The core of Berlin lies in the Ice Age Warsaw-Berlin glacial valley, which the Spree uses up to its confluence with the Havel, at a narrow point where dry valley islands enable the transition between the base moraine plates of the Barnim and the Teltow. The basement moraine plates are criss-crossed by valleys that were created by meltwater from the Vistula Ice Age owe. Narrow channel lakes (e.g. the Grunewald lakes) and small ponds have been preserved in them. In the west are the broad, north-south extending Havel lakes. Großer Müggelsee (743 ha) and Langer See (290 ha) in the south-east, Tegeler See (384 ha) in the north-west and Großer Wannsee (276 ha) in the south-west are the largest lakes in the urban area, which is also rich in groundwater, the extensive forests, mainly pine and Mixed forests (including the Grunewald with around 3,000 hectares).
The highest natural elevations are in the Ice Age reservoirs and terminal moraines (e.g. Müggelberge 115 m, Schäferberg 103 m, Havelberg 97 m, Kreuzberg 66 m above sea level).
Of the area of Berlin at the end of 2017, 55.3% were settlement areas, 15.2% traffic areas, 17.7% forests, 6.6% water areas, 4.1% agricultural areas, 1.1% areas for other uses. The green areas include the zoological garden and the Friedrichsfelde zoo.
Climate: With an average annual temperature of + 9.6 ° C, monthly average temperatures between + 19.1 ° C (July) and – 2.0 ° C (January) and an average annual precipitation of 588 mm, which is at a summer maximum Spread over the whole year, Berlin has an oceanic, at times continentally influenced, healthy climate.
Administrative and cultural institutions
Berlin is the seat of the Bishop of the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia, a Catholic Archbishop, the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Berlin and Germany and the Bulgarian Orthodox Bishop of Western and Central Europe. Berlin has been the official seat of the Federal President (Schloss Bellevue) since the beginning of 1994, of the Federal Government and Bundestag since 1999 and of the Federal Council since 2000. Berlin is the seat of many supraregional authorities and institutions under public law as well as numerous associations at the federal level: Federal Association of German Employers’ Associations, German Trade Union Federation, German Medical Association and others.
Of the libraries, the State Library of Berlin – Prussian Cultural Heritage is the largest academic universal library in Germany and the Central and State Library Berlin is the largest public library in Germany; the libraries of the Technical University and the University of the Arts, the Humboldt University and the Free University are also important University as well as that of the Ibero-American Institute of Prussian Cultural Heritage. Berlin has two planetariums (Zeiss-Großplanetarium, Planetarium am Insulaner) and two observatories (Wilhelm-Foerster-, Archenhold-Sternwarte).
The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra has an important international reputation. Berlin proves itself as a theater city through the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (2010–17 completely renovated), the Komische Oper Berlin, the Deutsche Theater (with chamber plays), the Berliner Ensemble (Theater am Schiffbauerdamm), the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, the Maxim-Gorki-Theater, the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, the HAU Hebbel am Ufer (free theater; one of the three venues is the former Hebbel-Theater), the GRIPS Theater (Youth theater) as well as the theater and comedy on Kurfürstendamm (from mid-2008 in the Schiller Theater), the Renaissance theater, the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin (revue and variety theater), the Theater des Westens (especially for musicals) and numerous cabaret stages. The Staatsballett Berlin was formed in 2004 from the ballet ensembles of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Komische Oper Berlin and has been based at the Deutsche Oper Berlin since 2011.
The annual »Berliner Festspiele« show current developments in the fields of music, theater, dance and literature as part of international festivals and program series (MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues, Theatertreffen, Musikfest Berlin, international literature festival berlin, Jazzfest Berlin, immersion, circus); they are also (co-) organizers of exhibitions. Another important cultural event is the International Film Festival (Berlinale).
There are more than 175 museums in Berlin (including the New Museum with Egyptian Museum, Papyrus Collection and Museum of Prehistory and Early History; Pergamon Museum [partly closed since 2014 due to renovation work] with antiquities collection, Vorderasiatisches Museum and Museum für Islamische Kunst; Sculpture Collection and Museum of Byzantine Art in the Bode Museum; Museum of European Cultures; Picture gallery; Old National Gallery; New National Gallery; Decorative Arts Museum at the Kulturforum and in Köpenick Castle; Kupferstichkabinett; Berlinische Galerie – State Museum for Modern Art, Photography and Architecture; Schloss Charlottenburg; German Historical Museum; German Museum of Technology; Museum of Natural Science; Märkisches Museum; Bridge museum; Bauhaus Archive; Jewish Museum Berlin; Martin Gropius Building; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum of the Present; Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge; Bröhan Museum – State Museum for Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Functionalism; DDR Museum; House at Checkpoint Charlie [Wall Museum].