Berlin is the main town of the reunified Germany (until 1990, was Bonn) and emerged from the largest post-war reconstruction project. The city had perhaps the most troubled history of the 20th century and lives with its scars. During World War II, Berlin suffered countless bombings, which devastated most of the buildings, such as the emblematic Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and the Kaiser Wilhelm Church.
Walking through Berlin, it is possible to find signs of its recent past that almost destroyed one of the most important German cities.
Let us follow the footsteps of recent history.
1. Holocaust Memorial
Pays tribute to the 6 million Jews who were victims of the Nazi regime. The Memorial is located between the Potsdamer Place and the Brandenburg Gate and consists of an area of 19,000 square meters covered with 2,711 blocks of cement that symbolise the victims murdered in the concentration camps.
2. Hitler’s Bunker
Right next door was the Bunker where Hitler took refuge at the end of the war and where he eventually killed himself. The Bunker was located five meters deep, was protected by another four meters of reinforced concrete, had thirty rooms spread over two floors, exits in the main construction and an emergency exit and was equipped with ventilation system Against poisonous gases, diesel generators and steel doors. It was demolished in the post-war.
3. Russian Soldiers Memorial
At the end of the war, Russian soldiers took Berlin but not without a last and fierce resistance of the German soldiers who were still in the city. From this battle, which lasted a few weeks, more than 80.000 soldiers died. In honour of the Russian soldiers who freed the town was built a Memorial located on 17th June Street, near the Port of Brandenburg. The Memorial is a resting place of 5.000 Russian soldiers who were buried there after the war.
4.Topography of Terror
This was the previous location, between 1933 and 1945, of the Secret Nazi Police, the, SS Command and Reich Security Center. The buildings were destroyed, and at their site, it is now an exhibition on the Nazi regime. It Is a space where we the visitors can become with a brief idea of the path that led to World War II and all the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime and its highest representatives and institutions.
5. Check Point Charlie
After the war, Berlin, like the rest of Germany, was divided. The Eastern side of the city became the capital, while the western side becomes an enclave of West Germany. Surrounded by the wall, between the years 1961-1989, Berlin was once again involved in a “war”, torn by the “winners”, until the end of the so-called “Cold War” in 1989. In 1990, Germany was reunited, and Berlin was back to be the capital. From these troubled years, remain memories scattered throughout the city as the Check Point Charlie, the most famous border of Berlin whose name derives from the NATO phonetic alphabet in which each letter of the Alphabet corresponds to a sound (Alpha -A; Bravo – B; Charlie – C). Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War, representing the East and West division.
6. The Wall
Signs of the Berlin Wall can be found throughout the city, like a scar, remembering that during decades it separated families, friends and neighbours, was the cause of deaths of several Berliners and responsible for the separation of a city and a country. With 155 meters long and 3.60 height, the wall divided the city from 1961 to 1989. During its existence, more than 5000 people managed to escape, more than 3000 were caught, and more than 150 died.
In Bernauer Street, it is possible to visit the Memorial Wall. This Street is one of the symbols of the division, having been torn by the wall with houses actually cut in half. Families, friends, couples were violently separated, tempted by various means to escape.
The Chapel of Reconciliation is another symbolic place of this division. After the construction of the wall was located in a zone of no one, inaccessible. For more than 20 years (1961 – 1985) was the symbol of a divided city. In 1985 it was finally destroyed. On its location is a now a new chapel built to hold the memories of the old one, like the bells and the cross that managed to escape from the destruction.
7.Karl Marx Avenue
It was the most famous avenue in Communist Germany, flanked by Soviet-style buildings from the 50 years′. Is an impressive avenue that shows clearly realistic Russian architecture.
8.East Side Gallery
It is one of the most significant fragments of the Berlin Wall still surviving, located in the Mill Road, on the banks of Rio Spree. Preserved from demolition due to its more than 100 paintings, done by artists around the world. It is one of the largest open-air galleries in the world, with more than 1 km in length.
Although living with the marks of a recent past Berlin is not a capital trapped in this past. Berlin is a city facing the future, modern, cosmopolitan, vibrant
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