• Germany's news in English

Glienicke Bridge

Anna Croall · 9 Nov 2009, 11:28

Published: 09 Nov 2009 11:28 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Glienicke Bridge then

The Glienicke Bridge had long served as a connection between Berlin and Brandenburg when it became the Potsdam border crossing in 1961 after the Wall was built. This crossing point was to be used by members of the Western Allied forces and citizens with special permission, though it was later also opened up to East German accredited diplomats.

The bridge became notorious during the Cold War not as a crossing point, but rather as the site of famous exchanges between Eastern and Western forces. It was nicknamed the “Bridge of Spies” after the 1962 exchange of Russian agent Rudolf Abel for downed US pilot Francis Gary Powers.

Further exchanges were not carried out at the bridge until 1985 and 1986, and the less famous checkpoint at Herleshausen/Wartha was in fact the spot most often chosen for such swaps.

During the “high noon” exchange in 1985, 27 agents were exchanged. In 1986, the release of Anatoly Shcharansky from imprisonment for “anti-Soviet activities” gained great attention in the West thanks to the efforts of Shcharansky’s wife to draw attention to his plight. He was exchanged for three East German agents.

Glienicke Bridge now

Since the Wall came down, and the borders were opened, the intrigue surrounding the “Bridge of Spies” has continued, and it is still a popular stop on tourist buses. The bridge itself has stayed largely the same, and, aside from its history, offers little apart from a great view – that is, until you look closer.

“You can still see the division on the bridge in the paintwork. The whole bridge was painted green, and they intended, on each side, to make sure it was the same,” Dr Axel Klausmeier from the Berlin Wall foundation told The Local.

“But there remain different shades on Eastern and Western side – the paint was different. If you walk over the bridge you can see in the middle that the green changes.”

Checkpoint Charlie

Story continues below…


Friedrichstrasse Station

The Brandenburg Gate

Related links:

Anna Croall (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Anger as Berlin scraps 'Armenia genocide' concert in Turkey
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd