Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin
Berlin is not just Berlin, Berlin is a living historical legend. Try to understand the last three and four decades this city and its inhabitants have been put through and admire the vitality and joy you encounter. You still may see a harsh contrast between the former West and East, but eventually these differences wil be equalised. Is this good or bad?
So if you're strolling around the streets, plazas and shops be reminded of the spirit of this exceptional metropole. Try to grasp a tiny bit of this pulsative energy, seek for more than just superficial moments, instead experience the city behind its facade.
Fondest memory: Enjoy 'Frühstück' in a small café off the beaten path, talk to your table-neighbour, ask him/her about his/her feelings about the city. Get aquainted, learn about the true city, behind its tourist-curtain.
I.e. it's only 12 years since Berlin's unification, this is living history.
In the morning before my course started I had some time to stroll around and to discover a little bit the area around Potsdamer Platz. Of course I passed by at Checkpoint Charlie. Anyway I didn't go in due to the fact that I only had little time and the fee of EUR 7,50 was to high for me to just rush through. From my last visit of the museum about 13 years ago I remember that one have a lot to read and really need to take time for the museum.
Fondest memory: Visit the officel web site of the museum to learn more about it.
Checkpoint Charlie, the pre-fabricated monitoring tower that the Allies hoisted into position after the erection of the Berlin Wall, is no longer around.
This was also the place where non Germans could go through after World War II where you could pass from the American sector of Berlin to the Russian sector
. This particular checkpoint was made famous by a stand-off between Russian and American tanks shortly after the wall came up.
This is one of the many places in Berlin where the utter effacement of such recent history is unnerving. There is a museum nearby is interesting, and has a display of ingenious devices employed in escape attempts from the former East Germany.
Visit Check Point Charly. It was the control point in the Berlin Wall, between East and West. They have kept the panels and the miradors.
There is a small museum (with a narrow stair) which explains the different ways to leave the Berlin East Side.
Fondest memory: Pay attention at the car in the museum in the motor of which somebody was hidden to pass the Check Point.
The main gateway for foreigners between the two Berlins during the Cold War, this was the third Allied checkpoint and thus named 'Charlie' with reference to the third letter in the phonetic alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, dora ... ).
The old watchtower can be seen in my picture left with label 'US Army Checkpoint' above. The famous sign 'You are leaving the American Sector' is the remainders of that spooky chapter in German history.
No idea to the guy in the background picture there. He seems to be a Russian general as his Russian army uniform, but no idea who is he and why his picture is there?
Favorite thing: There was just something about seeing that sign that made it so real... so amazing. The Checkpoint Charlie Museum was very good, but also very popular. We went about two hours before it closed, so we didn't have to wait in line, but we didn't get to see hardly anything! The East Side Gallery is also a must.
At FriederichStrasse 200 you have a date with History. This border point between the several parts of the city has been the classical spy-exchanging point for many years, but now is just another tourist highlight. Interesting Museum just round the corner.
The main function of the checkpoint was to register and inform members of the Western Military Forces before entering East Berlin. Foreign tourists were also informed but not checked in the West. The German authorities in West and East Berlin were not allowed to check any members of the Allied Military Forces in Berlin and in Germany. Checkpoint Charlie was removed on June 22, 1990. The former Allied guardhouses are now located in the Allied Museum. A copy of the American guardhouse was erected on the original place on August 13, 2000 (see photo).
The inhumanity of the Berlin Wall and scenes of many daring escape attempts are well documented in the Museum Haus Am Checkpoint Charlie, located along Friedrichstrasse between Zimmerstrasse and Kochstrasse. About East Berliners abseiled off buildings, swam across the Spree, waded through sewers or simply threw themselves over it. And when escape was made more impossible by fortifications improved with mines, searchlights and more guards and dogs, they tried in innovative ways, to make individual reunification. The conclusion depicts moments of emancipation and liberation, created by the people of East Germany for the people of East Germany! The nearby 'Charlie' checkpoint between the American and Soviet sectors of Berlin once served as a crossing point for the permitted ones. Whereas the less popular 'Alpha' was located at the autobahn checkpoint of Helmstedt and 'Bravo' was assigned to the checkpoint near Potsdam.
Check-point Charlie and the Museum of the Wall.It is a 1 minute walk from the underground U-bahn Kochstrasse. If you come by car be careful where you park. There are a lot of tickets being handed out for un-priviledged parking, even if it is only for a minute to take pictures.
lenght of the wall =100 miles;
hight of the wall = 12 feet;
Deaths on the Wall 239 ( most of them shot);
Construction of the Wall 13 August 1961;
Fall of the Wall 9 November 1989;
Reunification of East and West Germany 3 October 1990.
Fondest memory: My husband was stationed with the US Military in Germany for 9 years. It was very important for him to see Check-Point Charlie
Favorite thing: visit the Checkpoint Charlie museum. The museum had a ton of information that included actual cars used for escape, photos and videos made at the time, and various other material pertaining to East/West Germany. There was so much information I was overwhelmed. I would put this at the top of my list of recommendations to others!
Favorite thing: It is not a must see, but the Checkpoint Charlie Museum is interesting...especially seeing some of the escape ideas! We had a few laughs at those...