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 Iconic Berlin Wall: A Symbol of Divided Germany

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

The History of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was a physical barrier built by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) that completely surrounded West Berlin, separating it from East Germany and East Berlin. Construction of the wall began in August 1961, and it stood as a potent symbol of the Cold War for 28 years.

The decision to construct the wall was motivated by several factors. East Germany wanted to prevent its citizens from fleeing to the more prosperous and democratic West Berlin and West Germany. It also aimed to firmly establish the division between East and West in a bid to discourage any further collaboration and potential espionage activities.

Initially, the wall was little more than a barbed-wire fence. However, it was soon fortified with concrete walls, guard towers, and a “death strip” area that featured anti-vehicle trenches, signal fences, and patrol paths. The wall effectively turned Berlin into a divided city, with families and friends abruptly separated.

The Placement of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was placed to encircle West Berlin, cutting it off from East Germany. It spanned a total length of approximately 155 kilometers (96 miles), encircling the entire city. It snaked through the outskirts of West Berlin, often following existing streets and dividing neighborhoods.

The placement of the wall was not fixed, as it underwent modifications and improvements over the years. Initially, it primarily encircled West Berlin, but over time, it was extended further west to encompass more territory. The wall was not a straight line but twisted and turned to incorporate certain areas while excluding others. It surrounded buildings, homes, and even entire streets, effectively sealing off West Berlin from the rest of East Germany.

Checkpoint Charlie: The Most Famous Crossing Point

One of the most renowned checkpoints along the Berlin Wall was Checkpoint Charlie. Located on Friedrichstrasse, it was the main crossing point for diplomats, military personnel, and foreign visitors. It gained significant media attention and became an iconic symbol of the Cold War.

Checkpoint Charlie played a vital role during several notable events, including the confrontation between Soviet and American tanks in 1961 and the crossing of several high-profile defectors, such as Konrad Schumann, as they escaped to the West.

Other Crossing Points

Aside from Checkpoint Charlie, there were other crossing points along the Berlin Wall, though they were tightly controlled and heavily guarded. These included Checkpoint Alpha in Helmstedt and Checkpoint Bravo in Dreilinden. However, it is important to note that crossing the wall was still exceedingly difficult, with severe consequences for anyone attempting to escape.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

After almost three decades, the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989. The fall of the wall was a momentous event that marked the beginning of the reunification of East and West Germany, and ultimately, the end of the Cold War.

The fall of the wall was the result of a combination of factors, including peaceful protests, political changes, and the gradual collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Thousands of East Berliners flooded the checkpoints, demanding passage and waiting for the guards to allow them through. The historic moment saw people from both sides celebrating and reuniting with loved ones for the first time in years.

The Legacy of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall has left a lasting impact on Germany and the world. It serves as a somber reminder of the divisions provoked by the Cold War, but also as a symbol of the triumph of unity over separation.

Today, fragments of the wall and the preserved East Side Gallery, adorned with vibrant murals, stand as powerful testaments to the history and resilience of the German people. The wall’s remnants are a popular tourist attraction, allowing visitors to reflect on the past and gain a deeper understanding of the consequences of political division.

The placement of the Berlin Wall forever transformed the landscape of Berlin, both physically and emotionally. It serves as a stark reminder of the immense human cost of political conflicts and the power of unity in overcoming division.

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