Berlin (inhabited place)

The city of Berlin, coextensive with the state of Berlin, lies on both sides of the Spree River in its wide glacial valley in the center of unified Germany. Comprises 12 bezirke (boroughs), each of which contains a number of localities that may have historic roots in older municipalities that predate the formation of Greater Berlin in 1920. The area was originally two Wendish villages, Kölln and Berlin, were founded there in the 13th century, merged in the 14th century, and was named Berlin by the Hohenzollerns. It as strategically located at the center of the canal system of the Oder and Spree Rivers. Severely damaged in World War II; after the war, was divided into four occupation zones, each governed by one of the Allies. The Soviet-ruled East Berlin, together with the rest of East Germany, and West Berlin, a western enclave within East Germany, were governed separately from 1949. A concrete wall physically divided the city in 1961. The Berlin Wall and the political separation of the two parts of the city ended in 1989 as the communist eastern government collapsed. In 1990 the united Berlin became once again the capital of a united Germany. The largest city in Germany, its 2011 estimated population was 3.5 million.