One year Ruth & I got what looked like a good travel deal that included 2 destinations. We had been to Austria’s Vienna but never to Germany’s Berlin. The trip began promising enough. We were traveling on Austrian Airlines and paid for an upgrade that put us in business class for the trip over the Atlantic Ocean. But then disaster struck. Ruth broke her wrist in a fall in a museum in Vienna. As it turned out, the airline that took us there was no help. They refused to let us cancel the Berlin part of the trip, so we decided to go there anyway where I pushed Ruth around in a wheelchair. What we did learn as a result of this misfortune is that Berlin has lots of interesting attractions like a major Holocaust museum and is probably the most common town name on Planet Earth.
Many German’s in Berlin in the late 19th century left and settled in places that they named after their first home. The number of Berlins exploded. But then World War I happened and many of those who had left Germany were uncomfortable living in new towns named Berlin. Many of them changed the name of their new towns. Nevertheless, there are still at least 72 places in the world named Berlin. The USA is especially filled with Berlins since 15% of its overall population is of German extraction.
There are at least 26 Berlins among the 50 states, but most of them have remained very small. The largest one is a town of slightly more than 10,000 people in New Hampshire. The 2nd largest Berlin is in New Jersey with about 7,500 people. Ohio reportedly has the most Berlins.
According to website geotargit that spends its time documenting geographic names and locations, Berlins are widespread. There are towns or areas in places like Ecuador, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Sweden, Bolivia, and 6 other countries named Berlin. There are or were 5 Berlin’s in Venezuela and 17 of them in South America’s Columbia. Some of these towns also have another name probably because of Germany’s bellicose past.
The most interesting town to me with Berlin as a 2nd name is the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia. I had never heard of this city until I began doing research on towns named Berlin and was shocked to learn that it has been around for more than 250 years, is approximately 1/3 the size of the main Berlin in Germany that was divided after World War II, and that Chelyabinsk is now Russia’s 7th largest city. It has had problems with industrial pollution and made the international news in 2013 when a meteor literally exploded over it one morning before sunrise. It created a major sun-like flash and a shock wave that injured more than 1,200 people. Hopefully, none of them broke their wrists.