Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free

The Berlin Wall: An Intricate Feat of Construction That Divided a City for Decades

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

When examining the history of the Berlin Wall, one cannot help but ponder the magnitude of this monumental structure that once stood as a physical and symbolic barrier between East and West Berlin. This concrete barrier, erected by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on August 13, 1961, aimed at stopping the mass exodus of East Germans to the democratic West.

The Berlin Wall was not built overnight. Its construction was a complex process that involved meticulous planning, strategic implementation, and continuous reinforcements. So, how long did it take to build the Berlin Wall? Let’s delve deeper into the timeline and understand the various stages of this historical undertaking.

The Planning Stage: Seeds of Divisions (1949-1960)

The seeds of the Berlin Wall were sown in the years following the end of World War II, when Germany was divided into four occupation zones: American, British, French, and Soviet. The Soviet Union’s influence in East Germany began to solidify, leading to the creation of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1949.

As East Germany struggled economically, there was an increasing migration of its citizens to West Germany, primarily via Berlin. In response, the GDR started implementing various measures to prevent this mass exodus, such as strengthening the border controls between East and West Berlin.

Over the years, tensions between the East and the West grew, with the border between East and West Berlin becoming the focal point. In 1960, the GDR began considering a more drastic solution – the construction of a physical barrier to separate the two parts of the city.

The Construction Begins: Laying the Foundations (August 1961)

On the night of August 12, 1961, East German authorities closed the border between East and West Berlin. By the next morning, the construction of the Berlin Wall had begun. The construction process was swift, utilizing the existing infrastructure and materials available.

Workers, including members of the East German army and engineers, were mobilized to different locations across the city. They started by blocking existing roads, erecting barbed wire fences, and fortifying vulnerable border checkpoints. This initial stage focused on creating physical barriers to hinder movement across the city.

Reinforcement and Expansion: Transforming a Barrier into a Wall (1961-1962)

As days turned into weeks, what started as a temporary barricade evolved into a formidable wall. The construction process involved reinforcing the initial structures with concrete and expanding the barricades to cover more ground.

Workers labored day and night, joining precast concrete elements to form a robust wall. This involved pouring concrete foundations, setting up steel fences, and constructing watchtowers equipped with armed guards. Road crossings between East and West Berlin were thoroughly blocked and fortified to ensure controlled movement.

During this period, the Berlin Wall underwent continuous strengthening and expansion. It transformed from a hastily erected barricade into a fortified border zone stretching 155 kilometers (96 miles) across the city.

Improvements and Upgrades: Bolstering Security (1962-1989)

With the completion of the initial wall construction, the GDR authorities were not content with mere physical barriers. They continued to enhance security measures along the Berlin Wall to discourage any attempts to breach it.

As time wore on, successive upgrades were made to the wall. These included the addition of anti-vehicle trenches, dog runs, razor wire, and more advanced alarm systems. The wall became even more impenetrable, making escape attempts even riskier and more challenging.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The End of an Era (1989)

After almost three decades of division, mounting pressure from the international community, widespread protests in East Germany, and the tide of political change in Europe led to the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

Overnight, thousands of jubilant East Berliners took to the streets, tearing down sections of the wall. This historic event signified the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War era.

In Conclusion

The Berlin Wall stood as a physical manifestation of the ideological and political divisions that plagued Germany for over 28 years. The construction of the wall was a testament to the complexities involved in enforcing such a barrier and maintaining it for decades.

From its inception as a temporary barricade to its transformation into a fortified structure, the Berlin Wall represented a tumultuous period in history. The wall’s construction and subsequent fall serve as reminders of the power of unity and the resilience of the human spirit in overcoming barriers.

Today, remnants of the Berlin Wall stand as poignant reminders of the past, serving as a symbol of hope, strength, and reconciliation.

Thank you for reading. If you're inspired by the stories of Berlin and want to delve deeper, why not join us on our Free Berlin Walking Tour? It's a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the city's rich history and vibrant culture. We look forward to welcoming you soon.


  • 3.5 hours walking tour
  • Berlin’s major highlights
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Reichstag and Berlin Wall
  • Historical sites

Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free