The 30th anniversary of the fall of the Wall marks a great chance to see these fascinating, and less-well-known, reminders of a divided city
Although it’s been almost 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell, traces of the cold-war-era division can still be seen and felt throughout the city. GDR-era architecture and infrastructure is still strewn across the former east (including tourist-friendly districts Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain), from the streetlights and high-rise Plattenbauten tower blocks to outsize boulevards, such as Karl-Marx-Strasse, and the former Geisterbahnhöfe – the metro network “ghost stations” that were closed during the period of division.
Then there are the demographic divisions. There’s a reason the biggest Turkish communities – and the best kebabs – can be found in former West Berlin districts, such as Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Wedding, while former eastern districts, like Lichtenberg and Marzahn, are known for their Vietnamese communities and restaurants. It is because Gastarbeiter (guest worker) programmes of the 1950s-70s saw West Germany draft in workers from Turkey (among other countries), while the Gastarbeiter (the GDR equivalent) were from communist countries allied to the Soviet Union, such as Vietnam.