Be prepared that a lot of the original structures have been moved or destroyed since 1989; most of the original artefacts from Checkpoint Charlie are actually in the open-air ‘Allied Museum’ in Berlin-Zehlendorf.
Between 1949 and 1961, over 3½ million East Germans, many of them young and well-educated, fled to the West. So ferocious was this brain drain that that Walter Ulbricht, the East German leader, coerced the Soviet union into building a wall between the two powers of East and West. The most popular border crossing between the two became known as Checkpoint Charlie, which separated American and Soviet zones.
Today, on a stroll down Friedrichstraße Checkpoint Charlie comes as a sudden, surprising reminder of the turbulent times the city has faced. Halfway down the popular street in Mitte, the former border crossing is commemorated by a open museum.
The name Charlie came from the letter C in the NATO phonetic alphabet, and as the most visible Berlin Wall checkpoint, Checkpoint Charlie has crept into popular culture through its frequent features in spy movies and books.
A famous rendezvous and viewing place for Allied officials, armed forces and visitors alike, the Café Adler is situated right on the checkpoint. It was, and still is, an excellent vantage point from which to look into East Berlin without raising suspicion while having something to eat or drink.
Since communist times, Checkpoint Charlie has become a major tourist attraction. An open-air exhibit was opened during the summer of 2006. Information on the walls of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße inform on escape attempts, its significance during the Cold War, and in particular the confrontation of Soviet and American tanks in 1961 known as the Berlin Wall Crisis.
Join the fastest growing community of professional tour guides.
Use our easy to integrate toolset to include Tours & Attractions in your customer journey.