November 2019 will mark 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down, opening up regions such as Saxony and Thuringia that were before hidden behind the Iron Curtain. Discover some fascinating reminders of recent German and European history on this road trip from west to east.
- Start at the former German-German border in western Thuringia and visit the Point Alpha border museum in Geisa. You can see the former border installations and learn about life close to the “death zone”. Tip: On your way east to Erfurt (approx. 1 hr 45 min drive), stop off in Eisenach for a brief tour of “automobile welt Eisenach”, a museum about the history of car production in the region, including the EMW model (forerunner of the BMW) and the East German Wartburg.
- In Erfurt, go on a city tour and learn all about its long history, including the GDR period from 1949 to 1990. Visit the Andreasstrasse Memorial, a former Stasi prison and see original cells including one of the infamous isolation cells.
- Moving further east (approx. 1 hr 40 min drive), Leipzig is where the so-called Monday demonstrations in the run-up to the fall of the Wall took place. They culminated when 70,000 citizens marched through the city on 9 October 1989 and the city celebrates this momentous event with the “Festival of Lights” each year on 9 October. Another poignant reminder of the not so distant past not to be missed: the “Runde Ecke” museum and memorial site in the former Leipzig headquarters of the East German secret police (Stasi) that chillingly documents the Stasi’s structure and methods in a thought-provoking permanent exhibition.