|Berlin Wall Memorial Visitor Center|
From August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989, a nasty line cut through Berlin's entire city center: The notorious Berlin Wall, built to prevent citizens of the GDR from fleeing to the West. West Berlin was an island located in the middle of the GDR.
As the wall alone couldn't stop people from trying to escape from the GDR regime, it was additionally fortified by a death strip all along the border, as well as a "shoot-to-kill" order.
The area along the restricted zone was patrolled, watchtowers were set up, signal fences giving silent alarms were installed and the land around the border was declared no-man's-land and was lit up bright as day during the night.
Observation platforms in the West allowed tourists and West Berliners to sneak a peek "over the fence" into an other world.
In the peaceful revolution of 1989, the guards of Bornholmer Straße border opened the gates on November 9th without formal order and masses of people flocked to the West.
The Berlin Wall Memorial partly is an open-air museum and the memorial grounds on the former border strip are open all year round. Admission is free. There also is a viewing platform at the Documentation Center (Bernauer Strasse 111). Don't miss it!
If you are up to some research, check out the specialized bookstore on the history of the Berlin Wall in the Visitor Center.
A really intriguing and actually quite spooky part of the Berlin Wall history is on display in the Nordbahnhof S-Bahn station: The "Ghost Station Exhibition".
What is this?
As a result of all the wall building and the busy cutting the city in two halves, public transport network had to be divided too. Three lines that passed through the city center and a short stretch of East Berlin territory stayed open to West Berliners while East Berlin stations were closed down.