Germany Travel > Country > German Cities > Berlin > Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie and Friedrichstraße

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With the construction of the wall, Americans erected Checkpoint Charlie on Sunday August 13th, 1961, in the Friedrichstraße. It was named Charlie, following the NATO phonetic alphabet. Checkpoint Alpha was at Helmstedt, the autobahn checkpoint passing from West Germany into East Germany; Checkpoint Bravo was at Dreilinden, where motor traffic left East Germany and entered West Berlin. During the remainder of the Cold War, Checkpoint Charlie became a synonym for both separation, and — for the East Germans — freedom. John le Carré used Checkpoint Charlie in his novels. The Berlin wall fell in 1989 and Germany was reunified in 1990.

Friedrichstrasse (strasse = street), on which the checkpoint is located, is the most legendary street in the whole city. It combines the architecture of the New Berlin with the tradition of the "Golden Twenties." In the Twenties, the 3.5 km long street was the location for pleasure palaces, cafés, theatres and variety theatres such as the famous "Wintergarten." After the division of the city, the Wall also cut through this street. The world famous Checkpoint Charlie was located at the border of the districts of Kreuzberg and Mitte and thus at the border of East and West Berlin. Today, the checkpoint is commemorated by a border sign and a soldier's post.

Checkpoint Charlie with Friedrichstrasse — Berlin [Photo: Raymond]
Checkpoint Charlie

The underground station (U-Bahn) remains rather more tragically in the minds of many East and West Berliners as the border crossing point between the two Germanys. The former customs hall, known as the "Tränenpalast" (Palace of Tears), now hosts arts and entertainment events.

When you go further north you will find the Friedrichstadtpalast, which offers revue theatre of international standing. I myself was in there one time — just amazing! When you go to the southern half of Friedrichstrasse, you will find countless new buildings, including the Friedrichstadtpassagen, with boutiques, offices and restaurants. They feature the newest architectural design. Or the 'Galeries Lafayette', located in the Quartier 207. It invites you to shopping and window-shopping in the French fashion, and they offer a range of French specialties. The connecting Quartier 206 boasts an extravagant Art Déco style. It has a lot of boutiques of countless top designers.

Not only visitors but also the employees from the new, chic offices, agencies and media centers all enjoy the urban spirit and New York flair of the new Friedrichstraße.


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How to get to Checkpoint Charlie
S-Bahn (Suburban Railway) S 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 25, 75
Exit: Friedrichstraße
U-Bahn (Underground) U 6
Exit Friedrichstraße
MetroBus MetroBus 1
Exit Friedrichstraße
Car / Taxi Car / Taxi
Destination: Friedrichstraße
Note: You don't know the above signs? Here is an explanation.
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Germany Travel > Country > German Cities > Berlin > Checkpoint Charlie