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 Fall of the Berlin Wall: A Historic Moment that United a Divided City

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

The Berlin Wall, an iconic symbol of the Cold War era, stood for over 28 years dividing the city of Berlin into East and West. It was a physical barrier erected by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1961 to prevent citizens from fleeing to West Berlin. However, on the 9th of November 1989, the world witnessed a historic event that would forever change the course of history and bring an end to the Berlin Wall.

The Construction of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was a tangible manifestation of the ideological divide between the communist Eastern Bloc and the capitalist Western Bloc. The construction of the wall was ordered by the GDR to halt the mass emigration of its citizens to the more prosperous West Germany. The GDR feared a brain drain and the loss of skilled workers, as well as the negative impact on its image in the international community.

On the night of August 12, 1961, under the cover of darkness, East German soldiers began erecting barbed wire fences and barricades that would eventually evolve into a concrete wall. The wall stretched over 96 miles, encircling West Berlin, with armed guards positioned along its entirety to prevent any unauthorized crossings.

The Impact on Berlin’s Citizens

For over two decades, Berliners lived with the physical and psychological consequences of the wall. Families were separated, friendships were abruptly severed, and individuals found themselves trapped on the wrong side of history. The wall became a painful symbol of oppression and a constant reminder of the division that plagued their city.

Citizens of East Berlin were subjected to strict travel restrictions, limited job opportunities, and constant surveillance by the Stasi, the state security service. Attempts to escape to the West were met with severe consequences, including imprisonment and even death.

Desperation Breeds Ingenious Escape Attempts

Despite the risks, many individuals dared to defy the wall and attempted daring escapes. Some resorted to crawling through sewers, while others tried to jump from apartment windows into waiting arms on the other side. One of the most memorable attempts was the ingenious use of hot air balloons, tunnels, and even a homemade zip line to escape to freedom.

These stories of bravery and determination remind us that even in the darkest of times, the human spirit can triumph over adversity.

The Winds of Change

By the late 1980s, the Soviet Union and its satellite states were facing growing dissent, economic hardships, and calls for reform. This environment set the stage for significant changes that would eventually lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Gorbachev’s Policies of Glasnost and Perestroika

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in the mid-1980s. These policies aimed to increase transparency, encourage political reforms, and modernize the Soviet economy.

The impact of Gorbachev’s policies reverberated beyond the Soviet Union, inspiring people across Eastern Europe to demand change. Citizens in East Germany began to organize peaceful protests and call for political reform.

The Peaceful Revolution

In the fall of 1989, thousands of East Germans took to the streets of Leipzig, Dresden, and other major cities, demanding political freedom and an end to the oppressive regime. The movement gained momentum and eventually reached Berlin.

On the evening of November 9, 1989, a misleading announcement by a government official led to mass confusion. He declared that East Germans would be able to cross the border freely, effective immediately. Thousands of East and West Berliners gathered at the Wall, and as the guards hesitated, people began to climb over the barriers and celebrate their newfound freedom together.

The Aftermath and Reunification

The fall of the Berlin Wall was a momentous event that not only brought an end to the physical barrier but also set in motion a series of events that would lead to the reunification of Germany. It marked a shift in the political landscape of Europe and had far-reaching implications for the entire world.

In the months that followed, East and West Germany embarked on a path toward reunification. On October 3, 1990, the reunification became official, and Berlin once again stood as the capital of a united Germany.

A Symbol of Hope

Today, remnants of the Berlin Wall serve as a reminder of the city’s turbulent past and the triumph of unity over division. The East Side Gallery, a section of the wall adorned with vibrant murals, has become a symbol of hope, resilience, and the power of the human spirit.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was a defining moment in history that showcased the indomitable will of ordinary people to break down barriers and fight for freedom. It serves as a powerful reminder that no wall is impenetrable when the desire for liberty burns in the hearts of the oppressed.

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