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Checkpoint Charlie

The most famous East and West Berlin crossing point, Checkpoint Charlie unravels years of Cold War tensions.

TravelCurious Tip

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.

Brain drain

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.

Clash of ideals

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.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Berlin
The Führerbunker is where Hitler spent his last days, cowering with his highest commanders whilst the Soviet army slowly approached Berlin.
Topography of Terror
With a plethora of exhibitions, this museum underscores the darker elements of the story of Germany.
St Hedwig's Cathedral
The seat of the archbishop of Berlin, this cathedral beautifully models the Pantheon in Rome.
An aesthetically remarkable square, host to the statue of Germany's famous poet Friedrich Schiller.
A major cultural hub, Friedrichstraße is the perfect street for a leisurely day's shopping.
Jewish Museum Berlin
The Jewish Museum Berlin is one of the largest Jewish Museums in Europe.

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  • This experience will be broadcasted live from the location, no Powerpoint presentations are involved.
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  • Date and Time may be affected by weather conditions to guarantee the best experience.
  • Please note the start times are expressed in local time so take into consideration the time difference with your location.


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