November 2014 saw the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
To celebrate the event, light bulbs were placed along a 15 km stretch of the former border in the heart of Berlin.
For a whole weekend 8,000 of these lights showed where the city had been divided by the wall for almost 30 years.
Fortified borders are found throughout history. The Romans built them in England and Germany almost 2,000 years ago, the Chinese built the Chinese Wall and the United States fortified 1,000 km of their border with Mexico.
The purpose of all these was or is to keep people out of the respective territory.
There is a big difference to the Berlin Wall:
It built by the former East German communist government to keep their people in!
In the 1950s large numbers of people left East Germany to the West. The border between both parts was then closed and fortified.
West Berlin – completely surrounded by communist Germany – was then the only point to leave East Germany. It was used by many people: Until 1961, when the Berlin wall was built, about 20 % of the population of communist East Germany had left the country. 3.5 million people fled from dictatorship.
In the summer of 1961 barbed wire and concrete walls were built around West Berlin along the 160 km border to East Germany, closing the inner German border for good.
For 28 years people in East Germany were kept inside their own country by their government. If they tried to flee, they were shot by the border guards.
With the fall of the eastern block in 1989, the Berlin Wall became obsolete and soon a memorial to the communist dictatorship.
Parts of it can be found all around the World as memorials as well.
Visit the Wall
In Berlin itself a memorial trail was completed that leads all around the former West Berlin.
Following the route of the Berlin Wall you can explore its history as well as the history of Berlin.
It is signposted and there is English documentation even as an audio guide.
You can also use an app to help you navigate along the route and find points of interest.
The Berlin Wall is an important part not only of German history but also of the 20th century Cold War era.