Article (A) guide: Cold War Walking Tour

Cold War Walking Tour
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No place on Earth stood at the heart of the 20th Century conflict between the ideological poles of Communism and Capitalism like Berlin. A divided city in a divided Germany in a divided Europe in a divided world. Discover the surviving traces of the Cold War on this tour that includes the Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and astonishing Soviet architecture. Step this way to discover what life was like behind the Iron Curtain.

Walk Route

Guide Name: Cold War Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Berlin
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 km
Author: Josie Le Blond
Author Bio: Josie is a freelance journalist and translator currently living in Berlin. She graduated from Birmingham University in 2009, where she read History and German.

1) Alexanderplatz

Let’s start our tour at the old centre of the East German capital, Alexanderplatz. After the war, architects were commissioned by the City Council to rebuild this area as a symbol of a new, modern Berlin with wide open spaces and futuristic architecture. In the early 1960s, the entire eastern city centre was radically redesigned. You can still see the fruits of the revamp along Karl Marx Allee from Alexanderplatz right the way down to Frankfurter Tor. Buildings were constructed using...
Image by Pokrajac under Creative Commons License.
TV Tower

2) TV Tower

The Fernsehturm or TV Tower (you can’t miss it, just look up) is, at 368 metres, the highest building in Germany and among the highest structures in Europe. In the early fifties the GDR Government began plans on a new transmission tower in Berlin that would broadcast state television. The original site, outside the city in the Müggelberg mountains, was abandoned when designers realised that it would stand in the flight path of the planned airport at Schönefeld. At the same time a grand...
Image by Kindrob under Creative Commons License.
Marx and Engels Forum

3) Marx and Engels Forum

Moving on now, through the park in front of the TV tower we come to the Marx and Engels Forum, which consists of a wide, circular open space. The centrepiece is a bronze statue of the founders of Socialism, created by sculptor Ludwig Engelhart. Karl Marx is shown sitting down beside his partner Friedrich Engels who is shown standing. Together they were responsible for writing the Communist Manifesto in 1848, the founding political text of East German Socialism. In front of the statue are several...
Image by Bronks under Creative Commons License.
Palace of the Republic Site

4) Palace of the Republic Site

Over the river Spree and onto Museum Island we come to the site of the old Palast der Republik, a wide open space to the left of the Cathedral. Before the War the site was home to the Prussian royal palace, and seat of the Kaisers before 1918. The grand Prussian palace was badly damaged by allied bombing during the Second World War. It was finally demolished by the East German Government in 1950, who considered it a symbol of Prussian imperialism. Work began in 1973 on a cultural building which...
Image by Beek100 under Creative Commons License.
1953 Uprising Memorial

5) 1953 Uprising Memorial

You are now standing at the corner of Detlev-Rohwedder Haus, one of the largest surviving buildings from the Nazi period in Berlin. The building itself has an interesting history. Built in 1935, it served as the headquarters of the Nazi air force until 1945, when it was taken over by the Soviet military authorities. Under the GDR the building housed various ministries and government offices. In 1952 Soviet realist artist Max Linger created the mural on the side of the building to commemorate the...
Image by Jensens under Creative Commons License.
Wall Remnants

6) Wall Remnants

Here we have it, what you’ve been waiting for, the Wall itself. This is one of the largest surviving sections of the Berlin wall, along with the East Side Gallery, a kilometre long stretch at Ostbahnhof. Many visitors come to Berlin expecting to see something a bit more impressive than this decaying strip of concrete. It’s important to remember, however, that the concrete wall itself was the final hurdle in a series of formidable security measures designed to prevent citizens escaping to the...
Image by Thesoul intruder under Creative Commons License.
Checkpoint Charlie

7) Checkpoint Charlie

After the war the Allies divided Germany and Berlin into four sectors ruled by the Americans, British, French and the Soviets. In 1947 the British and American sectors were joined and the year after that the French sector also became part of what was to become West Germany. The same happened in Berlin, leaving the city and the country, in fact the whole of Europe divided between the opposing ideologies of Capitalism and Communism. West Berlin was now an isolated island surrounded by Soviet...
Image by Denis Apel (Stardado) under Creative Commons License.


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