A guide to places you can still visit and see remnants of the Berlin Wall
The Berlin wall construction started in 1961 and its destruction didn’t begin until 1989. That 28 years the wall divided the city. The Wall’s story started in the 1950s when East Germany like many others in the Soviet-controlled Eastern Bloc began to make laws and think of ways of restricting emigration. Soon after the inner German border between east and west was closed. The border between eastern and western sections in Berlin remained open although somewhat restricted. This made Berlin a magnet for young educated people escaping to the west. So in 1961, the Berlin Wall began.
At midnight on Saturday the 12th of August 1961 the East German army and police started to close the border and by the following Sunday morning, the border with West Berlin was closed. It started with tearing up streets, and erecting Barb Wire fences and other barriers and continually was improved upon until the famous version of the Berlin Wall still visible today. However, it is never that black and white. The fact is that the wall was 156km and had various parts. Some were built upon previous property borders where walls were already in place and simply fortified or made bigger. Others just used the existing sides of buildings. Most of the wall has thankfully been torn down, but places and remnants of it still exist. Also, much of the city infostructure that was built during the seperation is still here. To get a first-hand look and the full history of the Berlin Wall book a Behind the Berlin Wall and Cold War Tour with one of our professional guides. To find out the best places in Berlin to see Berlin Wall Remnants… keep reading below,
“The [Berlin] Wall will be standing in 50, even in 100 years.”
Erich Honecker, East German leader, January 1989
East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall and runs 1.3 KM. The Gallery is a big draw for tourists and a local landmark. In 1990 after the fall of the wall 118 artists from 21 countries painted the east-facing side. Giving us many of Berlin’s most iconic photos including the two men kissing.
One of three U.S.A. controlled border crossing in the city and by far the most famous. This checkpoint has been left semi up and there is a section of the back Berlin Wall still standing. Apart from that, some signage has been left up and a Wall Memorial has been put in place.
Berlin Wall Memorial
This is probably the best place in Berlin to get a look at how the Berlin Wall was implemented. Running along Bernauer Str. the memorial features large sections of remaining wall fragments, a border strip, and even a guard tower. The whole area is clearly visible how the city was built around the wall. Offical Wall Memorial Page
Old St. Hedwig Cemetery
The northern edge of this picturesque cemetery features a 15-meter long section of the final Berlin Wall. This section of the wall is under historic protection and it connects with two unused bridges know as the Liesenbrücken built in the 1890s. The cemetery also boasts the St Hedwig Cathedral that has stood for religious tolerance throughout. Its existence.
Bornholmer Str (Bösebrucke)
This section of the wall is much less visited by tourists. It’s also a convenient 10 min walk from Mauerpark another place on our list. There used to be a border crossing here but unlike checkpoint Charlie, the area has been taken back into everyday use by locals. The wall can be a bit tricky to spot at first but once located it’s easy to follow it along as car traffic in the area is minimal and it’s mostly walking paths. Further along the “Mauerweg” or wall trail, there are over 100 Japanese Cherry Trees planted gifted to Germany as a sign of sympathy from Japan in 1990 after the fall of the wall.
Gutspark (Big Glienicker Lake)
Another peaceful place to see a bit of the Berlin Wall. The Glienicker Lake was off-limits to the east as the wall ran right through the middle and was marked by buoys when in operation. The buoys are long gone but there are remaining fragments of the wall in the park.
A popular park for locals and tourists Mauerpark or Wall Park has a remnant of the back part of the Wall in what was once no-man’s land. The park is lively with street markets, performers, and even a Bear Pit karaoke!
Unfortunately, the segments of the Original Berlin Wall that were at Potsdamer Platz and Stresemannstraße were torn down in 2008. However, six sections were later erected in front of the entrance to the Potsdamer Platz station. Also at the Platz is one of the last Watchtowers still remaining in the city.
You can find our tours of the Berlin Wall here for Private Tours and also daily Open Berlin Wall Tours here.