Berlin’s iconic Checkpoint Charlie is set for a drastic facelift after city administration reached a consensus on the contentious redevelopment plan on December 3. Checkpoint Charlie, a symbol of Cold War that divided western bloc of capitalist countries from the communist east led by the Soviet Union, will be transformed into a public square with a cold war museum and residential block.
Checkpoint Charlie, currently a major tourist destination, has been creating problems for the administration due to overcrowding and chaos. In November last year, the local authorities barred reenactors dressed up as US soldiers and posing for selfies at the best-known 'Berlin Wall crossing point' during the Cold War.
Senator for Urban Development and Housing, Katrin Lompscher, said that the development appropriate to the particular place could be initiated with broad public participation. She added that the blocking of change has been replaced by binding public planning goals.
“Once the development plan has been established, it is planned to hold competitions for the construction area, in particular for the design of the planned museum,” said the city administration in a statement.
Recently, an escape tunnel underneath the Berlin Wall was opened for the public for the first time as people celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the fall of Wall. Mayor Michael Mueller opened the tunnel which is situated at Bernauer Strasse, near the city’s main Wall memorial.
The tunnel was built by people who had escaped to West Berlin and wanted to help their friends and family to flee from East Germany. But before it could get completed, East German officials somehow came to know about it and destroyed it partially. People can see the newly opened tunnel at Bernauer Strasse through two windows but can not get inside it.
Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to divide Germany physically as well as ideologically. The motive behind building such a wall was to stop the so-called ideological contamination of the West. It cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany including East Berlin.
(with inputs from agencies)