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  • Address: Mühlenstraße
  • Admission: Free

The notorious wall that divided Berlin for nearly 30 years was erected by East Germany at the height of the Cold War in 1961. The barrier isolated West Berlin within a heavily armed barrier of double concrete walls and gun turrets and was constructed to stop disaffected East Germans escaping to the west; it was part of a strictly enforced military fortification that separated communist East Germany from capitalist Europe.

Guards patrolling the wall’s watchtowers and mined "death strip" were ordered to shoot East Berliners attempting to escape to the west, and increasingly the wall became a canvas for protest murals and memorials.

With the thawing of relations between east and west and the downfall of communism in Poland, the Czech Republic and other central European countries, the Berlin Wall was ceremonially torn down in November 1989 with the world’s media as witness. 

Today, sections of the wall remain as permanent reminders of the days when Germany was split. The Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauerstrasse comprises an original section of the wall and a gun turret, as well as a visitor center and a chapel of reconciliation. In other parts of the city, still-standing lengths of the wall are covered in psychedelic graffiti; the East Side Gallery on Mühlenstrasse is a multicolored open-air monument to the wall’s demise. Checkpoint Charlie was the infamous border crossing between the two countries; close by stands the Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, a museum showcasing some of the more desperate escape attempts from East to West. These include homemade gliders, hot-air balloons and cars with hidden compartments.

Practical Info

The Berlin Wall Memeorial on Bernauerstrasse is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The visitor center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m., depending on the season. The East Side Gallery on Mühlenstrasse is always available for visits, while the Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. with an admission cost of €12.50. Sections of the wall also remain near the former site of the Gestapo headquarters and on Bernauer Straße.

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