The Berlin Wall dominated Berlin from the 13 th of August 1961 till the 9th of November 1989. Private Hagen Koch literally painted a white line between East and West Berlin on orders of the later general secretary of the GDR Erich Honecker. Soon after the closing of the border the Berlin Wall was a tragic fact.
Berlin Wall: dividing a city
The Berlin Wall divided the city for decades, leaving family and friends torn apart. Here you can read all about how and why the Berlin Wall was build. And we will show you where in Berlin you can still see the remains of the Berlin Wall.
Where is the Berlin Wall?
Because in 1989 all Berliners were very happy to see this hated piece of concrete gone, it is not easy to find the Berlin Wall in the city. But we know the unknown spots, like Invalidenfriedhof where people fleed the Berlin Wall by running over the military graveyard. We know where to find the watchtowers and where people dug tunnels under the Berlin Wall. But also where the most beautiful pieces are, like East Side Gallery and the Mauerpark. And some pieces are not even in Berlin anymore. They ended up in a toilet in Las Vegas, for example. Check the Berlin sections:
The Berlin Wall can sometimes be hard to find. But if you read the guides and books on the Berlin Wall you know where to look. Although, not always. Sometimes you bump into unknown pieces of Berlin Wall. Such as the ones nearby the Teltow Kanal. With it’s interesting graffiti it’s the unknown sister of East Side Gallery
During the Cold War Nordbahnhof was quite a tragic place to be. The Berlin Wall ran straight through this place. Before the wall was build, people travelled to the other parts of Berlin via the Nordbahnhof station. But after 1961 Nordbahnhof became a lost ghost station. Now it’s full of travelling people again. And Berliners play volleyball near the colorful Berlin Wall remains.
Imagine what it is like to be separated by a brutal wall from your loved ones in West Berlin for decades, and suddenly someone says you can go to the other side of Berlin to see them again. That’s in a nutshell what happened at Bornholmer Strasse at November 9, 1989.
Why was the Berlin Wall build? Answering this question is not so simple as it looks. Back in the days patriotic communist East Germans would say the Berlin Wall was a: “Anti-fascist wall, protecting East Germans against the fascists in West Germany.” In West Germany most people would say: “It’s a brutal wall that divides our country, put up by scary communists.”
The Brandenburger Tor at the end of Unter den Linden became the symbol of reunited Germany and Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Between 1961-1989 the Berlin Wall surrounded the Brandenburger Tor, as you can still see at graffiti on East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain. East Berlin was on one side – a couple of meters further was West Berlin.
The Berlin Wall at Invalidenfriedhof makes this cemetery a very tragic and spectacular place to be. The Berlin Wall ran straight through Invalidenfriedhof. Battles of life and death took place at this military cemetery. This makes the Invalidenfriedhof one of the most remarkable places in Berlin and place to be nr 1 in Mitte for Wall spotting.
You can still feel the awkwardness and fear of the Cold War at Checkpoint Charlie. It was the main checkpoint to cross the border between West and East Berlin for foreigners during the Cold War. Some Berliners tried to flee the city through Checkpoint Charlie and died there cold and alone.
The Berlin Wall at Bernauer Strasse had a huge impact on this area. Bernauer Strasse was right in the middle of the border. When the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, the entrance of a few buildings was in the East. But if the inhabitants looked out of their windows, they saw West Berlin right beneath them.
The Berlin Wall was a hated piece of concrete in both West and East Berlin. It divided the city and created a large, ugly grey scar. In 1989 118 artists from 21 different countries painted this part of the Berlin Wall that was never touched by art before, because it lies so close to the river Spree. East Side Gallery is the largest part of remaining Berlin Wall.
The Mauerpark was a large piece of Noman’s land between Prenzlauer Berg and Wedding. The Berlin Wall ran straight through the park. Nowadays the park buzzes with life and creativity. At Sunday you can find vintage stuff at the fleemarket, or just chill and enjoy the weird performances at the Mauerpark.
At Kieler Strasse, near the Invalidenfriedhof, you can find one of the most interesting watchtowers of the Berlin Wall. Not only because it is one of the few remaining watchtowers. But mostly, because it is a small museum for the first victim of the Berlin Wall: Gunter Litfin. His brother Jurgen runs the watchtower and museum.
Gropius Bau is a stunning museum with international art. But it is market by two wars. The facade has bullet holes from World War Two. And the museum was useless during the Cold War. The Berlin Wall ran straight through this area, making it noman’s land. Nowadays you can still spot the Berlin Wall near Gropius Bau.
The Berlin Wall was one of the most guarded pieces of concrete. Every piece of Berlin Wall had it’s own watchtower, where the guards or border policemen could sit to watch the environment for people who wanted to flee to West Berlin. After the Berlin Wall fell, nearly all the watchtowers were removed. But the one near Treptower Park still stands strong.
Potsdamer Platz used to be a buzzing square with lots of traffic before World War Two. But after the War it became a large stretch of noman’s land when the Berlin Wall was erected here. Now it’s Berlin’s pride and joy with modern architecture. And you can still find pieces of the Berlin Wall here.
When the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, some people desperately wanted to leave East Berlin. They dug tunnels, created passport schemes, escaped through a stinking sewer, drifted over to the other side in a hot air balloon, hid in a car or simply drove through the Berlin Wall. Read about all the escapes at the Berlin Wall.
Sometimes the Berlin Wall is nothing more than a simple glittering brick on the ground to show where the Berlin Wall used to be. But before 1989 the Berlin Wall was a brutal reality, not everybody wanted to experience every day. Some wanted to leave, and dug tunnels or climbed the Berlin Wall. Some people weren’t so lucky. They died, escaping to the other side.