Goodbye, Wall!

The mighty wall that once cleaved this city in two was de­mol­ished 25 years ago. On the eve of this his­toric an­niver­sary, Hilda Hoy and Solveig Steinhardt re­vis­ited the Berlin Wall’s most last­ing im­prints on the city – from phys­i­cal to po­lit­i­cal to psy­chol


The Berlin Wall has fallen! Ex­plore the Wall's foot­prints on the city 25 years on.

E very­thing can change in just two and a half decades – and in Berlin, ev­ery­thing has. What was once one of the most no­to­ri­ous di­vided ter­ri­to­ries in the world, one in which for­mer coun­try­men were kept apart un­der threat of per­se­cu­tion and even death, is now a united cap­i­tal city once again. In the 25 years since the Berlin Wall was struck down, the city has bloomed. The des­o­late waste­lands that were the Wall’s grimly yet fit­tingly nick­named “Death Strip” are now home to parks and mod­ern build­ings. Free­dom is taken for granted. Lo­cals and tourists alike step blithely over the line of cob­ble­stones (p. 39) that marks the Mauer­weg where the im­pen­e­tra­ble wall once stood.

This month, to mark the mo­men­tous an­niver­sary of 9 Novem­ber, 1989, the city will be light­ing up the Mauer­weg for an en­tire week­end. From 7 Novem­ber, a 15-km stretch through the city cen­ter will be lined with glow­ing he­lium bal­loons, which will then be re­leased up into the sky at dusk on the 9th, a buoy­ant re­minder of the free­dom that this city has en­joyed for two and a half decades. There's a lot to dis­cover about the Berlin Wall. Take a walk along the Mauer­weg, marked in pink on our map (p. 73) and ex­plore the his­tory and sto­ries of the in­fa­mous bar­rier.

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