On my first trip to Germany, the city I most wanted to visit was the capital, Berlin. I will admit that beyond awareness of the existence of the Berlin Wall, my knowledge of the city’s history was shamefully poor. Though I learned a great deal in the four days that I spent in the city, I realise that I had only scratched the surface of Berlin’s rich cultural heritage.
One of the first monuments I saw was the Holocaust Memorial in the Friedrichstadt district. Walking through the memorial, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sombre atmosphere and experience isolation as one becomes lost.
I then visited one of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks of the Cold War Era, Checkpoint Charlie. This was the main crossing point between East and West Berlin. My ignorance of Berlin’s history became apparent when I visited the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. The museum played a large role in the fall of the wall as its founder protested against it.
“Be as near as possible to injustice, where human size is the strongest.” – Dr Rainer Hildebrandt, founder of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum.
Finally, the Berlin Wall. I walked for hours alongside sections of the wall that were still standing. In particular, the East Side Gallery which consists of over 100 paintings from 1990 that feature political ideas.
A link to the Gallery can be found here: East Side Gallery
While bullet holes still scar the older buildings, it is impossible to overlook the magnificence of Berlin.