Berlin: 25 Years Later

The city celebrates the anniversary of the wall's fall


The historic fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, after weeks of nonviolent protests, heralded Germany's reunification. This year, Berlin celebrates the 25th anniversary of that cataclysmic event with tours, exhibitions, and a giant light installation marking the wall's path.

A hop-on/hop-off bus route, the City Circle Purple Tour, offers a new way to experience wall-related sites, including Mauerpark, the street-art-covered East Side Gallery, and the Berlin Wall Memorial. The memorial, which features a stretch of the wall, has three new self-guided mobile tours, ranging from 30 minutes to two hours.

• Scheduled to open in late summer, the Berlin Spy Museum will celebrate the city's pre-eminence in espionage history with artifacts from World War II and tales of Cold War derring-do. On display will be the notorious Enigma machine used by Germany during World War II to code and decode secret messages.

• The recently opened Museum at the Kulturbrauerei, located in an old brewery, has a free exhibition on "Everyday Life in the GDR" that illustrates the impact of government control on private life in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

• Through August, the Deutsches Historisches Museum displays "Color for the Republic: Commissioned Photography on Life in the GDR," with never-before-shown images of state-owned companies, agricultural collectives, kindergartens, old-age homes, and the lives of women.

• The Memorial Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, once East Germany's main prison, features an exhibition on political persecution in East Germany from 1945 to 1989.

• In November, the Berlin Wall Memorial opens a comprehensive exhibition about the wall's history.

Nov. 8-9, a light installation will mark 7.5 miles along the wall's path with about 8,000 illuminated helium balloons. At five spots, the balloons will be released, symbolizing the wall's breaching.

In other cities

• Leipzig celebrates its role in the so-called Peaceful Revolution leading to German reunification with a Festival of Lights on Oct. 9 and a weekend of events, exhibitions, and concerts. Audio, video, and light installations will be placed along the demonstration route where protestors once lit candles for freedom. Among the exhibitions will be "Leipzig on the Path to the Peaceful Revolution" at the city's Museum in the Runden Ecke, in the former headquarters of the East German secret police, or Stasi.,  

• Dresden is assembling a Dresden Revolution Trail to commemorate its role in the Peaceful Revolution. Key sites on the trail include the Bautzner Strasse Memorial at former Stasi headquarters, where demonstrators gathered to halt the destruction of secret files; Angelikastrasse 4, the KGB villa where Vladimir Putin reputedly burned incriminating documents; and the rebuilt Frauenkirche, where German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's speech paved the way for reunification. On the evenings of Oct. 2-5, Dresden Reflect will offer an interactive sound-and-light show iluminating the city's buildings.,,,


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