Top Berlin Wall Locations
It has been more than 25 since the fall of the Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) but visiting a Berlin Wall location is still number one on the list of things to do for most visitors when arriving in Berlin. As one of the most prominant symbols of the stand off between the USSR and the Western Bloc known as the Cold War, it goes without saying that visitors want to know where to experience the Berlin Wall today. Although most traces of the the Berlin Wall were removed in the years following German re-unification there are a number of locations around the city where it is possible to see, touch and learn about this once hated symbol of a divided city.
We have decided to include a variety of different locations in this guide. Some are preserved original sites, others are museums where you can learn about the division. At some of these places, you can get a sense of what it was like when the Berlin Wall was standing, other sites are remarkable for their transformation post re-unification. We think that you could visit each of these locations without feeling like there was too much repetition and the great thing is, all but two on the list wont cost you a cent. Five of these Berlin Wall locations are within walking distance of each other and the rest are easy to get to with public transport.
For a quick rundown of our Top 10 Berlin Wall Locations watch our video or read on:
The official memorial of the Berlin Wall located on the historic site of Bernauer Straße in Berlin Mitte is the first place we bring visitors when they arrive in Berlin. Here, the former death strip has been transformed into a memorial parkland where original sections of the wall are integrated with artistic representations. Throughout the area are many information points where you can learn, in English as well as German, all about the Berlin Wall from the leadup and construction, to escape attempts, many of which occured at this location. For more information including a video we shot about the area, check out our profile on the Berlin Wall Memorial.
Located along the river Spree on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain, this is the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still standing. Shortly after the wall came down, around 100 artists each painted large paintings along the section, creating the largest permanent open air gallery in the world. The name "East Side Gallery" refers to the fact that the paintings are located on the eastern side of the the Hinterlandmauer, or inner wall. Although the western side of the outer wall was covered in painting, graffiti, political slogans etc, the east side, guarded 24 hours a day by sharpshooters was, unsurprisingly, unadorned until the fall of the Wall in November 1989.
Mauerpark, meaning Wall Park, is a expanse of parkland set out on the site of the former death strip not too far from the Berlin Wall memorial on Bernauer Straße. There is a section of the Hintermauer (rear wall) still standing on a raised section of earth that offers a half decent view over the parkland and is a popular tobogganing spot during winter. Every Sunday, Mauerpark is the site of one of the best flea markets in Berlin, with hundreds of vendors selling everything from vintage clothing, furniture and stuff, to street food stalls and even a couple of bars as well as an awesome open air Karaoke event that is a must see in Berlin.
Not really a Berlin Wall Location, this permanent exhibition at the "Museum in der Kulturbrauerei" made the list because it offers an insight into the every day lives of those living behind the Berlin Wall. Many topics are covered, from work and education, to shopping and leisure as well as the effects of secret police known as the Stasi. We think it is important to get a sense of what life was like at the time and this government funded free exhibition presents a broad a balanced overview of life in Communist East Germany. Especially interesting are the number of contemporary witness interviews about their experiences.
On Erna-Berger-Straße, just a short walk from Potsdamer Platz, you will find a "BT 6" Guardtower, introduced into the Berlin Wall in 1966. This is the last preserved example of more than 200 such towers which guarded the Berlin Wall and one of the oldest preserved relics of the Berlin Wall. The tower is now manned by volunteers who are happy to talk about the history of the tower and the area, and for a small donation will let you climb the ladder to the lookout. Your donation goes towards the restoration and maintenance of this historic site so we think it is well worth it!
The Wall - Asisi Panorama of a Divided City is a breathtaking work by artist Yadegar Asisi. The piece depicts a typical autumn day on both sides of the wall in the 1980's and draws on the artists own experiences living in West Berlin. This panorama, housed in a purpose built facility is enormous at around 15 metres tall and 60 metres long and is accompanied by a stirring soundscape of music, street sounds, and newsreel soundbites from the period. The degree of realism and detail acheived in a work of such scale is impressive enough, but its location, next to the path of the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie gives it an extra weight making this a very special and unique Berlin experience.
Although the Topography of Terror is a memorial and documentation centre dealing with the terror inflicted by the Nazi regime, the site contains a stretch of original Berlin Wall that displays the ravages of time and souvenier hunters. This was also the site of a daring escape in 1965 when a couple used a zipline to escape from the House of Ministries, the former headquarters of Nazi Germany's airforce, the Luftwaffe, which had since been repurposed by the GDR.