Checkpoint Charlie is one of the most-known and -visited places when it comes to East Germany, the German Democratic Republic. Checkpoint Charlie was used as a crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin at the Berlin Wall from 1961 until 1990. “Checkpoint C” is still visible nowadays and together with the Checkpoint Charlie Museum a Place full of History and a Sightseeing-Must in Berlin.
But, today’s Checkpoint Charlie has just little to do with the real Checkpoint. Rather, everything’s just for show and for tourists. Back in 2000, 10 years after the official fall of the German wall, the East German Checkpoint Watchtower was demolished to make way for commercial-buildings. This watchtower was the last original Checkpoint C structure that survived. For comparison, this is how the famous Checkpoint Charlie looked in Reality back then.
In the same year the replica of the Checkpoint in the middle of the street was built, the real one can be found at the Allied Museum in Steglitz-Zehlendorf very close to Berlin. If you are wondering, the sand sacks are not really sand, they are made of concrete.
All around Checkpoint Charlie Restaurants, Shops (selling fake military items) and monumental places can be found. What I really enjoyed was the Open-Air Exhibition along Friedrich-, Zimmer- and Schützenstraße. These Boards inform about the Wall, the numerous escapes, the successful as the failed, the remembrance and memorial sites and about the “German division and the Berlin Wall”. The former position of the wall is marked all over Berlin and can be found sometimes more, sometimes less visible. Instead of always looking up you have to look down in Berlin as well.
If you want some deeper information about the German Democratic Republic I can highly recommend to visit the Mauermuseum – Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. This one already opened in 1963 and more than 850000 people visited it in 2008.
Where Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin located?
Checkpoint Charlie is located at the former Berlin Wall, separating Berlin Mitte (former Berlin East) and Kreuzberg (former Berlin West). The U-Bahn Station is Kochstraße / Checkpoint Charlie.
It’s still in walking distance from other Sights like the Brandenburg Gate or Alexanderplatz. The Hop-On/Hop-Off Busses drive by as well.
Address Checkpoint Charlie: Friedrichstraße 43-45 (location on the map)