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Top sights in Berlin
For 28 years, Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous crossing point between East and West Berlin. It was site of many tense historical moments between Soviet and American forces, and it remains a symbol of the Cold War to this day.
By 1961, 20% of East Germany’s population had immigrated to the West, causing economic loss to the Soviet Union. So, on August 13th, the Wall and its “death strip” was built.
Checkpoint C was the only Berlin crossing point for Allied forces and foreigners. The West built a small wooden house at the location so it wouldn't appear as an official border.
Soon after the Wall's construction, the U.S. and Soviet armies had a faceoff, with tanks pointed at one another for six days. It ended peacefully when the Soviets withdrew.
A teenager bled to death near the Checkpoint after being shot by East German guards while trying to escape to the West. Neither side went to his aid out of fear of retribution.
The Wall fell on November 9th, 1989. Although reunification didn't occur until a year later, open travel at Checkpoint Charlie began. The guard house was removed in October 1990.
It is a massively popular tourist attraction fit with a replica of the iconic wooden shed, actors dressed as American soldiers and wartime souvenirs. The free open air exhibition is packed with history, and, for a more in-depth overview, the Museum Haus Am Checkpoint Charlie (or Mauer Museum) is open year round, open from 9:00AM to 10:00PM.
Checkpoint Charlie is located off the Kochstraße stop on the U6 line.
- When should I visit?
- Mauer Museum hours: 9:00AM - 10:00PM
- Is it expensive?
- Checkpoint Charlie is located outside and is free to look at. Tickets to the Mauer Museum cost €12.50.
- Will I need a guide?
- A guide isn't required of course, but with so much history discover, it'd be worth it!
- How to get there
- *Fahren Sie mit der U-Bahn (U6) zur Haltestelle Kochstraße. *
- Additional information
- Bring your passport with you! If you ask nicely, the "border guards" will give you an Allied Forces crossing stamp.
What people are saying about Checkpoint Charlie
An excellent introduction and overview for a first-time or returning visitor. Inspiration for further discoveries and valuable tips beyond your average guide(book) or website. Expert knowledge combined with anecdotal local insight, presented in a digestible and engaging manner in impeccable English. The tour makes you reflect upon and appreciate Berlin's defining historical moments and their link with architecture, urban planning and contemporary culture. An ideal balance between serious content and more light-hearted and friendly dialogue with a qualified professional. The personal viewpoints and interpretation provided food for thought. We particularly appreciated the effort to make the tour enjoyable even for children (aged 9-12) who remained engaged throughout and set up with appropriate bikes. When your bike tour is organised and run by a Dutchman, you are in good hands. :-) Also an asset in providing a refreshing and open-minded take on German history and culture.
This was a great tour! I’m a Brit and worked in Berlin for 3.5 years but never really had the chance to explore the city in depth, and my girlfriend is Bulgarian and lived under Communism and wanted to see a little of the former East Berlin. This tour was great for both of us. The groups are deliberately kept small, I think there were 11 people on our tour, a mix of Brits and Americans, very good humoured, some real laughs along the way. Our Guide - Josh, was excellent, he informed but also elicited answers and discussions from the group on places we had just visited. There was no pressure to get involved, but everyone took part anyway because of the thought provoking subject matter of the tour and what we were seeing. This was the best thing we did in Berlin during our 4 day break there and we would recommend it to anyone wanting to see below the ‘surface’ of Berlin. Thanks Josh! Steve and Liya
Scott was absolutely phenomenal, he shared insights and wisdom into not only the history and the story of the city but into the people, culture and art as well. I absolutely loved and valued how he invited us to explore the deeper meaning of each aspect on our own and allowed us to come to our own informed conclusions from what we felt and the knowledge he shared with us. It takes someone pretty special to make such a heartbreaking story so powerful and beautifully inspiring.
We joined Mike on his Third Reich and Cold War tour yesterday and it was outstanding. He is a superb tour guide, enthusiastic, energetic and enthralling. We brought our sons to Berlin to help them in their history studies and Mike's tour engaged and inspired them more than anything else that we did during our tour of the city. And it was excellent value for money! Highly recommended.
This is a tour I would strongly recommend to anyone who just arrives in Berlin and wishes to get an overview and in-sight of Berlin tourist attractions. The tour is most informative and entertaining. It covers lots of area of interest in 3.5 hours. You get to know Berlin well in a nut-shell. You can then come back and spend more time exploring your area of interest.