Paying a Visit to the Berlin Wall

At the heart of Berlin lies an emblematic monument that bears witness to some of History’s most turbulent moments—the Berlin Wall. Stretching through the city like an indelible scar, the remnants of this once-imposing barrier continue to evoke emotions, provoke contemplation, and inspire awe in visitors from all corners of the globe. In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the captivating story of the Berlin Wall—an architectural testament to the stark division that once fractured a city, a nation and the world. As we trace the footsteps of the past, we find ourselves amidst poignant relics and memorials that stand as a constant reminder of human courage, resilience, and the enduring pursuit of unity. From the solemn Berlin Wall Memorial to the evocative East Side Gallery, where artists' brushstrokes breathe life into the echoes of the past, we will traverse the city's streets, witnessing how it has risen from its past to become a dynamic hub of creativity and innovation. Let's peel back the layers of time and bear witness to the profound significance of the Berlin Wall—a monument that stands as a testament to humanity's indomitable spirit and the power of reconciliation.

A piece of the Berlin Wall

- © Bartolomiej Pietrzyk / Shutterstock

The wall’s history 

The Berlin Wall is an important remnant of the Cold War era. The wall was built on the night of August 13, 1961, to divide East and West Berlin, effectively separating the two political ideologies that were at odds. Its construction came as a stark reflection of the escalating tensions between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, which had culminated in the formation of the two German states after the end of World War II. Stretching for approximately 96 miles, the concrete barrier, bolstered with guard towers, barbed wire, and a heavily fortified "death strip," ruthlessly severed families, friends, and a nation torn apart. During its existence, escape attempts had tragic consequences, with the wall symbolising the Iron Curtain's grip on Eastern Europe. However, at the end of the 1980s, the fate of the wall took an unexpected turn. On 9 November 1989, the whole world watched in astonishment as cheering crowds broke through the barrier, marking the end of an era. The fall of the Berlin Wall opened a new chapter in history, resulting in the reunification of Germany in 1990. Today, its remains are a poignant reminder of the enduring human spirit and the resilience of a city rising from the ashes of division. Nowadays, exploring the history of the Berlin Wall is a profound journey that exposes the depths of human courage, the consequences of political ideologies and the triumph of unity over discord - a testament to the need never to forget the lessons of the past.

The Berlin wall in 1988

- © 360b / Shutterstock

Where to see the remains? 

East Side Gallery

Situated along the Spree River, this stretch of the Berlin Wall stands as the longest remaining segment of the historic barrier. Embracing its rich heritage, the wall has been transformed into an awe-inspiring spectacle—the world's largest open-air gallery adorned with hundreds of vibrant graffiti paintings. Amidst the captivating artworks, a particular must-see mural commands attention: "My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love" by Dmitri Vrubel. This powerful masterpiece captures the poignant moment when Soviet politician Leonid Brezhnev shares a passionate kiss with the leader of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Erich Honecker. These striking graffiti paintings not only showcase artistic brilliance but also breathe life into the past that once divided this very city. The East Side Gallery is an unmissable Berlin landmark.

"My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love" at the East Side Gallery

- © canadastock / Shutterstock

Berlin Wall Memorial

The Berlin Wall Memorial lies along the famous Bernauer Straße. It was created in 1998 with a profound purpose: to preserve the history of Berlin's poignant division into East and West. On this site, visitors discover the last remaining trace of the divisive wall, a tangible reminder of the harsh realities of the past. In addition, an immersive open-air exhibition completes the experience, vividly describing the chronicles of Germany's capital during the period from the construction of the wall to its final demolition. In this emotional memorial, the story of Berlin's resilience, unity and transformation unfolds before our eyes, offering a journey into the history of Berlin.

Berlin Wall Memorial

- © Sanga Park / Shutterstock

Potsdamer Platz

In 2008, the last remaining original sections of the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz were dismantled, bringing an end to a transformative era in the city's history. However, six of these precious sections have been carefully preserved and reassembled at the entrance to the Potsdamer Platz station, providing a lasting reminder of the past for all visitors. Just around the corner, a poignant reminder of the wall's formidable presence remains: the last watch tower still stands, providing an opportunity to reflect on the once omnipresent divisions that marked Berlin.

Remains at the Potsdamer Platz

- © 4kclips / Shutterstock

Topography Of Terror

Nestled in the grounds of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters, the Topography of Terror is a poignant history museum. Visitors will discover a multitude of documents and photographs that dramatically depict the atrocities perpetrated across Europe during the tumultuous period of the Second World War. One of the most remarkable features of the museum is the surviving 0.12-mile section of wall, which serves as a tangible reminder of the barriers that once divided the city and the profound impact of history on its landscape. Admission to the museum is free. 

Remains of the Berlin Wall in the Topograpy of Terror Museum

- © dinosmichail / Shutterstock

Practical information about your visit

A hotel with a view on the Berlin wall Berlin

A hotel with a view on the Berlin wall

The Schulz Hotel Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery is located directly next to the East Side Gallery in the amazing Friedrichshain district of Berlin. The hotel features free WiFi, bar & canteen and most importantly a beer garden.
From
£103 /night
Book!

How to get to the Berlin wall?

By car: 

  • If you prefer driving, you can rent a car or use a taxi service to get to the Berlin Wall locations. But, keep in mind that traffic and parking might be challenging, especially in the city centre.

By bus: 

  • Berlin has an extensive public transportation network, including buses! You can take a bus to reach various locations where parts of the Berlin Wall have been preserved, such as the East Side Gallery or the Berlin Wall Memorial.

By subway: 

  • The subway (U-Bahn) in Berlin can take you to a couple of destinations of the Berlin Wall such as the East Side Gallery and the Berlin Wall Memorial.

Some things to keep in mind for your visit:

  • Remains of the Berlin Wall are scattered across Berlin. Try to find the closest to you in Berlin!
  • It's always a good idea to check the latest information and opening hours to ensure you have the best experience possible.

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by Faustine PEREZ
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