Located on the corner of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße, Checkpoint Charlie is one of the principal symbols of the Cold War. It was the most famous border crossing between East and West Berlin during the 60s, and unsurprisingly, it has been featured in many a Cold War film and spy novel!
Checkpoint Charlie was built by the East German government in 1961 to prevent East Germans from fleeing East Berlin. These days, the legendary spot attracts a lot of tourists, but it’s worth seeing it up close to understand a bit of Berlin’s complex history.
The name Checkpoint Charlie comes from the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…). It was given a name beginning with C, the third letter in the alphabet, because it was the third checkpoint opened by the Allies in Berlin
Checkpoint Charlie became the best-known crossing point between East and West Berlin because by 1962, it was the only place where foreigners visiting Berlin could move between the two parts of the city. At the height of the Berlin crisis in 1961, American and Soviet tanks faced off against each other on this very spot, threatening to start a third world war. Visiting Checkpoint Charlie today
These days, there’s a line of bricks and a replica booth indicating where the checkpoint once stood, with uniformed “guards” adding to the atmosphere. Save your money and avoid taking photos of the guards though - they’ll charge you a fee! Instead, head to the Mauer Museum opposite the checkpoint, which tells you captivating stories of escape.
Travel tip: You can visit Checkpoint Charlie at any time for free, but you’ll have to pay entry to go to the Mauer Museum.
Throughout the Year
Entry to Checkpoint Charlie Museum