Berlin Wall Memorial

Berlin Wall Memorial

Description

A GDR soldier jumping over the fence at the last moment. People jumping out of windows into sheets held out by West Berlin firemen – images of Bernauer Straße in August 1961 were seen all over the world. Today this historic location is the site of the Berlin Wall Memorial where the partition of Berlin is remembered. The large open air exhibition on the former border strip covers four areas with historical audio materials and pictures, a visitors’ centre and an observation tower. There is a 70-metre stretch on the Berlin Wall with border strip and watchtower directly on Bernauer Straße. The installation shows how the border was set up at the end of the 80s and gives visitors the lasting impression of the construction that once divided a country.

The exhibition in the documentation centre is on the other side of Bernauer Straße and shows the history of the construction of the wall in 1961. You can take a look at the remaining parts of the border crossing from a five-storey observation tower. There is also a Chapel of Reconciliation on the site. The former Church of Reconciliation was demolished in 1985 as it was directly on the border strip. Visitors to services in the new chapel regularly remember the victims of the Wall. The Window of Memorial on the site portrays the 130 people who were shot or died on the Berlin Wall.

Bernauer Straße, on the boundary between the districts of Wedding and Mitte, became a historical site with the erection of the Wall. The Berlin Wall was erected here in August 1961 directly in front of the East Berlin houses. Some residents decided to take flight at the last minute and used ropes to climb out their windows. Others were forced to move out and the windows of their flats were bricked over. The picture of the GDR soldier Conrad Schumann, who jumped over the barbed wire two days after the division of Berlin, is still famous today. Over the years the East Berliners constructed numerous escape tunnels around Bernauer Straße. When the partition of the city was finally over the first segments were broken off the Berlin Wall in the night from the 10th to the 11th of November 1989 in Bernauer Straße.

Tour 13 – Cycling Tour to the Berlin Wall Memorial

This cycling tour begins at the Mercure Hotel Berlin City at 38 Invalidenstraße. From the front door of the hotel, go to the right along Invalidenstraße and head east. Cross over Chauseestraße and turn left behind the Nordbahnhof rail station into Gartenstraße.

Nordbahnhof

The Nordbahnhof was once one of Berlin major terminal stations. It initially served long-distance trains and then suburban trains later on. Today, only S-Bahn trains, trams and buses stop here.

Bernauer Straße

Continue along Gartenstraße and then take a right at the next intersection onto Bernauer Straße. Bernauer Straße is one of the symbols of divided Germany: the Berlin Wall ran along this street until the reunification.

Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial)

This site is a national memorial to Berlin Wall, the division of Berlin, and those who were killed at the Wall. The memorial consists of the Kapelle der Versöhnung (Chapel of Reconciliation), the Dokumentationszentrum (Documentation Centre), and a section of the former border fortifications.

Mauerpark

Ride along Bernauer Straße until it becomes Eberswalder Straße. To the left is Mauerpark, a popular park which hosts a large flea market and an open-air karaoke event on Sundays.

Eberswalder Straße

In a couple of blocks, you’ll come upon the Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn station, one of the busiest intersections in Berlin. Here, the elevated U-Bahn, trams, cars, cyclists and pedestrians cross paths. At the weekends, it’s a popular place to meet up to hang out in Mauerpark and go to the surrounding bars, restaurants and cafés.

Insider Tip: Currywurst at Konnopke’s

You refuel with one of the famous currywurst from Konnopke’s under the elevated railway bridge on the central reservation of Schönhauser Allee.

Kastanienallee

At the Eberswalder Straße intersection, take a quick right onto Schönhauser Allee and then immediately turn right again onto Kastanienallee. This avenue is jokingly known as “Casting-Allee” because casting agents are said to have discovered so many beauties here.

Insider Tip: Prater Pilsner in the Beer Garden

Just after the Eberswalder intersection on the right-hand side you’ll find Berlin’s oldest beer garden, the Prater. In summer you can enjoy home-brewed beer here under the huge chestnut trees that give the Kastanienallee its name. In winter, the action moves inside the cosy restaurant.

Rosenthaler Platz

Ride down Kastanienallee, which after several blocks will become the Weinbergsweg as it passes theWeinbergspark to your right. Then after another short stretch, you’ll be at Rosenthaler Platz. Do watch out for the tram tracks! Until the 19th Century, this was the site of the Rosenthaler Tor, one of the few gates through which Jews could enter the city.

Rosenthaler Straße

Get off your bike at this busy intersection and cross over Brunnenstraße at the pedestrian signal. After crossing, hop back on your bike and ride down Brunnenstraße until it becomes Rosenthaler Straße, which will take you through the Rosenthal suburb.

Hackescher Markt

The Hackescher Markt is a busy traffic junction in the Spandau suburb. Numerous cafés, bars and shops invite you to take some time to shop and relax. Particularly interesting: the Hackesche Höfe, a beautifully restored building with eight rear courtyards. Walk your bike past the square in front of the Hackescher Markt S-Bahn station and then continue riding to the left onto Burgstraße. Burgstraße curves to the right onto a bridge over the Spree onto Museumsinsel (Museum Island). Stay on Burgstaße after it becomes Bodestraße and then cross the river again. Immediately after crossing the second bridge, turn right Am Kupfergraben.

Insider Tip: Museumsinsel

Museum Island is the northern tip of the Spree Island. It is home to five major museums: the Pergamonmuseum, the Neues Museum (New Museum), the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), the Bode-Museum and the Altes Museum (Old Museum).

Tourmap

The Banks of the Spree

Continue riding along the riverbank on Am Kupfergraben. Follow the curve of the river as the road changes names to Am Weidendamm and then Reichstagufer.

Insider Tip: Tränenpalast

To the left just before the railway bridge is the Tränenpalast (Palace of Tears). This building was constructed in 1962 as the departure hall for the Friedrichstraße border crossing station. The place got its name because of the many tearful farewells that were made here. After reunification, it became an events venue; it now hosts the permanent exhibition “GrenzErfahrungen. Alltag der deutschen Teilung " (Border Experiences: Everyday Life in Divided Germany).

Government District

Continue riding along the Spree riverbank. You’ll ride behind the Reichstag, home to the German Bundestag, see the Paul Löbe House, and come to the bend in the river, where the road becomes Ludwig-Erhard-Ufer.

Insider Tip: Reichstag (Bundestag)

The former Reichstag building is one of the most famous buildings in Berlin. It was built in 1894 and severely damaged in the Second World War. After the reunification, the building was restored and a spectacular glass dome was added. Since 1999, the Reichstag has been the seat of the German Bundestag. Visits are only possible after registration. Continue riding along the riverbank. You’ll pass the Kanzleramt, the official offices of the Federal Chancellery, which supports the Federal Chancellor. It was built in 2001.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt

After a few more minutes, you’ll see the golden “pregnant oyster" of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt(House of World Cultures ). The building was built as a congress hall and has been a venue for inter-cultural events since 1989. Continue along the riverbank until you reach John-Foster-Dulles-Allee. Continue following the river until you come to the Spreeweg. Take a right here and then turn immediately left onto the Bellevue-Ufer.

Schloss Bellevue

To the left of Bellevue-Ufer, you’ll see Schloss Bellevue (Bellevue Palace), the official residence of the German President. This stately building was built in 1786 and has been the President’s residence since 1994. To the left of the palace is the Office of the Federal President. Stay on Bellevue-Ufer and ride past the Bellevue palace park. After a while, the name of the road changes to Holsteiner Ufer. When you get to the Moabiter Brücke, cross the Spree and follow Helgoländer Weg on the opposite bank of the river, heading east. Stay on the road until it becomes Lüneburger Straße. When the road curves to the left, keep tp the right and cycle along the riverbank. Then just keep riding along the riverbank.

Insider Tip: Stop for a bite in the Zollpackhof

As you continue along the riverbank, you’ll find the Zollpackhof on your left, opposite the Kanzleramt. There you can grab some delicious food and refreshing drinks in the restaurant and beer garden.

Hauptbahnhof

As you continue riding along the riverbank, you’ll come to an intersection. To your left, you’ll see the striking building of Hauptbahnhof, Berlin’s new main station. Opened in 2006, this junction station is the most important train station in Berlin.

Invalidenstraße

Take a left onto Friedrich-List-Ufer and ride past the train station. At the next intersection, take a right onto Invalidenstraße. Follow Invalidenstraße to no. 38. And you’re now at the end of the tour. Kindly supported by Mercure Hotel Berlin City.

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