Walk along the Berlin Wall

Walk along the Berlin Wall
Join the walk at the Berlin Wall

To this day, the Berlin Wall remains one of the most powerful symbols of the Cold War. On the 13th of August 1961, the Communist government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) began to build the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin. The official purpose of the Berlin Wall was to keep Western from entering the GDR, but its primary objective was to stop citizens leaving. The Berlin Wall stood until the 9th of November 1989, when the head of the Communist Party announced that citizens of the GDR could cross the border. 


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Checkpoint Charlie


Checkpoint Charlie is located on the corner of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße, in the center of Berlin. At this point of the Berlin Wall, guards had to register the crossing of American, British and French before they travelled to East Berlin. Today it is only a reminder of the former border crossing.

Walk along the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall at Checkpoint Charlie


The barrier and checkpoint booth, the flag and the sandbags are all based on the original site. It is not a hidden gem, but a sight nearly every tourist visits, and a popular subject for photos. You might also know it from movies like the James Bond classic Octopussy.


The name comes from the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie). Checkpoint Charlie was the third checkpoint opened by the Allies in and around Berlin; the crossing point at Helmstedt-Marienborn was named Alpha and Dreilinden-Drewitz Bravo.


Checkpoint Charlie, Friedrichstraße 43–45, 10969 Berlin (Mitte), Station: U6 Kochstraße/Checkpoint Charlie

pic by Daniel Kessler


Close by and also interesting to visit: Wall Museum, Quartier Schützenstraße and Café Westberlin

Walk along the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall at Topographie des Terrors

Topographie des Terrors


The Topography of Terrors is an outdoor and indoor history museum. It is located in the Niederkirchnerstraße, which also marked the border between Berlin-Mitte (East Berlin) and Kreuzberg (West Berlin) until 1989. Here you can find remains of the Berlin Wall. Behind the Berlin wall you can visit the permanent exhibition of the museum, a site on which the most important institutions of the National Socialist persecution and terror apparatus were located between 1933 and 1945.


Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963 Berlin (Mitte), www.topographie.de, Station: U2, S1, S2, S25 Potsdamer Platz, daily 10:00–20:00


Close by: Gropius Bau and Restaurant Beba

pic by Uwe Bellm

Walk along the Berlin Wall
Berlin watch tower in Berlin Mitte

GDR Watch Tower


This border tower, found close to Potsdamer Platz, is the oldest relic of the Berlin Wall. Climb up the tower to see the view of a GDR soldier, just as the border guards used to when Berlin was divided into East and West.


The first watchtowers were made of wood. From 1966 onward, towers would be constructed from concrete, with a round central column and a pulpit. The watchtower BT6 is made of six rings, and was constructed in 1971. It was manned by two border guards at all times, who were given strict orders to shoot on sight. Later, this tower would also be used to watch the grounds of the Ministries’ House. Over 300 of these towers were built along the Berlin Wall, and this is the last of its kind to survive.


The tower might disappear, a construction site appearing in its place. So visit it as soon as possible, just to make sure to actually see it.


Erna-Berger-Straße, 10117 Berlin (Mitte), www.berlinwallexpo.de, Station: U2, S1, S2, S25 Potsdamer Platz, in summer daily 11:00–17:00, closed when it rains


Close by: Potsdamer Platz

pic by Daniel Kessler


Walk along the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall at Brandenburger Gate

Brandenburger Tor


In times of German division, the gate was on the East Berlin side. On the west side beyond the Wall were viewing platforms where you could look over the Wall. Pariser Platz on the east side was a restricted area. It was not until the fall of the Wall in 1989 that the Brandenburg Gate was officially reopened and has been open to visitors from all over the world ever since. Until 2002, it was even possible to drive through the Brandenburg Gate by car or bus. In former times only the kings and queens were allowed to cross the middle lane, which is bigger than the others in order to accommodate carriages.


Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin (Mitte)


Close by: Tiergarten, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and Art Canteen @AdK - Pariser Platz

pic by Daniel Kessler


Walk along the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall at Parliament of Trees

Parliament of Trees


The Parliament of Trees displays 16 trees for 16 federal states and is a memorial site against violence and war, a symbol of the German unity (from East and West Germany). This site is actually an unconventional garden in the middle of Berlin. Its bench is not for relaxing but for taking a look at the irregularly sized granite slabs by the pathway and a painted wall.


The artist and environmental activist Ben Wagin created it on the former border strip of the Berlin Wall in 1990. Wagin secured parts of the Wall that follow its original route. A total of 58 authentic parts of the Wall were used and given an artistic treatment. The granite slabs list the names of the 258 victims of the Wall. The number of those who died at the internal German border is listed for each year from the construction of the Wall until its fall.


The Parliament of Trees is located on the eastern bank of the Spree River, across from the Reichstag, and is accessible from Schiffbauerdamm, 10117 Berlin (Mitte), daily 9:00–18:00


Walk along the Berlin Wall
Check-in hall from the Berlin Wall

Palace of Tears


Until 1990, the Tränenpalast served the GDR government as a check-in hall for people leaving East Berlin for West Berlin. It is located next to the railway station Friedrichstraße, just in front of the river Spree. Like hardly any other place, the pavilion reminds me of the division of Germany and the fates associated with it. Many had to say goodbye to friends and relatives here. Today, a permanent exhibition telling the personal stories of people, who had to cross the border can be seen. With original objects, documents, films and interviews with contemporary witnesses, it illustrates life in the face of division and the border. Admission is free.


Reichstagufer 17, 10117 Berlin (Mitte), www.hdg.de/traenenpalast, Station: U6, S1, S2, S5, S7, S9, S25 Friedrichstraße, Tue–Fr 9:00–18:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–18:00


Close by: House of Small Wonder Berlin, Zenkichi and Boros Bunker

pic by Daniel Kessler


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