Checkpoint Charlie museum and must see sightseeing is an integral part of the Berlin Wall. When people start to talk about Berlin they will sooner or later come to the issue of the Berlin Wall and then the theme will start to go into details which will bring the talk to the Checkpoint Charlie.
Even without being in Berlin and knowing about the notorious Berlin Wall you have it somewhere deep in your memory this strange name Checkpoint Charlie.
For people the name Charlie can be of interest. Who was that guy? May be that was a famous soldier or general... It turned out to be more trivial. I was personally disappointed that it was just the letter "C" from the Latin alphabet. John F. Kennedy ordered to open three checkpoints placed inside the Berlin Wall after it appeared in 1961. The first one was Alpha (as you can guess it was originated from "A" and Brava-from "B").
The opening of the Checkpoint Charlie was on September22, 1961. It is located just in the heart of Berlin, on Friedrichstrasse. It also symbolizes the division of the world into Capitalism and Communism. As it was the most famous one it also played an important role in movies about spies and secret services. Such themes were always loved by the people all over the globe. That is why many people remember it from old good movies.
It is also interesting to mention that the guards from the East Berlin side were represented by Soviet and East German border patrol militants. The reason was because GDR military people did not have right to check allied troops when they moved inside the other zone. It had been decided during the Yalta Conference. That is why still nowadays you can see photos of Soviet soldiers at the Checkpoint Charlie museum.
The Checkpoint was originally planned to be used for foreigners staying in the West Berlin, diplomats, journalist and other officials having special status. Ordinary population could cross the border at other checkpoints.
The most important reason to become world famous object was the confrontation of tanks in October 1961. It was the moment when the world was seriously one step away from the World War III. The time of the Cold War was started after the WWII and could transform into Hot War. The photos of that time you can see in the open-air museum at Checkpoint Charlie.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and unification of Germany the role of the Checkpoint Charlie started to move into direction of tourism, entertainment and history. Of course, the place looks different from old 1961-1989 period because the new life and the location in the very center demanded that preserving the old Checkpoint image did not make sense. But the museum and the huge photos could also explain that time peculiarity.
Tourists enjoy the new look of the open-air Checkpoint Charlie museum. Naturally, they would be more fascinated by the original Checkpoint where they could pass as it was long ago. May be they would be also excited as the people crossing the border in sixties, seventies and eighties. But fun is fun. The city lives its own life looking into the future with hope and enthusiasm. And such type of a museum could not be realized.
If you come to Berlin you can also join the army of tourists enriching their knowledge of the world history and the Berlin Wall in particular. As it is located on Friedrichstrasse-Kochstrasse you will just pass it by because anyways you will walk along beautiful streets of Berlin center.
We have a number of good pages about the Berlin Wall and e-book dedicated to the theme.