Berlin Wall, Berlin
As Checkpoint Bravo was a border crossing point and this was the time of the cold war with tension on both sides, the East Germans also had to have a similar crossing point which was heavily guarded. Unfortunately most of what was there was demolished on 1993 and has been changed into a business park. But there is a command post which has been turned into a museum with information about the inner border. The museum has limited opening hours between 1100 - 1600 hours on Sundays between May to October. When the museum is closed the area outside is accessible and there are a number of metal information posts in German.
Although the Wall came down in 1989, you can still see the trace of the former boundary along its former route.
The trace is characterized by either different-colored concrete, or a dual line of bricks placed in the ground, with plaques that read "Berliner Mauer 1961-1989" placed periodically along it.
Last year I decided to take a long walk from Bornholmer brucke in the north of berlin to
treptower park in the South. A nice stroll of about 20km....
I can really recommend it. Just follow trail signs, quite an interesting story Berlin tells about.
And if you need solid part of berlin wall check out berlinwallbookend.com, thats genuine stuff.
The Berlin Wall, which divided Germany into two nations (FDR & DDR) was built in 1961 during the peak of coldwar. Check Point Charlie was the main entry/exit point. There were Alpha and Beta check points also. Many people lost their lives while trying to cross over the wall during cold war era. The wall was demolished in 1989. The demolition of the wall later led to unification of Germany.
Today only a small portion of the wall is prserved as a monument.
The perfect place to express the possible solution to the palestinion and israeli conflict, on the berlin wall is a great painting i liked, as well as countless others starting to fade from the weather. they should really protect them, because they are great expression of frustration, hate, and xenophobia that represents the old east-west divide.
Go to Ostbahnhof, and as the workers at the train stop "Berlin wall??" They dont know english! maybe because theyre in the east part, but in german is Berliner Mauer" Walk outside the train station and you can see it! It stretches for like 5 km, and is the real thing folks. It is heavy re-enforced concrete. Peer past the wall into the east part; its desolute, hopeless destitution, and is a shock for me. Things like that are worth a photo, but at the time i was in tourist mode, where i seek to photograph things of beauty and great boldness.
Go down to Bernauerstr and see one of the few remaining stretches of the Berlin Wall. You'll find also memorials to those who lost their lives trying to cross the wall.
Across the road is an S-Bahn station (Nordbahnhof) which also has an interesting exhibit of the "Ghost Stations". These are stations on the lines run by West Berlin but lie under the East Berlin territory. The East Germans sealed off these stations creating what is known as "Ghost Stations".
Del muro sólo puedo decir que es una de las verguenzas de nuestra historia reciente , aunque quedan aún otros muchosen el mundo , se abrió en 1989 (ayer)
No es fácil de comprender nuestra historia
Prácticamente los 155kms de muro han desaparecido y sólo pueden verse unos pocos restos que dan una idea de lo triste y trágica que debió de ser la vida con él
Se Puede ver en :
- Está todo el perímetro del muro marcado con una línea de adoquines
- Cerca del Charlie Check Point
- 1300 metros de muro forman la East Side Gallery , la mayor galería al aire libre , donde importantes artistas han dejado su mensaje y su pintura
Ver el video
Video : El Muro - Die Mauer - The wall
We can only say that the Wall is one of the shames of our recent history, although many other Walls remain on the world, it was opened in 1989 (yesterday)
It is not easy to understand our history
Most of the 155 kms of wall have disappeared and can only be seen a few remnants that give you an idea of how sad and tragic it shoul be the living with the wall
It can be seen at:
-The entire perimeter of the wall is marked with a line of cobblestones
- Near the Check Point Charlie
- 1300 meter of the wall form the East-Side Gallery, the largest open-air gallery, where major artists have left their message and their painting
See video :
Video : El Muro - Die Mauer - The wall
The Mauerpark was originally the old Nordbahnhof railway station which ran trains to the north coast and Prussia. When the station was moved, its name was changed to Güterbahnhof Eberswalder Straße and it became a freight yard. The station and freight yard bordered the French and Soviet occupation zones. When the Berlin Wall was put up the station was closed as the freight yard became part of the death strip. After reunification it was decided to change the narrow strip which was the death strip into a park. Efforts have been made to purchase the industrialised western side but without success. A large weekly Sunday Flea market is held on the industrial western side. The park is not what I would describe as attractive but it is very popular with locals. A piece of the old Berlin Wall stands on the high point of the park. The wall is a popular place with graffiti artists to leave their mark before someone else does the same to their work.
The watchtower in Schlesisicher Park is one of only three watchtowers that remain in Berlin. The watchtower is 10m in height and 4.2m by 4.2m wide and was built in 1963. It was a command post and was manned by 3 border soldiers and 1 officer and was responsible for a further 18 watchtowers and the electronic security devices for this section of the border. The watchtower was constructed of pre-cast concrete and had 4 floors one of which was underground. The first floor was the staff room with the observation floor above which gave good views on all four sides. After reunification the tower should have been demolished but was saved by the perseverance of the Museum of Forbidden Art. It was classed as a historical monument in 1992. The Museum of Forbidden Art held exhibits in the tower until it ran out of money in 2004 and handed the tower back to the government. It has since been repaired and restored in its original colour.
November 9, 1989 marked the fall of the border seperating West and East Germany and the end of the Cold War. While most of the wall is gone, pieces are still left standing around the city for their historic value and as reminders of the past. Also, on the ground where the wall once was, the groundstones are still inlaid in the streets, allowing you to see all where the line ran and divided the city.
If part of your trip to Berlin is to find out more about the Berlin Wall then you must visit the Berlin Wall Memorial in Bernauer Strasse. There are a number of sites within walking distance of each other some of which are outside, others are indoors but everything is free to enter but please check opening their opening hours. The starting place for any visit is the Visitor's Centre which is opposite the Nordbahnhof S Bahn Station and conveniently at one end of any tour. Upstairs in the Visitor's Centre is a cinema which shows 2 different films about the construction and history of the wall. Downstairs there are staff available to provide information, leaflets, there are information terminals, toilets and there is also a book shop with specialist books about the Berlin Wall.
Not knowing the history of the area I wondered why the number 50 tram turned around at Bjornson Strasse on Sundays instead of carrying on across the bridge and why should there be a turn around at this point. When the Berlin Wall was in palce the Bornholmer Strasse Bridge was a crossing point. The Bornholmer Strasse S Bahn station became a ghost station where the trains going to the east or west of the city never stopped. There is a small exhibition on the eastern side of the bridge with photographs from the cold war era and a small memorial. There is a concrete wall along the back of the path. When the wall was first put up people use to climb the fence and work their way down the railway embankment cross the lines and come up on the other side in the west. As usual the way to stop this was with a taller inner security concrete wall which also ran pararell with the railway lines. At least 5 people met with accidents here and 4 more were shot by border guards. But this is where it all ended for the Berlin Wall on 09 November 1989 when thousands of people were able to freely cross from the east into the west and the GDR collapsed shortly afterwards. Going back to the beginning this was as far as trams could in the east and the reason for the turn around.
The everlasting symbol of the division between East and West Germany was the Berlin Wall, erected to halt the outflow of skilled labor from the GDR to the better economic and living conditions of the west. The GDR claim was to protect against Fascist incursions. For 28 years, it would remain intact, increasingly fortified to prevent escapes ( the official count of escape deaths is 125, probably much higher). The policy was simple - shoot to kill. In 24 hours beginning on a Sunday morning, Aug 13, 1961, streets were torn up and then barricaded, subway stops closed, and military forces amassed sealing off East Berlin completely from the west. The initial wall was barbed wire, later supplemented by ann inner cement wall creating an interval space known as the death strip. Eventually the wall would be composed of 10 foot tall cement blocks topped with smooth pipes (image 4) reinforced with bunkers and 300 watchtowers.
Student protests and the opening of the Austrian Hungarian border in 1989 led to huge demonstrations in East Germany. In November 1989, the East German government announced permission for limited "private trips abroad". Celebrations throughout Berlin culminated in the physical dismantling of the wall by private citizens, an early step in the reunification of Germany completed on Oct 3 1990.
Little remains of the wall - one easily accessed long segment remains at the site of the former Gestapo headquarters and Topography of Terror. Much of the course is marked by a double row of bricks cutting across selected streets. We sought one out on Zimmerstrasse between the Topography site and Checkpoint Charlie. Straddling the former border between the two sections of the city induces a strange and difficult to describe sensation. The bricks attract little attention from passerbys. Amidst the crowds, one has a piece of world history to himself.
Many, many young, well-educated (and emplyed) East German's saught a better fortune in the West which put an incredible strain on the GDR. With the consent of the Soviet's the GDR built a wall to keep the people in and to bring an abrupt hault to the mass exodus (2.6 million people had fed since 1949). The wall, The Berlin Wall - or "Anti-Fascist Protection Barrier", was erected on the night of 12 August 1961. On the one side you could go up to and even paint the wall but on the other a no-man's land / death row of barbed wire, mines, attack dogs and border guards lie in wait.
5000 desperate people tried to cross the border but only 1600 made it. One of the most famous failed crossings is that of Peter Fechtner who was shot in his attempts and watched by the East German guards as he slowly bled to death.
The wall was finally ripped down in 1989 only months after the last few people had been killed trying to cross it.
A fair bit of wall still exists, the longest stretch being the East Side Gallery.
As you wander around Berlin you will be able to see a continuous run of double cobblestones in the ground. These mark where The Berlin Wall had stood.
The Berlin Wall has to be the most poignant symbol of the Cold War and bits of it can be found all over Berlin... and well as purchased!
The second and last Checkpoint Bravo was on the realigned route of the A115, the crossing was also known as Grenzübergangsstelle Drewitz-Dreilinden. This was used by the western allies and it was the busiest crossing point because it was the shortest route between West Berlin and West Germany. The checkpoint was built between 1968 and 1972 and was a more robust construction than the original Checkpoint Bravo. The original buildings are still there but if you drive past on the Autobahn the whole area has an appearance of an abandoned service station, though commercial drivers of lorries and vans seem to use the large parking area as a rest stop. The buildings were designed by Rainer Rümmler and Hans Joachim Schröder and they have a very modern appearance. There are various plans afoot to change the buildings into a hotel with diner and a club. So it is better to visit sooner rather than later before it all changes.
There are different ways to get to the site. The easiest is to catch a #118 bus from Wannsee Bahnhof to Isoldestrasse. I believe you can also catch the #620 bus. Having got off the bus turn right off Potsdamer Chaussee on to Isoldestrasse. This is a quiet road and you can walk along a footpath for the last part of the journey. Do not get confused and walk further along Potsdamer Chaussee and then use the live slip road which joins the Autobahn. I walked from the Checkpoint Bravo Museum through the woods and there is a set of steps at the back of the site.