Berlin Wall, Topography of Terror & Checkpoint Charlie (Berlin - Germany)

Berlin has a gory history that's world famous thanks to Adolf Hitler & Cold war. The infamous Berlin wall, quite literally tore the city into 2. This was built in 1961 to segregate the Allies controlled Germany and Soviet controlled Germany. West was under America and was a free society and East was under USSR with Nazi regime.
Later when good times returned, the Berlin Wall was broken in 1989 uniting the 2 sides. Today it and its associated elements, stand still in few section at few places - Berlin Wall Museum, East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie and Topography of Terror. The Museum is located slightly away from the centre of the city so I couldn't go there. This is my travelogue on the rest 3 of the places.
East Side Gallery is the longest bit of Berlin Wall that's still standing. At 1.3km, this was painted by 118 artists from 21 countries as a sign of a celebration towards the fall of the wall! The number of paintings are 101 that cover the entire height of the wall in various widths. These were done in 1989 & 90. However it was major target of vandalism and in 2009 the renovation began and certain panels are yet to be cleaned up.
The wall begins with the words East Side Gallery and the first ever panel itself depicted India and I was pretty thrilled about it. There's an Indian flag on the corner and a huge image of Goddess Kali with some wordings written below which I couldn't figure out. A walk ahead took me to the most famous grafitti is the reproduction of the photograph of the kiss between Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker that happened on the 30th anniversary of German Democratic Republic. Below it are the words 'Mein Gott, hilf mir, diese tödliche Liebe zu überleben' which means 'My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love'. There were several allegorical, symbolical imageries. There were some caricatures too!

From there my next destination was Topography of Terror which is a combination of both indoor and outdoor museums. A portion of the Berlin Wall stands here as well. Withered with holes of the effort to break it down, and curved and twisted iron rods, this looks interesting!
Beside the wall, the actual space of the site is actually where once the Gestapo (secret police of Europe occupied Germany) and Schutzstaffel (a parliamentary organization under Hitler) stood. So the remnants of those buildings with a bit of its brick masonry of walls, arched doorways, iron pipes of plumbing etc. This entire wall is utilized as a background for a presentation to explain Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, Cold War & Berlin Wall. There's also a library here where books about it all are available to read and also buy!




My next stop was Checkpoint Charlie which was the official border crossing point between East & West Germany. This was once the Wagah border of Germany (Indians & Pakistanis would understand that). There were strict restrictions for the crossing and a visa was required as well. During the Cold War the tanks of US & USSR were kept on either sides of the Checkpoint Charlie.


Today its a memorial where the original sandbags and American flag and Visa clearance point and warning board that says you're leaving the American sector etc are maintained as it was! Along the Checkpoint Charlie in 2 lines of cobble stones on the ground along the line where the Berlin Wall once stood. Standing there looking at the buzzing traffic, I couldn't help but think 2 decades back, this would have been such a different place!!!

To Get There:
East Side Gallery: Nearest metro - Schelesisches Tor & Warschauer Strabe
Topography of Terror: Nearest metro - Anhalter Bahnhof & Potsdamer Platz
Checkpoint Charlie: Nearest metro - Kochstr / Checkpoint Charlie
Entry Fee: Free at all 3 places
Timings: 24hrs at all 3 places

P.S: I was invited by Visit Berlin - Welcome Card to experience the city for review purposehowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Dedicated to Venkat

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

36 comments:

  1. I missed going to see Check point Charlie and this section of the wall. So much history, I remember watching the wall come down. It is nice to see history preserved, so we never repeat this.

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  2. The Berlin wall or what remains of it is fascinating. I am sure you could feel a chill coursing through your spine as places like Check point Charlie have been the centre of action in many a cold war espionage book as well as the movies. It is heartening to note that India occupies pride of place on the Wall.

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  3. I've been to the part with the murals and art, I enjoyed walking up and down peering into the mind's of artists. I wish I had made it further to see the check point. I can't believe there was a time tanks just sat on either side. I can not relate to what happened in India, though my Indian boyfriend filled me in some, but I feel like this might be what is starting to happen in the U.S. I hope no more walls are built! Thanks for the tour!

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  4. Wow what a very sad but interesting place. I always feel strange at places like this, almost like you are stepping back in history. Thanks for all the info!

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  5. Topographie of Terrors was one of my favourite museums in Berlin, as it told a really incredible side of the story of how the Nazi regime really took hold. I loved the East Side Gallery too, looks like you had better weather than me!

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  6. I love all of the art they've put up! The Berlin Wall is just one of those surreal places - you almost feel like you could travel back in time. If I ever make it to Germany (hopefully soon!) it's on my list!

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  7. Tearing down of the wall is such a great story....isnt it? Lovely to see one big country now! I loved the graffti...so colourful. Also, I would like to explore the outdoor museum...it takes me back in time and makes me feel that I am living in an era gone by!

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  8. Great post! The European history was so turbulent - especially in Central/Eastern Europe. Now the pieces of the wall can be found all over the world - I saw one in Cape Town, South Africa! I just hope humanity will not make the same mistakes, unfortunately, looking at the events, it doesn't seem so...

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  9. I have been lucky enough to visit Berlin twice. Once before the wall was cleaned up and once after. It was so sad seeing people writing on the wall prior to its clean up however it was great to see it both before and afterwards.
    One of my favourite places to sit and reflect in Berlin in the memorial for the Gypsies and travellers. Just so peaceful in a busy city.

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  10. Berlin is such an impressive city... especially if you go and see those museums and memorials displaying the horrors of WWII. But then again, it's amazing how the whole city opened to the world and became such a fun, hip and multicultural place. I just love this city!

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  11. Another great post - I can't wait to finally explore this area later this year! Thanks for all the information, it's very useful (I had no idea you needed a visa to pass Checkpoint Charlie)!

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  12. Looking at the last picture I am reminded of one of Jeffrey Archer's books (in the clifton series) where he describes the Berlin border crossing in detail

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  13. Wow! That is good exploring you did. I have been to parts of Germany but not to Berlin. Getting to read about it is a learning by itself. Thanks!

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  14. I love your picture by picture explanation of some of the wall! When I visited I went from the end to the beginning, so the India flag was the last thing I saw, and as a huge lover of India it made me super happy. I was actually in Berlin againlast week for a day and wanted to check out the Topographie of Terrors but the weather was absolutely awful so I missed out.

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  15. That's great you found a piece of India on the wall! I think I have a very similar picture of the Berlin Wall as you at the place with the holes and metal structure. Checkpoint Charlie reminds me of the movie, Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks, if you've not seen it yet you should check it out. You'll find it more interesting after visiting!

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  16. It really is hard to believe when you visit Berlin today that just 30 years ago, it would have been so totally different. The city seems so successful and cosmopolitan now. I was interested to read about the Topography of Terror because I did not go there when I was in Berlin. Next time!

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  17. I've never seen the wall but I'd imagine that the whole place has somewhat an element of extreme sadness associated with it. So much incredible history. It's great to see these things in person.

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  18. I did not know so much of the Berlin wall is still there and did not know about the art as well. I can still remember the news that the wall broke down. Seeing it on television when my mom told me this was a really important moment in history.

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  19. We are exploring Germany right now, we are in Hannover and Berlin is one of our next destinations. We don't know what to expect from this trip but it's difficult to believe that we are talking about 30 years ago.

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  20. I can't visit Berlin without going to the East Side Gallery. It's such an important part of history. I'm glad it's there as a constant reminder to us that we are all humans and should never have to experience this again

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  21. I love when portions of history is preserved. It is a great reminder of where the world was coming from and where we are now (though there's not much difference). Great post, I will make sure I visit the Berlin wall when I go to Germany

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  22. Its such an important part of the history. Would love to visit there.

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  23. It's nice that they did a lot of artistic stuff on the Berlin Wall. It gives it a better purpose than just a divider.

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  24. It's an amazing fact that the wall was painted by 118 artists from 21 countries and all 101 graffiti were painted in the time period of just 2 years. that shows the dedication and the joy of celebration.

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  25. Thank you for sharing the history with us. Reading your post and looking at the photos made me interested more about Berlin. Travelling gives us more knowledge. It is a good way of studying History. I can learn it more than listening to my History class. Haha!

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  26. This Wall is indeed a place rich in history, not good stories about it though. Sometimes it is tough to visit a historic place with bad memories or events associated with it. The emotions can be too heavy.

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  27. We have a museum in the Philippines that displays a piece of the Berlin Wall. I think it will soon be transferred to a different location. It is rich in history. I am really interested.

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  28. It is good to know that the wall that tore a city apart is now such a beautiful monument with artists across the world participating to make it pretty. It was great to get to know about the Berlin Wall through your lens :)

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  29. I really love street art and this ones are awesome.and it's great that each place has a history. I'd love to learn about it. Thanks for sharing

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  30. I haven't been to Berlin and I've only seen and heard of the wall in news on TV. Thank you for taking me there with your story.

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  31. I'm glad some of the wall has been left as a reminder of how divisive we can be. Germany has learned a lot about the mistakes made in the past. I like that the German museums I have been to, don't cover up the bad parts of its history, but present it like look what could happen.

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  32. I will be in germany in next 3 weeks, and your post has come just in time. thanks for this.

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  33. I've visited the East Side Gallery before and the artwork (despite the vandalism) is really impressive. The Topography of Terror looks really interesting too and I'd love to see that part of the wall!

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  34. I'm really glad I had the chance to read this post, and thank you so much for writing it! I've always been fascinated with this piece of history,but have yet to make it to Berlin to see it first hand.

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  35. It's so nostalgic to be seeing the walls. I recalled learning about this during history lesson and how the graffiti helps close the boundary~

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  36. Very historical and great place to go. I learn a lot from this post.

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