A guided walk along the Berlin Wall Trail from Bornholmer Straße to Hauptbahnhof...
The Berlin Wall was – in the words of British Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell – an “extraordinary phenomenon”. It remains, in its absence, extraordinary to this day; as a site of memory that is also a bike path, a memorial where people walk their dogs or commute to work, and a structure that – with a few notable exceptions – barely exists beyond memory and imagination, and yet continues to shape the landscape of the city and the lives of those who live in it.
On this walk we will follow the trail for seven kilometres, from Bornholmer Straße where the first checkpoint was opened on that memorable night in 1989 to the Hauptbahnhof, one of the more visible symbols of reunification and the “New Berlin” that has emerged over the past two decades.
Along the way we will walk through the Mauerpark, along Bernauer Straße – and stories of dramatic and tragic escapes across the border – to the Wall Memorial, and then through the Park am Nordbahnhof to the backstreets between Mitte and Wedding, where we will discover remnants not only of the Wall but of Berlin’s industrial past and explore the city’s 21st Century present and future.
We will pass a former guard tower that now houses a memorial to Günther Litfin, the first person to be shot and killed attempting to cross the border, and finish on the banks of the Spree, in sight of the new government district built to mark Berlin’s return not only as capital but also seat of government of reunified Germany. The tour will reflect not only on the history of the Berlin Wall but also its legacy as the Mauerweg, tracing the invisible border.
About the Tour Leader
Paul Scraton is the co-author of Mauerweg: Stories from the Berlin Wall Trail, published by Slow Travel Berlin, and this walk reflects a long standing interest in the history of the divided city that resulted in the Traces of a Border project, collecting stories from the entire length of the Berlin Wall Trail. Paul is the editor in chief of Elsewhere: A Journal of Place and has lived in Berlin, within walking distance of the former border, for fifteen years. His personal website is Under a Grey Sky.
€20 per person for 2-3 hours. Private tours and groups can be arranged in advance.