quarter.
Today’s Potsdamer Platz consists of two large areas that are separated by Potsdamer Straße: to the south, there is the Daimler Chrysler Quarter (opened in 1998), and across from it, the Sony Center (opened in 2000). The entire place has evolved into a lively urban landscape of its own: besides one of Berlin’s most modern shopping malls, visitors encounter a large variety of restaurants, cafés and bars, as well as movie theaters and a musical theater. West of Potsdamer Platz, right nearby, is the Kulturforum (Cultural Forum) with its Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery, opened in 1998), the Philharmonie (Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall) and the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery).
The Sony Center, at the heart of new Berlin, is one of the most remarkable spots in the capital. Imposing offices,elegant apartments, excellent eating places, shops, entertainment and culture of the highest international ranking encircle a lively open public space, the sky-lit Forum.