Berlin

Berlin

Checkpoint Charlie was a crossing point between East and West Berlin, located at the junction of Friedrichstrasse with Zimmerstrasse and Mauerstrasse.This site is important because from 1961 to 1990 it functioned as the main entry and departing point for diplomats, journalists and non-German visitors traveling between the East and West of the city. It was named Charlie, following the NATO phonetic alphabet. Checkpoint Alpha was at Helmstedt, with Checkpoint Bravo located at Dreilinden.

Checkpoint Charlie has appeared in many movies and has been the subject of countless “Cold War” spy novels. At first glance the visitor could be rather under whelmed, but with Cobblestones marking the exact line of the former border, it acts as a poignant reminder that Checkpoint Charlie is a true iconic location where Capitalism and Communism came into direct conflict.

Checkpoint Charlie 2After unification, a copy of the original American guard house and bourder sign that was erected in 1961 was placed on the site and has become a must see tourist attraction, where for a fee, they can have their pictures taken with actors dressed as border guards.

Checkpoint Charlie 3A picture of the original building erected in 1961 manned this time with real guards. In the early years, Checkpoint Charlie was the site of a number of stand-offs between America and the Soviet union, the most tense being in 1961 with both American and Soviet tanks comming face to face at this very spot.

The Eastern side was expanded to include not only the wall, but a watchtower and zig-zag barriers, there was also a multi-laned shed where cars and their occupants could be checked. This was in contrast to the American side where dispite a number of changes, the building always appeared in the form of a very temporary structure.

Over the years, the building was replaced several times with others of different sizes and designs. This is a picture of the last one, a metal structure which was removed in 1990. This is the building that can now be seen in the Allied Museum in Zehlendorf.

Checkpoint Charlie 1 Checkpoint Charlie 4

Checkpoint Charlie