Mitte, literally meaning “the middle” and being a contraction of Stadtmitte (city center), contains the historical heart of Berlin and represents in many ways the absolute center of the city.
It is here that you will find the vast majority of the most famous sights.
“Mitte” can refer both to a larger district (Bezirk) and its smaller borough (Ortsteil), which was a separate district until 2001 when the administrative division of Berlin changed.
This guide focuses on the smaller Ortsteil Mitte and the Ortsteil Tiergarten, both of which belong to Bezirk Mitte.
Tiergarten is the borough extending northwest from the Zoologischer Garten train station, taking its name from the large park that covers most of its area, which takes its name from the world’s oldest zoo in its southern end close to the train station.
There are many different little neighborhoods of varying characters on the park’s outskirts, detached from each other by the park.
For other Ortsteile contained within the present-day Bezirk Mitte see Berlin/City West (Moabit and Hansaviertel) and Berlin/East Central (Wedding and Gesundbrunnen).
The border between the Ortsteile Mitte and Tiergarten runs right across the Potsdamer Platz. Most of the buildings and institutions described here are actually in Tiergarten. Still, to make this guide more valuable, they are told along with the others that fall in Mitte proper. For points of interest lying further West, see Berlin/City West.