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 Iron Curtain: A Symbol of Division and Unification

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

When it comes to the history of the Berlin Wall, one of the most common questions asked is, “how long was the Berlin Wall up?” The Berlin Wall stood tall as a physical and ideological barrier between East and West Germany, dividing not only a city but also a nation. In this article, we will delve into the story behind the infamous wall, exploring its construction, purpose, duration, and eventual fall.

The Construction of the Wall: August 13, 1961

On a fateful day in August 1961, the world witnessed the emergence of an iconic symbol of the Cold War – the Berlin Wall. The Communist government of East Germany, under Soviet influence, constructed this barrier to prevent citizens from fleeing to the West. The construction of the wall was swift and brutal, dividing families, friends, and a nation overnight.

The Wall stretched for approximately 96 miles (155 kilometers) throughout Berlin, encircling West Berlin and cutting it off from the Eastern part of the city. Made of concrete, barbed wire, and guarded by armed checkpoints, it stood as a formidable obstacle against the freedom of movement.

The Purpose of the Berlin Wall: Fortifying East Germany

The Berlin Wall was erected by the East German government, officially known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Their justification for building the wall was to protect the socialist state from Western influence and espionage. However, this claim ignored the underlying motive of preventing East Germans from seeking a better life in the democratic West.

Escape attempts were rampant before the wall’s construction, with countless citizens leaving behind their homes, livelihoods, and loved ones in search of freedom and a brighter future. The wall aimed to put an end to this mass exodus, effectively trapping East Germans inside their own country.

The Years of Isolation: 1961-1989

For nearly three decades, the Berlin Wall stood as a physical embodiment of the division between East and West, creating an “Iron Curtain” that separated families and stifled dreams. During this time, East Germany became one of the most heavily guarded borders in the world, with a complex system of watchtowers, barbed wire fences, and armed guards.

Life behind the Berlin Wall was bleak for those trapped in the East. Strict controls and surveillance by the Stasi (East German secret police) maintained a climate of fear and repression. The East German regime tightened its grip on the citizens, limiting their freedoms and subjecting them to a rigid socialist system.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall: November 9, 1989

Amidst mounting pressure and a changing political landscape, the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989. The catalyst for this historic event was a combination of internal and external factors that led to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Peaceful protests and demonstrations demanding freedom and reunification spread throughout East Germany. The East German government, overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the situation, was forced to open the checkpoints, allowing citizens to freely cross the border.

A Symbolic Moment of Reunification

The fall of the Berlin Wall marked a pivotal moment in history; it symbolized the unification of East and West Germany and the end of the Cold War. Joyful celebrations ensued on both sides of the wall as families and friends long-separated by the barrier were finally reunited.

The fall of the Berlin Wall also marked the beginning of a new era in Europe. It paved the way for Germany’s reunification on October 3, 1990, and set the stage for a united, democratic, and prosperous Europe.

The Legacy of the Berlin Wall

Today, the Berlin Wall stands as a vivid reminder of the consequences of division and the power of unity. While many parts of the wall were dismantled in the years following its fall, some sections still remain intact as memorials and reminders of the past.

The Berlin Wall serves as a poignant symbol of the human spirit’s desire for freedom, sparking reflection and dialogue on the importance of individual liberty, human rights, and the dangers of division. It continues to be a destination of historical significance, attracting visitors from around the world who wish to honor the memories of those affected by its existence.

The story of the Berlin Wall teaches us valuable lessons about the resilience of the human spirit, the consequences of isolating barriers, and the indomitable power of unity and freedom. It serves as a constant reminder that walls may be built, but they eventually crumble in the face of hope, perseverance, and the longing for a better future.

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