One of the most famous symbols of the tense Cold War era, the site of Checkpoint Charlie not only holds important historical significance, its intrigue has also made it a popular setting for several films over the years including James Bond franchises Octopussy and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
Acting as the main border crossing between East and West Berlin for allied forces and foreigners, Checkpoint Charlie was in use from 1961 to 1990 and was also the infamous location of the tank stand-off between the Soviet Union and United States. A replica of the guardhouse stands on the site today drawing in throngs of tourists, so it’s wise to visit early in the day to beat the crowds. A public open-air exhibit in its vicinity details the history of the Cold War and Checkpoint Charlie through words and imagery.
If you’re keen to know more, you can continue the history lesson by visiting the nearby Haus am Checkpoint Charlie Museum also located on Friedrichstrasse, which offers an array of exhibits relating to Checkpoint Charlie and the fascinating stories surrounding the Berlin Wall. When you’re ready to sit down, relax and let all the information sink in, consider a walk north from there to Gendarmenmarkt, an elegant public square embraced by the stunning classical architecture of two cathedrals (one French, one German) and a grand concert hall.
Checkpoint Charlie is located on the corner of Friedrichstrasse and Zimmerstrasse in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood. The closest U-Bahn station is Kochstrasse. Cold War history enthusiasts who wish to witness the original Checkpoint Charlie guardhouse can do so by visiting the AlliiertenMuseum (Allied Museum) located at Clayallee 135, with the closest U-Bahn station being Oskar-Helene-Heim.