Bringing down barriers: The Berlin Wall Around the World
Built in 1961 and spanning 155 kilometres, the Berlin Wall was designed to completely cut West Berlin off from East Germany and East Berlin and protect the country from fascist elements, according to those in the Eastern Bloc.
It was a physical division and the symbolic boundary between democracy and communism during the Cold War. The wall was so effective that emigration was essentially halted until 1989 – 5000-plus people tried to escape to “the other side”; many were killed in the process. A series of radical political changes in 1989 saw politicians announce, on November 9, that East Germans could visit the West, and vice versa. Thousands of people scaled the wall, gradually chipping away at the structure, which officially toppled in 1990 and paved the way for German reunification.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall, Berlin will host a parade of commemorative events throughout November, the highlight being a dazzling light show that will see thousands of illuminated, helium-filled balloons strung up to form a 12-kilometre border running from the city centre, along Bernauer Straße, past the Berlin Wall Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie, and finally to Kreuzberg and along the River Spree to the Oberbaum Bridge.
Take a look at images of segments of the wall, which are kept as monuments in many countries from Taiwan to South Africa and Costa Rica: