Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie er en turistfælde
Checkpoint Charlie is a tourist trap.

In the Cold War, it was almost mandatory for spy movies to show Checkpoint Charlie at some point; the very symbol of that for a period was separated into a West and an East Berlin. Therefore, the place naturally has great historical value, but today it unfortunately appears mostly as a tourist trap.

You can still - experimentally - get an impression of what it has looked like, because there is still a guard shed with a couple of border guards in front. But partly it does not make much sense when it is no longer a 'hole' in the wall, but just located in the middle terrace of a road, partly it has in fact been moved from its original location for the sake of urban development. Then one might as well have peeled it down, and rebuilt it indoors in a Cold War museum.

The experience is not improved by the fact that there are lots of street vendors all around with highly priced, but rather suspicious, hats and medals from the Red Army - and that you can be photographed in front of the Checkpoint Charlie shed, flanked by two big smiling border guards in uniforms from the US and Soviet armies, respectively.

Gadehandel med sovjettiske uniformsdele
Street trade in Soviet uniforms

I tried for fun to haggle over the price of a fur hat, which was supposed to be an original fur hat belonging to a general in the Red Army in Soviet times. The street vendor knew a good deal of English, but he miraculously got worse and worse at it as my skepticism became clearer and clearer. When he was down to half the first given price, I dropped it and went my way, saying ugly words in an incomprehensible German behind my back.

Checkpoint Charlie was in the period from the Wall was built in 1961 until it fell again in 1989 one of the most important border crossings between East Berlin and West Berlin.

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