From November 7 – 9, 2014, the city of Berlin celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. A symbolic frontier of lights, the LICHTGRENZE, a line of 8,000 illuminated helium balloons along the 15 kilometer long path once occupied by the Berlin Wall, divided the city once again.
From the Oberbaumbrücke and its East Side Gallery, through Checkpoint Charlie, the Potsdamer Platz and Brandenburger Tor, up to the Bernauer Straße and Bornholmer Straße, which was, on November 9, 1989, the first checkpoint allowing people to pass through freely to West Berlin.
On November 9, all balloons were released into the Berlin night sky accompanied by the Staatskapelle Berlin playing “Ode An die Freude“.
The Checkpoint Charlie is one of Berlin’s most famous landmarks, which served as the only crossing point for diplomats, journalists and non-German visitors, between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War, from the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 till the fall on November 9, 1989.
In October 1961, US and Soviet tanks had a close encounter because of a dispute over whether East German guards were authorized to examine the travel documents of a U.S. diplomat passing through to East Berlin, both sides tanks faced each other in an acrimonious moment feared around the World as a possible lead up to World War III.
Today, it is a must see sight in Berlin with huge historical and emotional resonance, even accounting for the fact that there is remarkably little left to recall the atmosphere of pre-1989 days.
Another abstract sculpture can be seen beside the Universal Music Headquarters in Berlin, a chaotic arrangement of crowd control barriers (which were highly charged symbolically in the turbulent inner-political atmosphere of the former West Berlin) with a shopping cart on the top.
The sculpture, named 13.4.1981, was designed by Olaf Metzel in 1987 as part of Berlin’s 750th anniversary celebration called “Sculpture Boulevard” and was first erected at the crossing Kurfürstendamm / Joachimstaler Platz, six years after a violent demonstration took place at precisely the same crossing.
The Christian Democrat mayor at the time, Eberhard Diepgen, declared the work to be “a pile of junk” and called for an immediate removal. Then, after 14 years, the sculpture was erected again, but this time beside the Universal Music Headquarters, with a wonderful look on the Spree.
About 100.000 visited the new Berlin International Airport during its open days last weekend even though the official opening next month got delayed because of fire safety concerns and the new opening date will be sometimes around March next year.
Visitors had the opportunity to explore the grounds surrounding the terminal, walk across the apron and find out everything they need to know before it goes into operation.
The new airport will replace Tegel in west Berlin and the old east Berlin airport of Schönefeld to the southeast, and initially aims to attract up to 27 million passengers annually. The two existing airports, which are due to be shut down, will handle all flights until the new airport is ready.