Events marking fall of Berlin Wall bring hope of fortified visitor numbers

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Felicity Long
Felicity Long

Like much of Europe, Berlin saw a slowdown in visitor arrivals during the latter part of 2008: down more than 11% in November compared with the same month last year, according to statistics compiled by Berlin Tourism.

On the upside, this year's 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is expected to go a long way toward reversing that slump.

The city has not shied away from its troubled history since the wall came down in 1989, and some of its most popular tourism attractions include the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and preserved portions of the historic structure.

Anniversary events will include an open-air exhibition on Alexanderplatz from May 7 to Nov. 9, along with museum exhibitions, tours, concerts and street fairs.

In addition to events in Berlin proper, some festivities will spill over into other cities and towns, including Potsdam and Leipzig.

Potsdam is the kick-off point for a Border Trails Amid World Cultural Heritage tour, available from April to the end of November and organized by the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation, Berlin/Brandenburg.

Events in Leipzig will include the Night of the Candles celebration on Oct. 9 and an exhibition titled "Leipzig on the Path to the Peaceful Revolution" at the Stasi Museum, which housed the much-feared East German secret police.

Likely to be very popular, the anniversary events are a welcome reminder that our generation doesn't hold a monopoly on tough times.

For information on the events, visit www.cometogermany.com.

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