The former Berlin Wall a symbol of democracy and the power of the people. Since Germany’s reunification 28 years ago, the Berlin Wall has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany.
So, how do you commemorate your visit? You could try to buy a piece of the wall, which would be a pretty cool souvenir. Then again, you might be buying a fake, especially in the countless souvenir shops immediately surrounding this iconic part of Germany’s capital. A better (free!) solution: find a good spot, and take a picture of the monument.
How can you make sure that the memories and pictures you take home will be as impressive as your actual experience? To help answer that question, consider our (relatively) comprehensive guide on the best places to take photos of the Berlin Wall.
1. Checkpoint Charlie
The iconic American border crossing is not just home to the checkpoint itself, but also a museum designed to educate visitors about the many daring escape attempts made by eastern Germans under Soviet rule. The piece of the wall by the checkpoint is under historical protection because it’s so well preserved, and the building itself makes for a perfect backdrop for your Berlin wall picture.
2. Berlin Wall Memorial
One of the longest remaining pieces of the wall is also home to a memorial, where multimedia exhibits teach visitors about the history of the wall. Here you can still see the Berlin Wall in its original state: largely without graffiti, and with the dreaded ‘death strip’ of no-man’s land.
3. East Side Gallery
In many ways, the East Side Gallery is the perfect counterpart to the memorial. At more than a mile long, the longest remaining continuous part of the wall has also been turned into one of the longest outdoor art galleries in the world. You can wander the entire length, studying the stories and graffiti of those praying to make their escape from East to West. Today, more than 100 paintings are displayed for a great photo op.
4. Potsdamer Platz
The Sony Center, in contrast to the historical wall, is full of futuristic architecture. Nothing shows off the daunting bleakness of the construction better than a direct contrast of glass-covered modern buildings. One note of caution: the segments of the wall here are not original, but transported from other parts of the city. The watchtower in the immediate vicinity of the plaza is another somber reminder of a seemingly hopeless past.
The “Death Zone”- which is a somber memorial at other photo spots- has instead been turned into a lively summer destination at Mauerpark. Here, graffiti-filled segments offer natural boundaries to open-air concerts, dog walkers, and more. And the artists are still at work: to see the transformation of the Berlin Wall in real time, snap a picture of a graffiti artist commemorating freedom in his or her own way as you visit.
More than a quarter-century after it was first torn down during the early parts of Germany’s reunification efforts, the Berlin Wall is no longer as imposing as it once was. Still, it remains an absolutely vital spot to visit for anyone looking to appreciate a centerpiece of recent European history.
The five spots above can help you find the perfect places to take pictures of this central German monument. But ultimately it’s the experience that counts, as the overwhelming feeling of appreciation and the will of the people shines through.