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

Berlin in a Day: Private Full-Day Highlights Tour

Explore the very best of Berlin on this full-day private tour of the German Capital including the majestic buildings on Museum Island, the moving memorials to the Holocaust, many haunting reminders of World War 2, as well as the bustling food market near the iconic East Side Gallery commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

On your private tour you will:

  • Walk to the historic Reichstag Building part of the German parliament and stop at the iconic Brandenburg Gate – a symbol of the might of the Prussian Empire;
  • Explore the moving monuments and memorials to the horrors of the Second World War, including the Holocaust Memorial, dedicated to the Murdered Jews of Europe; Hitler’s last Bunker, the New Reich Chancellery - Hitler’s office, and walk past several important government buildings including the impressive Bundesrat to the ‘topography of terror’ a free museum where the SS Headquarters once stood; 
  • Arrive at the remains of the Berlin Wall where you’ll learn about life behind ‘the iron curtain’ and stop at Checkpoint Charlie the strict crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Soviet era;  
  • Visit the Gendarmenmarkt, arguably the most beautiful square in Berlin home to three architectural gems: the Berlin Concert Hall, and the French and German cathedrals;
  • Wander into the stunning Bebelplatz with its impressive neo-classical buildings including the Berlin State Opera, Humboldt University buildings, and St. Hedwig’s Cathedral - and hear about the infamous Nazi book burning that happened here;
  • Enjoy a stroll around Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site and majestic home to the five prestigious museums including the Pergamon, Berlin Cathedral and the City Palace; 
  • Explore the East Side of Berlin, beginning with the East Side Gallery the longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall decorated with famous political murals; 
  • Admire the now iconic Oberbaumbrücke bridge, a symbol of Berlin’s modern-day unity that connects boroughs the East-West boroughs of Friedrichshain and trendy Kreuzberg that were previously divided by the Wall;
  • Discover the vibrant Markthalle Neun - a vast iron latticed indoor bustling food market - enjoy the smells of delicious street food and the many multi-ethnic delicacies on offer; 
  • Head to the Treehouse on the Wall - built into the Wall along no man’s land by Turkish migrant Osman Kalin in the early 1980s with scraps of wood and metal, it remains a potent symbol of the city’s reunification;
  • Take the train towards the hub that is Alexanderplatz and your tour ends with tickets to Berlin’s TV Tower, where you will enjoy spectacular views across the whole city. 

Explore the beautiful and buzzing Berlin with an expert private guide on this immersive full-day tour of Germany’s capital city.

Today Berlin is famous for its majestic neo-Baroque architecture, especially on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Museum Island. You’ll learn about the city’s history from medieval times when it was founded in the 13th Century, through to becoming the heart of the powerful Prussian Empire, later the centre of Hitler’s war machine, then a city divided by the infamous Berlin Wall during the Cold War years to a thriving, modern capital. 

The city doesn’t shy away from its dark past. You will see many moving memorials to the Holocaust, including the Holocaust Memorial and the copper “stumbling stones” commemorating Jews who were taken from their homes and deported to the camps. You will also see the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, and later in the day explore the iconic East Side Gallery.  

Today Berlin has overcome its complicated past and is a thriving metropolis, famous for its alternative fashion, music, film, theatre, dance, art, and digital scene. It has also become a melting pot of multiculturalism which is reflected in its diverse multi-ethnic cuisine.   



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