After the Second World War, Berlin as a city lay in ruins. Adding to this, Berlin and Germany itself was split into 2 political entities – the democratic FDR and communist DDR. What was to rise up from the ruins of the capital? The architecture of East Berlin and all other cities in East Germany was supposed to symbolize virtues such as equality, collectivity and openness in order to support the behaviour of Socialist society. On our running tour we will pass some of the most iconic architecture from this era (1945-1990). The showpieces we shall see are Karl Marx Allee which was built as the grand boulevard of the east and of course Fernsehturm which portrayed the strength and power of the DDR.
What was it like living in the Communist DDR? Some say, for many it was bad with limited freedom and rights; The secret service(Stasi) permeated all levels of society so that there were files for every citizen. For others, it was a good life with guaranteed job and accommodation. On this tour you will learn how the average person lived and see the Soviet style apartment blocks where residents went about their daily lives. This also includes the small Jewish community that remained and we will pass by the centre of that community at the New Synagogue Berlin. All in all society was controlled from the DDR government building, more commonly known as The Ministry of Ministries. This former Luftwaffe building was the scene in 1953 of a harsh government crackdown on its own citizens.
On the 13th of August 1961 the lives of Berliners were forever changed. Overnight a barrier that later became the Berlin Wall went up separating friends and families. We will talk about how this impacted people’s lives and how some people tried to escape from East to West. Along the Berlin Wall were a number of checkpoints, the most infamous being Checkpoint Charlie which was the scene of a stand-off between Allied and Soviet forces which almost sparked World War 3. What better way to learn about the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie than while running past these sights?!
On 9th November 1989 the Berlin Wall finally came down, of course you will learn about this and the days leading up to it. The lives of East Berliners were changed forever from this day onwards.
Our tour will begin at the most famous of landmarks, the Fernsehturm and we will finish here as well. After we have finished you will (hopefully 😊) have been amazed by the sights and stories that you have just experienced along with the endorphins gained from doing the best exercise possible – Running!