For over twenty-five years, the Berlin Wall divided a city and served as a glaring example of the horrors of the Cold War. The twentieth anniversary of when the wall was torn down November 9, 2009, making this the perfect year to visit the Berlin Wall.
When the wall came down on November 9, 1989, it was divided into large sections that Germany gave as gifts and into smaller chunks that people sold as souvenirs. There are advantages and disadvantages to that because if you want to visit the Berlin Wall, you don't necessarily have to go to Berlin; but, if you do go, you have to know where to look.
Pieces are now all over the globe, proof that even people who didn't live in the divided Germany were touched by the existence of that concrete scar. If you would like to commemorate this anniversary by visiting the Berlin Wall but are unable to make a trip to Germany, look around - there may be a large piece near you. Several pieces are in the United States, including a section in Manhattan on 53rd Street. Pieces are also in some presidential libraries throughout the country. There are pieces in Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia as well.
If you visit the Berlin Wall in its original home, there are several places to find it. One section is at Checkpoint Charlie, near the location where the wall actually stood for all of those years. The largest section of the wall stands by the river Spree near the Ostbahnhof. This section had fallen into disrepair but artists will help restore and refresh it as part of many planned anniversary celebrations. Another piece is located inside Europa Center, a large shopping and business center near the Berlin Zoo.
No matter which section you visit, seeing this piece of history with your own eyes enables you to interpret its artwork. Many sections still bear original artwork by those who lived in the wall's shadow. Haunting eyes stare at you from pieces at Europa Center and in New York City. Did the citizens of Berlin twenty years ago feel as if they were always being watched? Or were they telling the guards they were watching and would someday bear witness to what had been done to them? Either way, a visit to the Berlin Wall, especially in its anniversary year, is a moving experience so do some research and find a way to see it for yourself.