A Short History of the Berlin Wall

For 40 years, the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe appeared indestructible. The Iron Curtain began to fall apart in 1989 and in only one year, countries have left communism one after another, like domino pieces. The symbol of the Cold War, Berlin Wall has been called the “physical representation” of the Iron Curtain. For 28 years, the enormous construction divided in two a city – Berlin and a country – Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall is the most important mark of the communist bloc failure.

The construction of the wall began on August 13, 1961 to stop the westward emigration of the German people. In the east it was named “the anti-fascist protection wall” while in the west people called it “Wall of Shame”. 155 km of disgrace of over 3 m high, of which 43 km through the heart of Berlin.

The frontier was also made of km of trenches, bunkers, hundreds of watch towers and barbed wire. Although the creation of the wall began in 1961, Germany was ruptured since the end of World War II. In 1945, Reich capital was divided between the Allied powers in the west and the Soviet Union in the east, and in 1949 two countries were born: Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. In 1952, East Germany closed its border with West Germany, worried about the departure of population. There were exposed points though, where people were still able to pass. More than 2.5 million Germans made it to west between 1949 and 1961.

Although on June 15, 1961 East German leader Walter Ulbricht declared that there will not be a wall built, on August 13, the eastern part of Berlin is surrounded by barricades and barbed wire. The wall is built in certain stages. In 1962 a barricade was added, 90 feet on the inside, being created a strictly controlled “restrained zone”. Houses on this strip were bulldozed and people moved. The zone, mined and full of trapping wire, offered an extensive field of fire for the guards. In 1965 concrete walls began to be raised and, over the years, observation towers were added, while patrols and security were increased.

The “four generations wall”, completed in 1975 was the last version. It was assembled from slabs of 3.6 meters high and 1.2 meters wide. The wall was strengthened with motion sensors, fencing net and barbed wire, trenches against vehicles, and on the crest wall it was mounted a clean pipe, which would have made even problematic to escalate.

The eight passing points were planned particularly for different types of people that could pass through. The most well-known was Checkpoint Charlie, which was meant only to Allied personnel and non-German citizens. During the history of the Wall, military personnel, officials and Allied diplomats could enter East Berlin without passport control. Also, Soviet patrols could enter freely in the West Berlin.

On November 9, 1989 the East German government choose to permit visits to West Germany, but the minister for propaganda was not properly informed therefore a lot of confusion was developed. Tens of thousands of Berliners assailed the crossing points, claiming to move freely in the West. Overwhelmed by tens of thousands of people and in the absence of clear instructions, border guards were not likely to open fire, permitting the crowds to pass over.

The wall has been kept some time after November 9. On June 13, 1990 East German army launched formal demolition, and on July 1 all border crossing points were conventionally abolished. The two Germany halves were finally rejoined on October 3, 1990. Today, there are only three remaining portions of the wall: a section of 80 meters near Postdamer Plaz, a longer section near the river Spree and the third piece, turned into a monument, north of Bernauer Strasse.

Berlin For Kids

Berlin is a great European capital ideal for a family holiday. The German capital offers a great offer to fulfill the needs and the desires of the children: special kids-programs in theatres, cinemas and museums, unforgettable walks on foot or by boat… Is there any other better way to keep them entertained?

If you want to share a cultural and funny experience with your children you will have to take them to any of the 170 museums specifically designed for them: for example, the German Museum for Technology, which has a beautiful real airplane and 14 different exhibition halls, including engines, locomotives, ships, airplanes and so on; another option is to bring them to the Nature Museum, which includes huge dinosaurs, always a hit for with the youngsters.

After so much learning, why not venture into the world of the living? The AquaDom is the largest aquarium in the world. There your children may try the incredible underwater World. Then it would be great a visit to the Berlin Zoo: it is the largest in Germany and the one which has the largest number of species

For the rainy days there are a wide range of funny options: children surely love the Imax 3-D Potsdamer Plazt Cinema. Then you can go to the indoor theme park Legoland. It is a park built with 1.5 million Lego bricks. It includes the chance for kids to test their creations on a car racing track or earthquake table, as well as a miniature city of Berlin built entirely from Lego. Both the 3-D Cinema, and the Legoland Park are located at the Potsdamer Plazt.

Maybe the kids are tired from walking all the day long. Then, everyone on board! A boat trip is the best option to discover Berlin without moving from your comfortable seat. Finally, you should not miss the famous Tiergarden Park – the biggest park in the city. There your children can run and play freely, while you rest or explore its more than 600 acres or have a coffee in the middle of the park.

Top 3 Events Taking Place in Berlin

While some people just want to laze around, see the night life and eat great food, others like to experience the culture and soul of the new destination on a first hand basis. If you are a person who is more akin to the latter type and are traveling to Berlin, the capital of Germany, then you should consider planning your trip on the basis of the kind of events and festivals that take place in Berlin.

Berlin is a city that is home to a staggering amount of festivals, events and parades over the course of any year. Not only are there many events that take place, but the city is known for providing diverse festivals as well. If you are wondering if the city has something suited to your preferences then here is a list of the top 3 events taking place in Berlin on an annual basis.

1. The Berlin film festival:

The Berlin film festival is known all over the world for being the foremost festival when it comes to films, along with other special international film festivals such as Cannes and Venice. In fact, the Berlinale, as it is known locally, is the largest international film festival in the world with regard to attendance. The festival screens around 400 films, of which 20 are finalists and compete for the famous awards, the Golden Bear and the Silver Bear. Moreover, the film festival sees more than 270,000 tickets being sold and more than 500,000 admissions.

2. Fete de la Musique:

The Fete de la Musique is a festival that is celebrated simultaneously in over 120 countries of the world. The festival is a celebration of music as an art form. During the festival, there are numerous free music concerts held in different venues in Berlin and amateur artists are encouraged and even invited to play in the streets. The Fete de la Musique is, in effect, one large party that aims to promote music of all types. The festival is held on June 21st and was first held in 1981 in France.

3. Oberbaumbrücke Festival:

The Oberbaumbrücke Festival is named after the double deck bridge under which it is held. The Oberbaumbrücke Bridge, by itself, is a marvelous piece of architecture. The Oberbaumbrücke Festival is ideal for you if you appreciate art of all kinds because it celebrates all types. The festival is characterized by tango dancers with public performances, low profile and high profile artists selling their creations and one extremely large canvas where you can contribute with your masterpiece or doodle as well.

Berlin is a city that has many other festivals pertaining to art and religion that you can take part in, provided you plan your visit in such a way that it coincides with them.