Checkpoint Charlie, 3€ per photo

Passing observations made from my short time photographing Berlin.

Once a crucial border crossing point between east and west Berlin until 1990, Checkpoint Charlie is now a tacky tourist trap, that is borderline insulting to it’s historical significance and the locals of Berlin. I’ve been to a few landmarks, eroded through time by the waves of tourists and street cosplayers looking to make an easy dollar; Times Square, Hollywood Boulevard, Alcatraz and so on. However I have never seen something so insensitive and historically inaccurate as fake Russian and US soldiers charging tourists for photos. A legendary landmark where, in October of 1961, American and Soviet tanks staged a six-day standoff. Now lined with American fast food chains, burger joints, and of course a bloody Starbucks. Checkpoint Charlie was the only point where the armies of the US and Soviet Union came face to face directly during the Cold War. Built in August of 1961 after construction of the Berlin Wall began, the checkpoints use as a crossing was exclusive to Western military personnel and diplomats.

. From what I can read, there is not much of a solid plan to do anything about the issue. It certainly is a commonly discussed problem amongst Berlin locals and Cold War historians. And from the moment I stood across from it, every ounce of excitement and hope for spectacle I had built in anticipation to the trip left in an instant after I was faced with its reality. As in every case, money prevails and the profit generated by the tide of tourists in peak times will keep Checkpoint Charlie a watered down memory of its former cultural significance and iconic presence. Nevertheless, Berlin was still a phenomenal experience, and this is my observation and thoughts from taking photies in this particular spot. Also, this guys name is 100% NOT Cole.

#kevinjthomson #berlin#checkpointcharlie #touristshit

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