This year, Germany marks the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall, a barrier that isolated East Berlin from West Berlin for almost 30 years and was a powerful physical symbol of the Cold War. On August 13, 1961, authorities in East Berlin ordered the construction of the Wall in order to stem the tide of Germans moving from Communist East Berlin to Capitalist West Berlin. When it was completed, the Wall was 28 miles long, 12 feet high, and included gun towers, razor wire, and land mines on its eastern side.
To commemorate this historic anniversary, visitors to Berlin can learn more about the Wall in three poignant ways:1) The first place visitors should go to learn more about the Wall is the Berlin Wall Memorial, which contains the largest remaining sections of both sides of the Wall, a documentation center, and memorials to the many victims who died trying to escape East Berlin.
2) The German Historical Museum is currently hosting an exhibit of the photography of Thomas Hoepker and Daniel Biskup, two West German photographers who used their lenses to document life in East Berlin during and after the Berlin Wall. Aptly, the exhibit ends on October 3, Germany’s Unity Day.
3) Finally, of course, there’s an app for that. The Mauerguide is an app that relies on GPS to guide users along the original path of the Berlin Wall. In addition to its maps and handy walking instructions, the Mauerguide includes political and historical information about the Wall, film clips, and interviews.
[Photo credit: Thierry Noir via Wikipedia]