Where to See and Touch the Wall
Somewhere is the east and somewhere is the west. If you just go for the directions it is no problem to navigate in Berlin. It is much more difficult – or even: impossible – to find the border from the time of political separation. The wall that separated the East and West meandered through the city, it was not just a demarcation line, and the more the city develops the less of those traces you will find.
However, they have kept some pieces of the Wall as a part of living history. Some are protected by a fence, like at the Topography of Terror (Topographie des Terrors), between Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie, so tourists and locals cannot carry the blocks and concrete pieces away as souvenirs, or sell them like they once sold “Berliner Luft in Dosen”, tinned Berlin Air.
This stretch is a great reminder of the past, and if you are fit you can even make a longer walk, from Checkpoint Charlie past Gropius-Bau, Potsdamer Platz, Holocaust Memorial, and Brandenburger Tor, to Bahnhof Friedrichstraße. At times, you find the position of the Wall marked by cobble stones embedded in the pavement. Incredible how it separated the city and people, and how close it was to huge buildings. At Gropius-Bau you could not use the main entrance, and it went right past Brandenburger Tor and Reichstag. Former neighbours on the opposite street sides were suddenly separated by a wall, barbed wire and land mines – in fact, by worlds.
Whereas this area is very lively and buzzling with tourists, the atmosphere along the Wall near Ostbahnhof is still rather sombre because building in those empty wastelands has just started. The Wall, however, is spectacular there. Well-known artists have used the concrete slabs as canvasses for fabulous paintings, some are fading, some have been repainted and restored. It is a kilometre-long stretch of wall, called Eastside Gallery, following the line of the river Spree from the former checkpoint Oberbaumbrücke to Ostbahnhof.
Next to Checkpoint Charlie you can visit the Mauermuseum. -
From another tip (Mauermarkierung and more Traces of the Wall):
(formerly I did not have enough space here... now it is possible thanks to a VT update)
The Wall markings (Mauermarkierung) in Zimmerstraße near Checkpoint Charlie are close to being fun. You put one foot on the east side of the marking and one foot to the west, and somehow you cannot imagine what happened there.
If you want to get depressed go to Bernauer Straße (U-Bahn station of U 8; Bernauer Straße 111, 13355 Berlin-Mitte) which separtes the suburbs of Mitte (east) and Wedding (west).
Since 1998 there is a memorial site at the corner with Ackerstraße, and a Dokumentationszentrum Berliner Mauer.
Another incredibly distasteful site of the Wall is Invalidenfriedhof, north of Hauptbahnhof.
Near Brandenburger Tor you will find an installation of trees, memorial stones and border segments as the reminder of the Wall and the people who died here.
Read more info about this list of traces of the Wall here in another tip.
Photo of Mauermarkierung near Checkpoint Charlie in the original tip.