Berlin Wall 20 years after the fall

It’s no secret that I’m a history freak. And I absolutely adore Berlin because of its unbelievably diverse and difficult history. Almost every spot in this city smells of the old times; every time I go there I find something new, something I hadn’t seen before. My recent trip there wasn’t an exception.

More than 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there are many spots where the wall is still there. Mostly, it’s re-erected for memorial purposes. There are at least three spots in central Berlin (or in the immediate vicinity) where one can experience how it was for the people of Berlin to look at a huge concrete border that kept them away from the other side. And it was tragic for both sides—while people in the West yearned to see their loved ones who had remained in the East, the people in the East also yearned for freedom and democracy that was just a few yards away, but still out of reach. And most of the East Berliners who dared to make a run for the freedom were brutally murdered by the communist apparatus that governed the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain.

Here are a few photos of the Berlin Wall today. Most of it has been re-erected, but some of it has actually remained since the fall of the Wall as a sad, but an important reminder of the crimes of the red plague.

The Wall at Niederkirchnerstraße, near Potsdamer Platz.

The Wall at Niederkirchnerstraße, near Potsdamer Platz.

Checkpoint C ('Charlie' according to the military phonetic alphabet), probably the most famous border crossing point in Berlin. Located at the corner of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße. Was open for diplomatic and military personnel only.

Checkpoint C ('Charlie' according to the military phonetic alphabet), probably the most famous border crossing point in Berlin. Located at the corner of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße. Was open for diplomatic and military personnel only.

The famous "You are leaving the American Sector" sign at Checkpoint C.

The famous "You are leaving the American Sector" sign at Checkpoint C.

Cobblestone marking of the Wall's path on Zimmerstraße.

Cobblestone marking of the Wall's path on Zimmerstraße.

The Wall at Bernauer Straße, north of the centre. One of the longest chunks of the wall and a site of a new memorial.

The Wall at Bernauer Straße, north of the centre. One of the longest chunks of the wall and a site of a new memorial.

Pieces of the concrete slabs the Wall was built from, at the Bernauer Straße memorial.

Pieces of the concrete slabs the Wall was built from, at the Bernauer Straße memorial.

The Bernauer Straße memorial is probably the only place in Berlin today where the actual 'Inner Wall' is still remaining. The Inner Wall was built a few hundred feet to the eastern side, to create a buffer zone between the actual Wall and the Inner Wall. Inside the buffer zone, Soviet and East German guards patrolled and shot everyone on site who had the nerve to try to escape to the West.

The Bernauer Straße memorial is probably the only place in Berlin today where the actual 'Inner Wall' is still remaining. The Inner Wall was built a few hundred feet to the eastern side, to create a buffer zone between the actual Wall and the Inner Wall. Inside the buffer zone, Soviet and East German guards patrolled and shot everyone on site who had the nerve to try to escape to the West.

The Wall on Bernauer Straße, viewed from the West.

The Wall on Bernauer Straße, viewed from the West.

The Wall Memorial at Bernauer Straße. Only the first stage of the memorial is finished, and work continues to build the entire memorial that will run along the buffer zone for about half a mile.

The Wall Memorial at Bernauer Straße. Only the first stage of the memorial is finished, and work continues to build the entire memorial that will run along the buffer zone for about half a mile.

This is definitely the longest remaining strip of the Berlin Wall. Called the 'East Side Gallery', this almost a mile long stretch of the Wall runs on Mühlenstraße between the eastern neighbourhood of Friedrichschein and the western neighbourhood of Kreuzberg. This is the view from East Berlin.

This is definitely the longest remaining strip of the Berlin Wall. Called the 'East Side Gallery', this almost a mile long stretch of the Wall runs on Mühlenstraße between the eastern neighbourhood of Friedrichschein and the western neighbourhood of Kreuzberg. This is the view from East Berlin.

And the East Side Gallery wall from the West. When you cross the canal over the Oberbaumbrücke from East to West, you can still see the huge contrast between the Soviet and the American sectors. From architecture to leafy trees, you'll know immediately that you have crossed the 'border'.

And the East Side Gallery wall from the West. When you cross the canal over the Oberbaumbrücke from East to West, you can still see the huge contrast between the Soviet and the American sectors. From architecture to leafy trees, you'll know immediately that you have crossed the 'border'.

This is what the Wall looks like. Imagine living behind something like that for almost 30 years.

This is what the Wall looks like. Imagine living behind something like that for almost 30 years.

Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) in central Berlin. The symbol of German unity. Since the building of the Wall until reunification, no people could actually go near the Gate—the Wall cut West Berliners off right next to the Gate, and from the Eastern side, the Gate remained in the buffer zone.

Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) in central Berlin. The symbol of German unity. Since the building of the Wall until reunification, no people could actually go near the Gate—the Wall cut West Berliners off right next to the Gate, and from the Eastern side, the Gate remained in the buffer zone.

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