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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Berlin: Reichstag Dome, Topagraphie des Terrors & Checkpoint Charlie

Reichstag (Parliament) Dome: Most visited sight in Germany according to a tour book; I was unsuccessful getting reservations in advance but we were very lucky to get in quickly after arriving at the ticket kiosk at 8 as we’d expected to have to return several hours later for the tour; loved seeing the giant glass beehive and walking on the 230 m long ramp as it spiraled around a mirror clad dome that deflects daylight into the plenary chamber below; cupola at top is completely open year round to reflect ‘openness and transparency in German politics.’ 

Views of the Reichstag  Dome

Totally open at top 24/7- when it rains, or snows, 
the precipitation falls into the cone below it.
Views from outside 
the top of the Dome.

Love the red luggage tags, Mindy - thanks!
Topagraphie des Terror: Built on the site of former Gestapo and SS headquarters, it traces the stages of terror and persecution during the 1930's and 1940's; now hemmed in by a 200 m stretch of the Berlin Wall as seen on the right in the picture below.

Some remnants of the Berlin Wall located by Topographie des Terrors.  

View of the wall from East Berlin, i.e. from the Topographie des
 Terrors. Picture below shows view from outside the Wall,
 i.e. the West Berlin side.

Tourists were accused of taking samples of the Berlin Wall. As Sam, our English tour guide humorously described the situation, only in Germany do you see a fence or wall built to protect a wall!

Checkpoint Charlie: Saw larger than life photos of an American soldier facing west and Soviet soldier facing east at only spot where you could cross from East to West Berlin and vice versa between 1961 and 1989; 2 rows of cobblestones run throughout the city and even through some buildings indicating the line between what was East and West Berlin.

One foot in the former East Berlin and one foot in the
former West Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie.

Dates the Berlin Wall (Mauer) was up.