The Berlin Wall was erected in the dead of night on 13th August 1961 to halt the mass exodus of Germans fleeing the communism of East Germany. I was never very interested in current affairs and did not begin taking notice of the news until my 30s, but even so I vividly remember the scenes of jubilation when the Wall finally fell in 1989.
A portion of the Berlin Wall remains and is decorated with beautiful murals. I found visiting the wall to be very atmospheric. It almost felt like paying respects to the many that lost their lives trying to cross the Wall during the cold war. Dotted around Berlin are collections of small white crosses remembering those individuals. Some of the crosses are blank for those fallen whose identities were unknown.
After the construction of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie was the sole Berlin Wall crossing point for members of the Allied Forces. It became a symbol of the cold war, representing the separation of East & West Germany. It has since been established as a tourist attraction. An imitation of the original kiosk has been set up with a museum nearby, and for a small fee your passport can be stamped with all the stamps used at checkpoints during the cold war.
The Brandenburg Gate was built between 1789 & 1791 and despite its imposing appearance, was intended to be called the “Gate of Peace” by the sculptor Johann Schadow who designed the statue of Winged Victory & her four horse chariot and sculpted a relief of the Procession of Peace beneath the chariot. The Gate was the scene of joyous celebration when the Wall fell, and now anyone can stroll freely from East to West Germany under the archway.