At the intersection of Zimmerstraße and Friedrichstraße, Checkpoint Charlie is still an impressive reminder of Germany's most famous former border crossing and the time of the Cold War. Today the wall has disappeared and the watchtowers and barriers of the former military checkpoint have been replaced by replicas, which are amongst Berlin's most popular photo themes. Experience the whole history in the Wall Museum or take a fast Trabitour along the former course of the Wall.
Contemporary witness of the divided city
When Berlin was divided, Checkpoint Charlie was Berlin's best-known American-controlled border crossing point alongside Glienicke Bridge. At the time of the Cold War, nowhere was the atmosphere as icy as here. Checkpoint Charlie became famous after the Wall was built in October 1961, when Soviet and American tanks took a stand and stood face to face with live ammunition. Due to the tense situation at that time, it was feared the Third World War could break out. Over the following years, Checkpoint Charlie was again and again the scene of dramatic escape attempts which often had fatal outcomes. After the reunification of Germany, the Wall was quickly demolished and space was created for historical institutions that impressively document this site steeped in history. The Wall Museum pictorially describes numerous escape attempts and exhibits various aids to help escapes. An impressive open-air exhibition at the corner of Zimmerstraße and Schützenstraße tells the story of failed and successful illegal border crossings. Today, you can also pose in front of the Allied flags at Checkpoint Charlie together with uniformed "border guards" for a souvenir photo.
History and film set
The name Checkpoint Charlie comes from the international alphabet. According to this alphabet, the Helmstedt-Marienborn border was called Checkpoint Alpha and the Drewitz-Dreilinden border was Checkpoint Bravo in addition to Checkpoint Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie became the third checkpoint for members of the Allied Forces who were registered here from August 1961 before crossing the border and entering East Berlin. Only a short time later, in October 1961, a tank confrontation between the Russians and Americans set the stage for a Cold War. But not only German history was written in this place. Hollywood also took advantage of the memorable setting and shot the James Bond classic "Octopussy" and numerous spy thrillers at Checkpoint Charlie. "The spy who came in from the cold" is just one of them.
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