Berlin Wall

Along the East Side Gallery, this iconic moment between Brezhnev and Honecker is now one of the most visited parts of what remains of the Berlin Wall.

TravelCurious Tip

Visit the official memorial as well as seeing the wall in different locations in the city, as some of the real-life stories on display there are amazing - families were torn apart and reunited, ingenious methods were devised to cross the wall (from tunnels to hot-air balloons), and some of the propaganda from the time is on display too.

‘To protect the East from West German Fascists’

On August 13, 1961, the Communist government of East Germany began to build a barbed wire and concrete Antifascistischer Schutzwall between East and West Berlin. The official purpose was to keep Western ‘fascists’ from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state, but it primarily served the objective of stemming mass defections from East Germany to the more liberal West.

It stood until November 9, 1989, when the head of the East German Communist Party announced that citizens of the GDR could cross the border at their will. That night, one of the most famous in modern history, ecstatic crowds swarmed over the wall as waves of euphoria hit the city; some crossed freely into West Berlin, while others brought hammers and picks and began to chip away at the wall itself. Nowadays, nearly everywhere in Berlin you can buy a piece of the ‘Berlin wall.'

Part of the national conscience

In the twenty-six years that have passed, redevelopment of East Berlin has lead to many sections of the wall being dismantled - but the ground plans are visible all over the city, and there is still a significant section around the Ostbahnhof station known as the East Side Gallery. The iconic graffiti here is recognised the world over, and remains an outlet for artistic expression and social commentary to this day.

There is an official memorial near U-bahn Bernauer Strasse which displays a section of the wall complete with the chilling Todesstrafe (death zone) in the middle - the no man’s land between East and West, where over two hundred people were shot whilst attempting to cross.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Berlin
Museum Otto Weidt
A 1940s factory owned by Otto Weidt, who aimed to protect Jewish people from Nazi persecution.
New Synagogue
The main synagogue of Berlin's Jewish community is built in splendid Moorish style, with a magnificent golden dome.
Anne Frank Zentrum
This centre is a partner of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and it focuses on the life and diary of this young girl born in 1929, whose story portraited a vivid glimpse of what living as a Jewish girl was like during the Nazi Occupancy of the Netherlands.
The Missing House
This memorial was created by the French sculptor Christian Boltanski to commemorate the people who lived in that house before being destroyed by a WWII bomb.
Oldest Jewish Cemetery
The Alter Jüdischer Friedhof is the final resting place for thousands of Jewish that were buried between 1672 and 1827. Located on Hamburger Straße, it was returned to the Jewish community in 1948, after the war.
Memorial Jewish Cemetery
Located at the oldest Jewish Cemetery walls lies this memorial that was installed in 1985 next to the memorial stone. The sculpture is a group of figures as a reminder of the sufferings during the dark times of Nazism.

Related Tours

A Divided City: Cold War Berlin Tour
For over 40 years, Berlin stood divided, split in half – both politically and physically. Two Berlins existing side-by-side: one leading example of a ‘perfect’ Communist capital, the other an enclave of the West behind the Iron Curtain.

  • Come across what remains of the Berlin Wall at the moving Bernauer Strasse Memorial
  • Explore the ‘Ghost Station’ of Nordbahnhof, which was once used as espionage points by the CIA and the KGB. 
  • Visit the Friedrichstraße checkpoint – the site of bittersweet reunions and subsequent farewells during the Cold War. 
  • Take a stroll through the Karl-Marx Allee – a boulevard that was the centre of socialist activity. 
 Discover why the city became a defining symbol of the Cold War, in this fascinating half-day tour of the sites that capture its mid-twentieth century division best. Trace the line of the infamous Berlin Wall, as your knowledgeable guide weaves together Cold War history with tales of daily life from both sides of the city.
Berlin in a Day: Private Full Day Highlights with Tickets
Uncover the remarkable history of Berlin, on a full day, which explores both the east and the west. On your private tour, you will:  

  • Be met by your private guide in the heart of the city centre. 
  • Explore several sites, including the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, and Tiergarten Park.
  • Learn about the impact of the second world war in West Berlin, and see the Holocaust MemorialHitler’s Bunker, and Checkpoint Charlie.
  • See the Berlin Wall, and then stop for lunch at a local marketplace, where your guide will give you several recommendations.
  • Learn to take public transit, with the help of your private guide.
  • Explore formerly East-Berlin, and see its highlights, including the East Side GalleryAlexanderplatz, and ‘the Treehouse.’ 
  • Finish your tour with tickets to Berlin’s TV Tower, where you will enjoy spectacular views across the whole city. 

Berlin served as the epicentre of several of the twentieth century’s most momentous parts of history: from the rise of Nazism to the Cold War and the Berlin Wall. A full-day tour is the best way to explore this history and the various layers of the city before and after these events. On your private tour, you will see the old and the new, including the Jewish Quarter which itself has over 800 years of history, before ending your tour at the futuristic Fernsehturm, the Berlin TV Tower. 

Through this tour, you will embark on a journey through time, visiting sites that played a role as Berlin evolved from a royal city through to imperial capital, cosmopolitan hub to Nazi bastion, and from Cold War division to its contemporary renewal and prosperity. A century of geopolitical struggle, hubris, nemesis and rebirth have marked this fascinating city from the ambitions of the Kaiser to defeats in two World Wars. Throughout the day, your tour will be taking you to the historic landmarks where so much of the city (and world) history played out. 

Your tour finishes with tickets to Berlin’s TV tower, where your guide will give you timed entrance tickets to ascend to the observation deck. From there, you’ll be able to see all the places you have explored throughout the day and see the complex and wonderful city from above. 

Best of Berlin Private Tour with Tickets to the Berlin Television Tower
Full of historic gems, Berlin is a must-visit for anyone wanting to become better acquainted with one of the most vibrant cities in Europe. On this half-day highlights tour, you will:

  • Meet your private guide, who will take you on an immersive tour of the capital. 
  • Begin your tour at the Brandenburg Gate – one of the symbols of Berlin.
  • See one of Berlin’s most iconic buildings – the Reichstag and learn about its historical and political significance over the past one hundred years. 
  • Explore 17th Street where you will come across the Holocaust Memorial, and Hitler’s Bunker and even see pieces of what remains of the Berlin Wall
  • Stroll past across Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on your way to the Berliner Fernsehturm (TV Tower).
  • Visit Checkpoint Charlie – an open-air exhibit illustrating milestones in Cold War history.
  • Finish with tickets to the Berlin TV Tower Observation Deck. Your guide will take you to the queue and give you timed tickets, before departing with you.

On this half-day highlights tour, you will have the pleasure of learning about Berlin – from the beginning of the 20th century to modern times. Since the late 1800s, Berlin has seen triumphs and defeats. From being a formidable empire to be reckoned with in the late 1800s to early 1900s to being fully decimated after World War I, to the rise of Hitler in the 1930-1940s, to again being virtually destroyed after World War II, to being a city divided during the Cold War and finally with the Berlin Wall coming down in 1989 – it’s sufficed to say the past 150 years in Berlin have been dramatic and turbulent. Through this tour, you will experience, first-hand, the fascinating political history of the German capital.  

Cold War Historic Live Virtual Tour
 On this Live Virtual Tour, you will hear the fascinating stories of the Cold War by strolling the Berlin Wall memorial with your expert local guide. 

On your tour, you will:

  •  See original parts of the Berlin Wall that still remain,
  •  Learn how the border was constructed and what it entailed
  •  Visit the main memorial to see the victims of the wall and hear some of their stories
  •  See a recreation of the border
  •  Visit the chapel of reconciliation
  •  Learn how some people managed to get across the border successfully.
  At the end of this tour, you will have experienced the effects of the Cold War on the ground in the divided city of Berlin and have visited the remnants of one of the era’s most well-known relics.  


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