Berlin Wall Photo Essay – some of it is still standing!
One of the best history lessons you can ever have is to actually visit the physical location. It’s there were the history lesson starts to have some meaning, and it’s not just words in a text book (for example, places like Gallipoli in Turkey). One of those places where history became relevant to me was at the Berlin Wall in Germany, as part of a Rail Europe trip in western Europe.
I remember when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. I was a teenager then, and I remember all of the scaremongering that went on during the 1980s about how the Commies where going to invade the entire world and how in the west we had to hate them, and if need be, blow them all to smithereens.
Well, that all changed in 1989 when communism collapsed and I will never forget the scenes of east and west Berliners climbing the wall, and eventually, taking a sledgehammer to most of it. Anyway, there was no way the Eastern Bloc was going to exist when the internet came along!
The Berlin wall was a bizarre, and insane piece of engineering designed to keep east Berliners from escaping to the enclave on west Berlin, which was an democratic island in a sea of socialism. At one stage, there was about 170 kilometres of wall. Now, only 1.5 kilometres are left, with the longest piece around 1.3 kilometres in length.
I think the reason why some of it still stands, I guess it’s like the famous quote ‘if we forget the past, we are condemned to repeat it’.
These days, the Berlin Wall is an open air art gallery. Artists now use the Berlin Wall as a canvas for freedom and expression.
How ironic – once a symbol of repression just only a tick over 20 years ago, this large wall now has the opposite meaning!
Check out some of the Berlin Wall murals below:
However, the Berlin Wall hasn’t escaped tourism! Funnily enough, there is a souvenir shop located literally next to this famous icon of the Cold War! You can even bring your passport here to have it stamped!
How times change!
Taking the notion of being very touristy even further, a replica of Checkpoint Charlie, the old crossing point between east and west Berlin has been constructed and entrepreneurial locals dress up as old border guards to pose with tourists.
Ironically, check out the multinational burger chain in the background. Stalin would be turning in his grave!
More Berlin Wall Stuff
Anyway, for more information about The Wall, check out The Berlin Wall: August 13, 1961 – November 9, 1989.