Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie is probably one of the more well known sites in Berlin from the Cold War era of the city, and while there is a lot of history to this location, it is a bit overrated.  There is, frankly, just not much to see here.  The guard house from this famous crossroad of the former East and West Germany remains, as does the “You are leaving the American sector” sign, but that’s really it.  If you’re really in need of a momento, for 2 euros you can have your picture made with two German guys dressed as US soldiers, with the guard house serving as a backdrop.

Checkpoint Charlie is a stop on all the “hop on, hop off” bus routes, so if you find yourself on one of those, it is worth the stop just to say you’ve been there.  Adjacent to the guard house is a small outdoor museum associated with the “Black Box”, which is very informative about the history of the wall and Checkpoint Charlie.  From there you can walk West on Zimmerstrasse and you’ll find the longest remaining, unrestored section of the Berlin Wall.  In its shadow you’ll find a free outdoor museum chronicling the rise and fall of the Nazi party, which my wife and I found extremely interesting and informative.  Unfortunately half of the exhibit was closed this year due to maintenance, but it was still worth visiting.  This section of the Wall is also a stop on the “hop on, hop off” buses, so you can be picked up here if you like.

All in all, the area around Checkpoint Charlie is extremely interesting and worth a time investment… I just found the site itself to be a bit disappointing.

–Dan Thompson

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