Address: Friedrichstraße 43-45, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Established: August 1961
Checkpoint Charlie was the best known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. The name was given by the Western Allies.
There were other crossings (Checkpoint Alpha and Bravo) but due to the location of Charlie, it became the main crossing point.
Things to know about the checkpoint:
- Only gateway where East Germany allowed diplomats, military personnel and foreign tourists to cross into Soviet Controlled Berlin.
- This point of crossing was only one of two crossing points to get into East Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie on the Allies side was a simple crossing point to symbolize that this was a temporary situation. East Germany had setup a much more elaborate entrance on their side that people had to pass through before they entered that zone.
- Because of the crossing it was one of the few gaps between East and West Berlin that allowed desperate East Berliners to try to escape. It became the site for several escapes.
- It was also the location that prisoner swaps would take place, between the Allies and Soviet Union.
- The original Checkpoint Charlie guardhouse sits at the Allied Museum in Berlin. Current version was created for tourists that visit the area.
- October 22, 1961 – saw the most intense confrontation between United States and Soviet Union. US Diplomat Allen Lightner attempted to cross checkpoint without showing his passport to the East German officials (stating that only Soviet officials could make that request). Over the next 16 hours the situation escalated to the point of dozens of tanks from both sides were at the border aiming at each other. John F. Kennedy contacted Nikita Khrushchev and de-escalated the situation.
Admission Fee: Free
Option 2: Another option to see Berlin and Checkpoint Charlie would be with a Hop on hop off tour of city. Tickets can be purchased here: