BERLIN -- For 28 years, visitors to Berlin saw a city that was
defined by one thing: Die Mauer, or the Wall, which not only split
the city in half, but symbolized the ideological barrier between
East and West, communist and capitalist.
The Wall was the primary fact of life in Berlin, the center of
its bifurcated universe. Then, in 1989, the Wall came down.
Today, the Wall may not be totally forgotten, but it is almost
totally gone. "Most people don't even remember where it was
anymore," said Tini Rothkirch, general manager of the Hotel Dorint
To solve that problem for tourists, one clever publisher has
issued a map -- for sale at airport stands and downtown souvenir
shops -- that shows where the Wall was, so tourists can still track
the route of that infamous landmark.
For those who never got a chance to see the Wall before it was
torn down, there are still a few remnants here and there. By far,
the longest, most complete section is a piece now known as the East
Side Gallery, in the southeast part of the city along the Spree
About eight-tenths of a mile long, it has become a broad-scale
canvas for dozens of works by more than 100 artists.
There's also a museum devoted to the days of the Wall: the Haus
am Checkpoint Charlie, at Friedrichstrasse 44, near the site of the
famous former border crossing.
If the physical face of Berlin is changing, so is its
population. Since the Wall came down, nearly 1 million residents
have moved out, while 800,000 new arrivals moved in, meaning that
nearly one in three of Berlin's 3.2 million inhabitants is
literally a "new Berliner."
Many of the recent arrivals are from Turkey, eastern Europe and
Russia, including thousands of Russian Jews.
This influx has made Berlin a more cosmopolitan city than it was
before, a fact that is reflected in everything from its cultural
life to its cuisine.