Worth a visit: Berlin

By Lucy Oliver

Explore a capital city which has survived war and division and today plays a leading role in world affairs.

Founded in the 13th century as the capital of Prussia, Berlin became the focal point of the newly established German Empire in 1871. At the end of World War Two, it was divided into East and West, and surviving sections of the Berlin Wall offer a reminder of this split. Checkpoint Charlie was the name given to the crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War.

Located on Friedrichstrasse in the American-occupied centre of the city, it was the only gateway which East Germany permitted for Allied diplomats, military personnel and foreigners to pass into Berlin's Soviet sector. The choice of a small guardhouse, sited just feet away from a much larger East German checkpoint, was a deliberate political move on the Allies' part to symbolise the idea that the Berlin Wall should not be a permanent or legitimate border.

Visit the nearby BlackBox Kalter Krieg Museum, mere feet from the checkpoint, to learn more about many attempted (and some successful) escapes into West Berlin – an opportunity to reflect on barriers still needing to be broken down in our world.