Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Retro slides: East Berlin, March 1989

What a memorable day this was!  Foreign visitors to East Berlin were generally limited to a one day visa. The easiest tour was by bus. We started at Checkpoint Charlie and traveled down Frederichstrasse, stopping now and then.  At one point we were allowed to shop at one gift shop set up just for tours with very disappointing souvenirs.  Our tourguide was an older man who took great pride in his city.  There was so much propaganda in his schpiel it sounded like dialogue from a 1960s cold war film.
Despite the prideful rhetoric, the once-grand buildings were mostly very run down.  Some even still had visible bullet holes.  Visitors to the same sites today might barely recognize them.
 The day was gloomy and grey, and looked even more so through the bus windows.
 The Brandenburg Gate as seen from the East.  Note the lack of graffiti on the East side of the wall.  What was most surprising about the wall to me was that it was clearly delineated from the air at night.  All of West Berlin was completely outlined in bright lights shining against the wall.

 Thoughout East Berlin there was very little automobile traffic.
 This mid-century cinema was an important cultural center of East Berlin, and is still in use today.

There were so many reminders of the Soviet Union at times I forgot I was supposed to be in Germany.

The tour culminated with a visit to the Pergamon Museum, built specifically for the altar of Pergamon which opened in 1930.  
The Pergamon altar, restored to look as it did in antiquity.

1 comment:

Paul Duca said...

Could you have imagined how little time the Wall had left? Have you ever seen a film called GOODBYE, LENIN!--it's a comedy about a young Berliner whose mother fell into a coma and didn't awaken until after the Wall came down, and his efforts to sustain the illusion for the sickly woman the city was still separated. the Cold War continuing on.