Lichtenberg is the eleventh borough of Berlin. The borough has a rather dark history – it was here that one would find the giant headquarters of the Stasi, the East German intelligence service, the main office of the Soviet Military Administration in Berlin during the time of the Cold War, prior to the formation of the GDR, when the Berlin Wall still stood. The complex is now, however, the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst. The former remand prison used by the Stasi is also found in this district and it now commemorates the events of the past as the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial. The political prison was not stormed by demonstrators after the fall of the Berlin Wall as were many other institutions so prison authorities were able to destroy records of what had gone on there. Much of our knowledge therefore comes from eye-witness accounts. The prison was depicted in the 2006 film, ‘The Lives of Others’.

While the area’s past remains a strong part of its identity, this district is also known for its zoo, the Berlin Tiergarten, the larger of Berlin’s two zoos. This zoo was founded in 1955 of the former grounds of Friedrichsfelde Palace, which is located within the zoo. The zoo houses over 7000 animals of nearly 850 different species. It complements the other Berlin Zoo, over to the west. The zoo participates in a number of breeding programmes and it helps schemes to reintroduce animals to their natural environments. An elephant breeding programme was one for which the zoo became relatively well known in recent years. Aside from the Tiergarten, this borough is also well known as an emerging centre for Asian culture in Berlin. It is often called the eastern Asiatown or Chinatown of the city.

There are several places to stay in this borough, here are some of the options.

Abacus Tierpark Hotel: As the name would suggest this hotel is directly beside the Friedrichsfelde Zoo. This is a four star establishment with two hundred and seventy eight large rooms on offer. In house you will find a good restaurant and a full wellness and fitness suite amongst the other amenities.

Andel’s Hotel Berlin: With 557 rooms covering an area of 3800sqm this hotel is the biggest conference and congress hotel in the whole capital. The Sky Cafe and Sky Bar which are found on the 12th and 14th floors give outstanding views over the city.

Aga’s Hotel: Aga is the Persian name for King’s Palace and here the hosts aim to make you feel like a King. This is a great, relaxing place to charge your batteries during a stay in the city, with plush, comfortable rooms and a welcoming, multilingual staff.

Comfort Hotel Lichtenberg: This is a no-smoking hotel in north east Berlin. You can get from this comfort hotel easily and quickly into the town centre and can get to all the major attractions through nearby public transport options.

NH Berlin – Frankfurter Allee: This four-star hotel is ideally situated close to transport links that will take you into the city centre and around the major attractions of Berlin. You can get to the city centre in fewer than ten minutes. Guest enjoy rooms with modern design and a welcoming atmosphere.

Kolumbus: Guests can stay in a relaxing and modern atmosphere in this three star hotel in north-east Berlin. The restaurant here serves a delicious range of German and international cuisine. It is easy to get from here to all of the main city centre attractions.

Hotel Alte Feuerwache: This three star hotel is located within an old fire station that was built in 1912. It is just a few minutes walk from the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial and 7.6km from the city centre of Berlin. It is in a quiet, lakeside location.

Hotel Pension Victoria: Located in the quiet Victoriacity area of the borough, this guesthouse hotel is cosy, convenient and comfortable. It does of course have excellent transport links within a short walk and as a guest of the house you will also get a discount at a local bike here place.

Hotel Pension Adamshof: This very affordable option is close to the two railway stations Noeldnerplatz and Hauptbahnhof. Rooms are basic but comfortable and there are friendly German and Russian speaking staff here.

Hotel Nova: This hotel is two minutes walk from the nearest metro station and 6.3km from Alexanderplatz. It has simple contemporary style decoration in its colourful rooms, some of which feature separate seating areas.

Hotel Siegfriedshof: This hotel is close to the sights of the former Stasi headquarters and Memorial Stasi Prison. This is a concept loft hotel with overall design and a style that blends the modern with the traditional. This is a three star hotel with all the level of comfort and amenities that you would expect with that.

Georghof Hotel Berlin: Close to the Frankfurter Allee train station, this hotel is close to the centre of the action and yet offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is relaxing retreat, rooms decorated in the 19th Century Biedemeier Style.

Holi-Berlin Hotel: This hotel has affordable rooms in a leafy and quiet section of this borough, yet it is yet again easy to get from here to where it is all happening. This place has a green and tranquil beer garden, a cosy lobby and a restaurant with a fireplace.

TRYP by Wyndham Berlin City East: Part of the TRYP chain of hotels, this conveniently located hotel in the Lichtenberg borough has a sauna and solarium for relaxation as well as many other amenities. The hotel is close to public transport but also offers free parking if you have brought your own vehicle.

This is a great borough in which to stay if you wish to be close to the action and yet in a slightly less crowded area. This is the borough to visit if you wish to explore the fascinating history of the Stasi and East Germany in general.