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Path along the Berlin Wall – 160 kilometers in the footsteps of the Cold War | Information about Germany and travel tips | DW

For a long 28 years (1961-1989), the Berlin Wall divided the city into two parts – East and West Berlin. The wall was and remains in history a symbol of the Cold War and the division of Germany, which was united in 1990. Where it used to pass, a 160-kilometer historical route has now been laid – the Path along the Berlin Wall (Berliner Mauerweg).

Berlin, 1961

Construction of the Berlin Wall begins in August 1961

Route map

Trail along the Berlin Wall. Route map

Bernauer Strasse

A preserved section of the Berlin Wall near Bernauer Strasse

Memorial Complex

You can start your cycling or hiking tour anywhere, and you don’t have to do the whole route in one go. You can choose any site or go through this historical trail in stages. You can start in the center of the German capital, where the Berlin Wall memorial and documentation center are located on Bernauer Strasse.

One of the signs indicating the route to the places where the Berlin Wall passed

“Berlin Wall 1961-1989”

Where was the wall

Almost a six-kilometer segment is marked here by such a double line of cobblestones, on which bronze plaques “Berlin Wall 1961-1989” (“Berliner Mauer 1961-1989”) are located at different distances from each other. Above the inscription was East Berlin, below – West. This helps to navigate the place.

Berlin, 1989

Border guards near the Brandenburg Gate shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989

Brandenburg Gate

If you follow the path from the memorial on Bernauer Strasse towards the current government district of Mitte, the route will lead along the Spree river past Reichstag to Paris Square and brandenburg gate. During the time of the Berlin Wall, the gate was located between the two parts of the city, becoming a symbol of the division of Berlin, and after the fall – a symbol of German reunification.

Friedrichstrasse in Berlin

Former Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse

Checkpoint Charlie

It was possible to get from one part of the city to another during the existence of the Berlin Wall through eight checkpoints. The most famous of them is Checkpoint Charlie (Checkpoint Charlie) on Friedrichstrasse. Now here you can see the reconstruction of 2000. Due to the great popularity of this place, the atmosphere around is more like a tourist “Disneyland”.

Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

Former watchtower near Potsdamer Platz

watchtowers

More than three hundred watch towers were erected along the Berlin Wall from the GDR side, on which soldiers were on duty around the clock, ready to open fire to kill. Only three towers were left standing. They are under protection as historical monuments. One of them, built of concrete in 1966, is located near Potsdamer Platz and is open to the public.

East Side Gallery, Berlin

“Brotherly kiss” or “Lord! Help me survive among this mortal love” – ​​Dmitry Vrubel’s graffiti depicting the kiss of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker

eastside gallery

The longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall is located in the Friedrichshain district – the famous East Side Gallery. After the opening of the border, these slabs were painted by artists, becoming a historical monument and a permanent open-air gallery. The most famous graffiti here is the work of Dmitry Vrubel “Brotherly Kiss”.

Glienik Bridge, 1962

Glienik Bridge on the day of the exchange of American pilot Gary Powers and Soviet intelligence officer Rudolf Abel in 1962

Glinik Bridge

Most of the trail – 110 kilometers – runs along the outer city border, which ran between West Berlin and Brandenburg. A special attraction here is Glinik bridge through the Havel near Potsdam, where during the Cold War exchanges of agents and political prisoners took place. One of these actions in 1962 formed the basis of the Hollywood film “Bridge of Spies”.

Hennigsdorf

Former watchtower in Hennigsdorf

Museum in the border tower

The historical route passes not only through urban areas, but also through suburban forests, along rivers, through meadows and fields. The sections where the Berlin Wall lay outside the city were often the site of risky attempts by the inhabitants of the GDR to escape to the West – for example, by swimming across the Havel. The museum in the former watchtower in Hennigsdorf is dedicated to life in these places during the existence of the Wall.

Bornholmer Strasse, Berlin

Spring on Bornholmer Strasse

Sakura instead of a wall

Some areas on the former border were planted with sakura. The trees were donated by the people of Japan, who thus wanted to express their joy in connection with the reunification of Germany. In spring, you can admire their flowering, for example, in the Pankow district near the bridge on Bornholmer Strasse, where the first checkpoint was located, opened on the night of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

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