Mikhail Gorbachev is a guest of honour in Berlin, helping kick-start this weekend’s commemorations marking 25 years since the fall of the Wall.
The ex-Soviet leader’s “Perestroika” and “Glasnost” reforms triggered changes across communist eastern Europe that led to the demise of the most potent symbol of the Cold War.
On Friday night, he addressed the crowd at the former Checkpoint Charlie border crossing.
Now a city and country united around more enduring landmarks like the famous Brandenburg Gate, Berlin is celebrating but also honouring at least 136 people who died at the Wall, most trying to escape to West Berlin from the communist East.
Momentous images of emotional Germans from the East surging through the newly-opened border stunned the world in 1989 and the following year, when the two Germanys became one.
On Sunday night in a culmination of this special weekend, thousands of illuminated white balloons lined up along a stretch of the former barrier will be released – symbolically making the Wall come down for a second time.
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