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The Wall-25 years on



9 November 2014 is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The 3.6 metre high concrete embodiment of the division of Europe into a democratic, US-focused West and a Communist, Moscow-dominated East, ran through the heart of one of Europe's premier cities, bisecting communities, parks, roads and subway lines and making West Berlin an isolated backwater in a sea of East Germany. Since then, the city has transformed itself, reassuming its place in the club of European cultural capitals and becoming a magnet for artists, architects and other creatives. The Wall, which was begun in August 1961 and euphemistically named 'Anti Fascist Protection Rampart' by the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), was much more than a simple wall. It consisted of 106km of the towering concrete structure which, in 1962, was bolstered by a wire fence running parallel to it creating a 100 metre so-called 'Death Strip' between the two barriers which was patrolled by guards with dogs, lit up by watchtowers and speckled with obstacles to deter escapees.

Today, remnants of the wall have been preserved as memorials to the decades of division and the many people who died trying to cross the wall. Tours offer insightful walks along the course of the wall and so called 'Ostalgie' (or 'nostalgia for the East') venues such as Ostel, a themed hotel celebrating East Germany's tawdry past, are doing brisk trade with foreigners fascinated by the surreal world of the divided city. Stefan Boness, a long term resident of Berlin, has been photographing the former Wall and the hype that has grown around it for a number of years.
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