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Was Alexanderplatz in East or West Berlin?

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Cold War Tour Berlin

When it comes to the history of Berlin, one question that often arises is whether Alexanderplatz, a central square in the city, was located in East or West Berlin. The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it may seem, given the complex history of Berlin and the division of the city during the Cold War. In this blog post, we will explore the geographical and historical context of Alexanderplatz to understand its position in relation to East and West Berlin.

The Cold War and the Division of Berlin

After World War II, Berlin, as the capital of Germany, was divided into four sectors under the control of the Allied powers: the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and France. However, tensions between the Soviet Union and the Western powers grew, leading to the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, which physically separated East and West Berlin.

East Berlin: The Soviet Sector

Alexanderplatz, or “Alex” as it is often referred to by locals, is historically associated with East Berlin. During the division, it became a prominent symbol of East Germany’s Socialist regime and was a hub for political and social activities within the Soviet sector.

Located in the borough of Mitte, Alexanderplatz witnessed significant architectural development under East German rule. Icons such as the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), the Weltzeituhr (World Clock), and the iconic pedestrian traffic light known as the Ampelmännchen became synonymous with the square and its surrounding area.

West Berlin: The Allied Sectors

Although Alexanderplatz is intrinsically linked to East Berlin, its location is worthy of discussion when considering West Berlin. While Alexanderplatz itself was situated in East Berlin, it was close to the border between the two sides of the divided city.

The nearby Friedrichstraße station, for example, was an important transit point connecting East and West Berlin. In West Berlin, notable landmarks, such as the famous shopping district Kurfürstendamm and the bustling Potsdamer Platz, were more closely associated with the Western sector.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall and Reunification

The division of Berlin ended in 1989, when the Berlin Wall was brought down by crowds of people demanding freedom and reunification. This event marked a significant turning point in German history and paved the way for the reunification of East and West Germany.

Following reunification, the formerly separated parts of Berlin began to merge culturally and economically. Alexanderplatz, once again at the heart of the city, underwent further development and modernization.

Alexanderplatz Today

Today, Alexanderplatz remains a vibrant and bustling square that attracts both locals and tourists. It is a major transportation hub, home to numerous shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The iconic Fernsehturm offers breathtaking views of the city, while the nearby Alexa shopping center provides a modern shopping experience.

The surrounding area showcases a blend of architectural styles, reflecting the evolution of the city over time. While many buildings from the East German era still stand, they now share the skyline with contemporary skyscrapers and architectural projects.

Exploring the Sights at Alexanderplatz

If you find yourself in Berlin, a visit to Alexanderplatz is a must. Besides enjoying the lively atmosphere, there are several key sights worth exploring:

  • The Fernsehturm: Take a ride up the TV Tower to enjoy panoramic views of Berlin.
  • The Weltzeituhr: Admire the unique World Clock featuring the time in different cities around the world.
  • The Neptune Fountain: Marvel at the intricate details of this stunning fountain.
  • The Rotes Rathaus: Discover the historic red-brick town hall, a notable architectural landmark.
  • The Ampelmännchen Shop: Embrace a piece of East German nostalgia by grabbing souvenirs featuring the iconic pedestrian traffic light figure.


In conclusion, Alexanderplatz is located in what was historically known as East Berlin. However, its proximity to the border and its significance as a transportation hub meant that it also had connections to West Berlin. Today, Alexanderplatz stands as a symbol of post-war rebuilding, division, and ultimately, reunification. Visiting this iconic square offers a glimpse into Berlin’s dynamic past and its remarkable journey toward unity.

Was Alexanderplatz in East or West Berlin?