Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Walking the Wall

After visiting The Story of Berlin with Fiona (see January Post), I thought about doing some more touristy things in Berlin. I picked up a couple of guides, and reread parts of The Lonely Planet's Guide to Berlin. After speaking with Ingrid, she found a website that maps out the entire Berlin Wall that surrounded West Berlin from 1961-1989). then I found a spiral bound book (in English), complete with maps and directions on where the Wall stood, and information about different buildings, interesting facts etc...

This year, I have decided that I will walk the entire 160 kilometers of Wall (not all at once).

Part One

Potsdamner Platz to Warschauer Strasse - 7 kilometres.

Here is a brief summary of some of the sights along the way.

Here is part of the "Berliner Mauer" at Potsdamer Platz, outside the S Bahn

Through the middle of Berlin, runs about 8 kilometers of a double row of cobblestones
At regular intervals there are metal plaques "Berliner Mauer 1961 -1989. The cobblestones and the plaques are a reminder of where the wall actually stood (I found this really helpful, when I didn't know how to read my map properly! :)

Former Prussian Parliment Building - unsure what it is used for now, but it had a good police presence.
Martin Gropiou Bau. Built in 1881 as a museum for arts and crafts.
Today they were moving this large horse statue inside!
The Topography of Terror. This is where the Gestapo, SS and the German Security Minister had their headquarters. It is also where the Gestapo had their torture chambers.
The outer walls of the Topography of Terrors.
Some of the broken wall, shows the metal reinforcements.
You can go on tours of Berlin in these Trabis!
Parts of the Wall
and more...
The well known Checkpoint Charlie Museum. This large portrait is of an American soldier looking towards the east...

On the other side is a portrait of a Soviet soldier looking west.

The original guard tower was torn down. This is a copy of the American guard house.

A memorial for Peter Fechter. 17th August 1962, he and a friend tried to escape over the Wall. They crossed the first fence, then they were seen, and were shot at. The friend mananged to get over the final barrier, but Peter was shot and lay wounded on the Eastern side of the Wall. The GDR border guards did not come to his assistance, and the West Berlin police and American soldiers could not come over and help. People on the western side called for someone to help him. an hour later his body was carried away. His slow public death was publicised throughout the world.

Between Charlottenstrasse and Markgrafenstrasse is a row of these colourful buildings. they were built between 1994 and 1996. These buildings have courtyards away from the street.

This large dog sculpture is set up in the middle of an empty lot....with no signage...so no explanation for this one!

Heinrich Heine Strasse. This marks a border crossing used by West German people. On 18th April 1962, 3 men tried to crash a truck through the border barriers. They were shot at, the driver, Klaus Brueske, managed to get across to the Western side, but died later from his injuries. His 2 friends survived their injuries. After this episode, the guards erected barriers, which forced drivers to drive slowly around a slalom type formation.

What happens when the double row of cobblestones disappear?

Luckily there are signposts to guide the way

Luisenstaedtischer Canal. This canal was built in 1848-1852. It provided a route to transport constuction materials to build Luisenstadt. The sides of the canal were planted with trees. However the water in the canal flowed too slowly, and developed an awful stench. In 1926-27 the canal was filled in, and turned into a park.

View of the Fernsehnturm in Alexanderplatz on the Schillingbruecke Bridge

The East Side Gallery. The longest surviving stretch of the Wall. It was decorated by painters straight after the Wall fell. In 1991 it became a historic landmark. In 2000, some of the faded paintings were restored with privately donated funds.

Painter Thierry Noir painted this one of people streaming through the Wall.

It's a shame so many people feel the need to "tag" the wall with their scrawl.

The Eastern Comfort Hostel, is on the Spree River...it's an old houseboat.

1 comment:

Leanna said...

Thank you for posting pics and blogging about your experience. I really enjoyed reading and seeing your journey walking along the wall. What an amazing history lesson. I wish I could be walking alongside of you.