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Berlin Part Three: Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall

Checkpoint Charlie is the closest tourist spot to where I was staying. It is largely a reconstruction of the east/west border crossing in Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie (or Checkpoint C) was the name used by the Western Allies at this particular site between 1947-91. It was also the location for the stand-off between Soviet and US tanks in 1961, the dispute over a US diplomat crossing the border. It ended peacefully almost a week later after both armies agreed to slowly move their tanks back.

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This banner was up at Checkpoint Charlie when I visited, asking Putin to abandon his geopolitical ambitions.

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As you can see above, a replica of the guardhouse sits before a picture of a soldier. A sign to the right of it informs you that ‘You are leaving the American sector’.

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After the Berlin Wall was taken down, some sections of wall remained standing. These sections are a reminder of what life would have been like with the wall dividing the country, and many parts of the wall are decorated with paintings, messages, padlocks and at this section, chewing gum.

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Some information about the nearby Checkpoint Charlie.

What I didn’t know which I found pretty fascinating was that there is a line that runs through the city to show where the Berlin Wall once stood. You can see the brickwork below leaving the actual wall and heading into the distance.

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Larger sections of wall were found close to the German finance building talked about in Part One. From here I learned that the wall wasn’t just one wall but two, separated by a ‘death strip’ filled with trenches, barbed wire fencing, landmines and armed guards. Sand was used in the strip to detect footprints that would lead to those looking to cross the border illegally. This is why despite the wall being pretty small, the chances of crossing it were very low and incredibly dangerous.

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The wall was incredibly long, over 140km in length.

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What it looked like between the walls.

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Pictures from both sides of the Brandenburg Gate. What is now Pariser Platz (picture on the right) was a no-go area at the time. 

The left hand picture above is the location of President Ronald Reagan’s famous speech, declaring “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!”

The brick trail showing where the Berlin Wall once stood can be seen here.

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Before and after restorations of the Brandenburg Gate following bombings.

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This is the section of wall that I talked about in Part One, full of artwork and the longest stretch of wall I had found. I am glad I found this before I left Berlin, I love how such an oppressive structure can be used to display messages of love, as well as a reminder for us to not repeat history.

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This is all from my Berlin trip, it was only a few days and one of them involved a gig, so time was limited. But I would certainly visit again to see what I have missed, and would love to see more of Germany.

Where else would people recommend I visit in this great country? Let me know, and thank you for reading.

Dankeschön!

 

Part One: Wandering around Berlin

Part Two: A powerful memorial, the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag Building


 

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19 replies »

  1. I am really enjoying your Berlin photos! My other WP frienda is posting about her visit to Berlin, literally the same monuments. She has fewer pictures but more information, so I am getting the best of both:). I was there many years ago (37, to be exact), when none of those memorials existed!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Next time I recommend you visit Leipzig (from this part of Germany and from the cities from this part I’ve visited). It is really nice city and it is also not far from Berlin.
    You also mentioned gig? I am not sure of what kind of gig you refer to but if you are musician, I am sure you can find some pubs to play in.
    This was really nice series and enjoyed reading about it even though I already knew all of this, it was still interesting.
    Have a nice one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the recommendation, it would be great to one day have a longer tour of the country. I am not a musician (sadly!) I went to see Muse at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, although I am certain I could have found some cool pubs to rock out in as well in Leipzig and throughout Germany. I will post about the concert soon!

      Thank you for the kind words also, I am really pleased you enjoyed my Berlin posts! I hope you had a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing and teaching as well! It really is amazing how Germany has embraced its past, even the bad parts. i wish the US would do the same. When I think about what this country did to its Native Americans, the camps it put the Japanese in, etc. I can’t help but think it hasn’t done nearly enough to admit its mistakes and advance itself beyond them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No problem Tracy! Yeah and I feel admitting where we go wrong as a species isn’t a bad thing, to remember that we shouldn’t have done certain things and remember those we lost as a result. And how we strive to improve afterwards!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip. You can’t really go wrong in Germany in my experience. The big four cities (Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne) are all very different from eachother and worth visiting. It’s an incredible country if you get a chance to explore more of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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