Cross from East Berlin into West Berlin at Brandenburg Gate
Excerpt from the book Single White Female Backpacker from the Teresa the Traveler Series:
Brandenburg Gate & Pariser Plaza
Our next stop was at Pariser Platz where we sat down at the Starbucks and Christine had her first ever cup of Starbucks coffee. Apparently there is no Starbucks in her hometown, again, how tragic!
We sat at a sidewalk table and watched tourists snap pictures of Brandenburg Gate, the only remaining city gate in Berlin. At one time walking through it meant you were formally entering Berlin. It was commissioned by King Fredrick William II of Prussia as a symbol of peace then later used by the Nazi’s as a symbol of their regime. It was one of the few structures in Pariser Platz to survive WWII.
In 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected in front of the gate to divide West and East Berlin then in 2000 the gate was restored and turned into a cobblestone pedestrian zone.
The famous gate has been the location of numerous historical events such as in 1963, when United States President John F. Kennedy visited and the Soviets hung huge banners across the gate so he could not see into East Berlin.
On June 12th1987, President Ronald Reagan spoke to the people of West Berlin at Brandenburg Gate where he addressed Mikhail Gorbachev by saying:
“We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and
Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr.
Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
At the time, the speech had very little immediate impact on the situation in Berlin, however, 29 months later, Gorbachev allowed Berliners to tear down the wall. President Reagan returned to Berlin where he gave the wall a few symbolic whacks with a hammer. Today a section of the wall is located at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA.
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Where I Stayed...
ET Berlin Potsdamer Platz
Anhalter Street 6
10963 Berlin, Germany
Single €48-€55 Euros
Comfortable rooms with T-Mobile wireless internet and breakfast optional. Within walking distance of Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburger Gate and the
How to Get There - Berlin has an international airport and a great public bus and train system