(CNN) — In the dead of night on August 13, 1961, the East German Army began placing more than 48 kilometers of barbed wire through the center of Berlin, splitting the city into two stark halves.
On one side, the Soviet-backed East functioned under a socialist state while the West was controlled by Allied forces, a little urban island of democracy inside East Germany.
Eventually, soldiers replaced the barbed wire with a hulking concrete barrier that became the Berlin Wall. For 28 years, the wall stood as a heavy and imposing reminder of the physical and ideological Cold War divisions of a city and a nation.
The wall finally was demolished in 1989 as Cold War tensions improved across the globe. The most effusive celebration of the city’s reunification took place on November 9, 1989, shortly after the East German government announced that all citizens in its capital would be able to move freely across the city.
Euphoric Berliners rushed to the wall and tore it apart with shovels, hammers and picks, eager to end an era of restriction and suppression.
This year, Germany commemorates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall. Anyone who travels to Berlin can visit the remains of the 155-kilometer structure at the following locations, which are all free.
These places are home to specific histories and offer their own perspectives on what is still one of the most chilling symbols of the Iron Curtain:
East Side Gallery
Visitors walk at the East Side Gallery on February 5, 2018…
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