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Berlin through new eyes: Syrian refugees offer guided tours
by Kirsten Grieshaber
When city guide Firas Zakri takes you on a tour of Berlin, don't expect to see the Brandenburg Gate, the city's famous TV tower or other well-known landmarks of the German capital.
To begin with, Zakri doesn't even meet the groups he guides in Berlin's touristy Mitte district. Instead, his starting point is a shady street corner in a bustling immigrant neighborhood. Here, standing between gritty pawn shops and greasy kebab stores, the 34-year-old Syrian refugee introduces you to his own, very personal version of Berlin.
Zakri is one of four refugee guides with "querstadtein," or "cross-city," a nonprofit that initially started off offering tours of Berlin led by formerly homeless people. This year, reacting to the large number of migrants who came to Germany in 2015, the group added asylum seekers to its team and created a new refugee tour that features refugee shelters, Syrian restaurants and other relevant sights.
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