Friday, 7 November 2014

Mauerfall: 25 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall

I first encountered the Berlin Wall in 1994, five years after its fall.

Narrelle and I had travelled by train to Berlin from Kraków, Poland, where we'd been teaching English in a private school.

Over our week or so in Berlin we had a chance to see the Wall - or its remnants - in various parts of the German capital.

There were the obvious, iconic places to visit: the Brandenburg Gate, for example, which the Wall had skirted; and the East Side Gallery, adorned with paintings from international artists.

We also noted some quirks left behind by the fall of Die Mauer (the German name for the Wall). The U1 Metro line, for example, ended abruptly just short of the Spree River where it had been cut by the barrier's erection. A year later, it would be reconnected to the former East Berlin.

As a history student with a particular interest in 20th century European history, the Wall loomed large in my first visit to Berlin.

So it was with a sense of anticipation that I returned to Berlin in September this year and headed to a section of Die Mauer I'd never seen before.

The stretch of the Wall which ran along the south side of Bernauer Strasse has now been preserved as the official Berlin Wall Memorial.

It's a fascinating linear park comprising a stretch of the Wall, secondary fortifications and paths used by East German guards, remnants of a demolished church and apartment buildings, and the paths of tunnels dug beneath the barrier.

There's also a sad memorial to those killed trying to cross the Wall, and a circular chapel where the church once stood.

It's a fascinating memorial, and no doubt I'll write about it at length in the future.

For now though, to mark the 25th anniversary of Mauerfall on 9 November 1989, here's a selection of photos I took on a sunny Berlin day with history hanging heavy in the air...

Disclosure time: I travelled to Berlin by train courtesy of Railbookers.