Berlin Wall Memorial
The Berlin Wall Memorial is a picturesque green space on the site of an old churchyard in Mitte, the city’s center. It is a commemoration to life during the 30-year division of Berlin.
When the Berlin Wall was built along the street called Bernauer Strasse in 1961, thousands of families and friends were instantly separated. After the construction of the wall, the original neo-Gothic church that stood here became stranded in no-man’s-land. It became a symbol of the divided city. The church was eventually demolished by the East Germans, just four years before the wall fell in 1989. Today you can visit its replacement, the Chapel of Reconciliation, which contains rubble from the original church in its pressed-clay walls.
Follow the plaques around the memorial site to read the political, social and engineering history of the wall. Rent an audio guide and listen to interviews with people who lived adjacent to this section of the wall, or take the inexpensive guided tour to hear the stories of the divided lives and escape attempts. Tours are held every Sunday; meet at the Visitor Center, where you can also pick up the audio guide, available in English and German.
A series of metal polls lining the road along Bernauer Strasse discreetly trace where the wall once stood. Look for the long line of stones marking the Stasi Tunnel, an escape route used by brave tunnel diggers. Don’t miss the murals that cover the sides of nearby buildings; the most impressive is a stencil of Peter Leibing's famous photo of a defecting soldier leaping over a barbed wire fence.
The Berlin Wall Memorial is historically significant, as it preserves not only sections of the wall, but an original watchtower and a stretch of no-man’s-land known as the "death zone." Visit the multilevel observation deck for commanding views over the entire area.
The memorial is centrally located and is easy to reach by public transport. It is open Tuesday through Sunday year-round.