One of the most eye opening things you can do in Berlin is take a walking tour of the Berlin Wall. Standing in Kreuzberg makes you realise how close the wall and the ‘death strip’ came to houses and other buildings, and how claustrophobic (to say the least) life must have been to those living on both sides. I doubt there is much that can give you a better idea of the militarization of the wall as standing next to one of concrete guard towers the Soviets used in their ever-escalating efforts to stop people escaping. And there is nothing as breathtaking as seeing the memorials dotted around Berlin for those who died trying to flee to the west, to intermittently stumble upon a line in the street that marks where the wall once imposed itself, or to realise that much of the wall was recycled and used to pave streets. I could have been walking on the wall the entire time.

awallapart

There are few pieces of the wall left standing around Berlin, but this is probably my favourite. All alone the middle of a business park east of Potsdamer Platz. The juxtaposition between the communist past -through an icon of oppressive socialism, and the capitalist present – galleries, coffee shops and banks, is probably nowhere more clear. Not to mention that that is contemporary graffiti we see on the front there.

berlinmauer

A brass plaque that makes up part of the line showing where the wall used to stand.

towerohnedeathstrip

Watching Berliners nonchalantly walking past these guard towers, fiddling with their phones, is a clear indication of how far the wall has receded in the collective memory.

wallcrosses

One of a series of memorials in front of the Reichstag to commemorate those who died trying to flee the east.