Berlin searches traces of Wall 20 years on

29th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

Germany is marking the fall of the despised Wall with events throughout the year culminating on November 9, the day East Germany threw open the border, leading to national unification 11 months later.

Berlin -A bright red viewing platform went up in central Berlin Wednesday allowing visitors to retrace the history of the Berlin Wall 20 years after its fall.

The 5.5-metre-high (18-foot-high) Infobox was erected on Potsdamer Platz, which was sliced in half by the Wall during the Cold War and has in the past two decades transformed into a booming commercial and business hub.

Inside, visitors from Thursday will be able to look out on the former route of the Wall and click on an interactive city map showing before-and-after photographs of key spots.

Berlin government spokesman Richard Meng noted that although the strip along the Wall had mainly been a desolate no-man's land, many Berlin tourists were frustrated to see so little of the Wall left and intensely interested in that era of city history.

"The most important change is that Berlin has become a diverse city that is open to the world, with 180 nationalities living here, and that the city is still unifying," Meng told reporters.

"This is a city in which creativity is welcome, where there are a lot of young people -- a city where you can have an impact. Other big cities such as London, Paris are already complete... but Berlin is still inventing itself."

The platform is to be open at least until mid-April.

The attraction is modelled on the highly successful Infobox which presided over Potsdamer Platz from 1995 to 2001, allowing a bird's-eye view of what was then Europe's biggest construction site and displaying models of what the square was to look like.

The communist East German government built the Berlin Wall, a 155-kilometre (96-mile) stretch of reinforced concrete and barbed wire, to halt a mass exodus of its citizens to the west.

More than 1,000 people are believed to have died trying to escape.

Germany is marking the fall of the despised Wall with events throughout the year culminating on November 9, the day East Germany threw open the border, leading to national unification 11 months later.

AFP/Expatica

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