14 April, 2014
Many books have been written and many films made with the city of Berlin as the backdrop, whether they concern the days of the Second World War or the subsequent Cold War . In all these stories, the wall that divided the city appeared as an undeniable symbol of those years of chaos that changed the world for ever. But if you had to choose one place that summed up the paranoia experienced in the German capital up until 1989, it would undoubtedly be Checkpoint Charlie: the most famous border crossing of all the checkpoints along the wall that used to separate the zone controlled by the USA from that controlled by the Soviets (where today it joins the districts of Mitte and Kreuzberg).
As a memorial to this recent past and the history of the German capital throughout the 20th Century, today you can find a replica of the border checkpoint booth standing in its original position. As a result, tourists strolling down the central avenue of Friedrichstraße can appreciate what it felt like to make the crossing from East Berlin to West Berlin and everything that this meant during those days of political tension. Furthermore, next to Checkpoint Charlie you can find the popular museum dedicated to the history of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War. A chaotic place (as its own history tells), but full of fascinating objects and images, such as a t-shirt signed by Keith Haring or the homemade ultralights that were made to fly over the wall undetected by the soldiers.
One interesting fact to tell you: this border post was christened Charlie as a result of the phonetic alphabet used by NATO. As it was the third checkpoint in the city, it corresponded to the letter C (as the first two were Alpha and Bravo).
By David Moreu
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14 April, 2014