Tracing history: the course of the Berlin Wall through the heart of the city
Where was the Berlin Wall? Where were the checkpoints? Where are remnants of the wall still visible? These are the questions that everyone who comes to the capital in search of history asks. The Land of Berlin's official 3D city model, which now documents the entire course of the Berlin Wall between East and West, provides the answers.
The model shows the city as it exists today as well as the course of the wall, including the border wall, the secondary barriers behind it, and the no-man's land in between. Beginning at the Brandenburg Gate, users can chart a customized, virtual, 3D tour of history. Wall remnants and former checkpoints can be located using the menu buttons. The model shows the location of documentation centers, memorials, the "Berlin Wall History Mile" and various public art projects related to the wall. Some specifically marked sites related to the history of the city's division are linked within the 3D model to further resources.
The information is displayed using Google Earth technology. All you need are a standard Web browser and a free plug-in.
Berlin Wall in Google Earth
For best results, a broadband internet connection (DSL) is recommended.
The Berlin Wall in Google Earth
The 3D Model of the Berlin Wall provides the following information in particular:
Former border strip between the West-facing "Vorderland" border wall and the secondary "Hinterland" Wall within East Berlin
After August 13th, 1961, the East German government began reinforcing the border between East and West Berlin to create a multi-layered security system. Border walls and fences were up to 3.6 meters high. The "death strip" between the East- and West-facing walls could have a width of between five and several hundred meters. The 3D model shows that, today, the former border zone has been mostly effaced by new construction. In some places, it has been preserved as green space or memorials, becoming part of the landscape of memory. The 3D model shows the West-facing "Vorderland" border wall in red and the secondary, East-facing "Hinterland" wall in blue. The political border, upon which the fate of many refugees hinged, is marked in yellow where it does not coincide with the course of the west-facing Wall.
Traces of the Wall
Today, 100 meters of the border wall and the secondary wall have been preserved as a listed historical monument.
Former checkpoints between East and West Berlin
Between August 22nd, 1961 and November 9th, 1989, there were seven official border crossing points and one train crossing between East and West Berlin. A transit road with various additional crossing points connected West Germany with West Berlin.
Memorials and monuments along the Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall Memorial, the Wall Memorial in the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus / Parliament of Trees, and other memorials stand in tribute to the victims of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall Memorial and the Lüders Haus / Parliament of Trees were established after the fall of the Wall in 1989. Other memorials were created between 1961 and 1989 in West Berlin. They document the culture of memory around the Berlin Wall.
Documentation centers and museums along the course of the Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall Documentation Center and the Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie explain the political background of Berlin's division and document individual fates and escape attempts. They are both located directly on the course of the wall. Further documentation centers can be found at various locations throughout the city.
Other important Wall sites
Remnants of the wall are preserved at the site of the "Topography of Terror" exhibit. The East-facing "Hinterland" wall along Mühlenstrasse was decorated by artists and is known all over the world as the "East Side Gallery." Elsewhere, the desire to see the two halves of the city reunited as one cohesive urban space has prevailed.
Berlin Wall history mile / Berlin Wall path
The former course of the Berlin Wall is marked on the ground by a strip of paving stones and cast-iron plaques that read "Berlin Wall 1961-1989". The Berlin Wall History Mile is a walking route with historic photos and information in four languages about events that took place at specific locations along the route. The history mile has 29 stations.
Seven artistic monuments mark the former checkpoints between East and West Berlin. They were selected through a contest in 1996 and realized by the Land of Berlin between 1997 and 1999.
Here, you will find other sites, like the Chapel of Reconciliation on Bernauer Strasse or the Soviet Monument in Treptow.