I stumble upon the East German watchtower on Potsdamer Platz completely by accident during that weekend when i followed the Lichtgrenze through Berlin. And, this was one of the moments where I started thinking if I will ever know everything I want to know about Berlin.
Sometimes I think to myself that i know Berlin and that this city cannot surprise me that easily anymore. But, of course, I’m wrong. Berlin surprises me almost everyday and this is how I felt when I realized that, hidden in plain sight, there is a East German Watchtower on Potsdamer Platz.
How many times did I walk past this street on Potsdamer Platz without thinking about going another block on it? This East German Watchtower stands so close to Potsdamer Platz that makes me wonder about how many people walk around there without even thinking about what stands so close to them. It sits behind some trees and, you can only noticed it until you are right underneath it.
A little bit of history from the East German Watchtower
This East German watchtower on Potsdamer Platz is one of the last historical relics that are open to the public. Seeing it there, so close to Potsdamer Platz, puts its history into perspective when you think about the Berlin Wall.
This panorama observation tower used to stand between the Brandenburg Gate and Leipziger Platz and it was used as a base for border guards to monitor the area at the former House of Ministries.It was only in 2001 that this tower was moved to its present location near Stresemannstraße on Potsdamer Platz. Two soldiers would do their eight hour rounds on the tiny area of top of this watchtower. Since they didn’t know each other, East German rules for this kind of soldiers, I imagine how boring would it be to work there. But soldiers kept working their doing their rounds.
The construction of the BT 6 watchtower, the technical name for this East German Watchtower, began in 1966 and, by the end of the GDR era, there were more than 200 of them following the Berlin Wall. This one is the only one that still stands. Fotostrasse visited this tower in the end of december 2014 and it was a short but cool experience. The tower is kept by three berliners who recognized the importance of it and decided to ensure that it continues to be a reminder of everything surrounding the Berlin Wall.
Visiting the East German Watchtower
When you go visit the East German Watchtower, avoid wet days since there is not much space protect the guys that keep the watchtower open. Opening hours are, normally set between 11:00 and 15:00, from monday to sunday. We paid €3,50 for the 20 minutes we stayed there taking pictures and listening to the history behind this Cold War relic and it was way worth it.