November 2019 marked 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, 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.
Peaceful Revolution & Reunification
Geisa – Erfurt – Leipzig
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.
Point Alpha border museum, Geisa
The former US observation post Point Alpha was once described as the “hottest place in the cold war”. Today a museum informs on West and East German perspectives on life at the border and shows historical border installations.
In Erfurt, go on a city tour and learn all about its long history, including the GDR period from 1949 to 1990, and visit the “Andreasstrasse Memorial”, a former Stasi prison.
Andreasstrasse Memorial, Erfurt
Andreasstrasse used to be the infamous address of the Stasi prison in Erfurt. An exhibition informs about life in prison, dictatorship in East Germany and the Peaceful Revolution in Thuringia.
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. Don’t miss the “Runde Ecke” museum and memorial site in the former Leipzig headquarters of East Germany’s secret police Stasi.