Construction began on the morning of 13 August 1961:
Germany is marking 50 years since the building of the Berlin Wall when the communist East closed its border, dividing the city for 28 years.
Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit told a ceremony on Bernauer Street: “The Wall is history but we must not forget it.”
President Christian Wulff spoke after him and Chancellor Angela Merkel was also attending commemorations.
The city will observe a minute of silence at noon (10:00 GMT) in memory of those who died trying to escape.
Earlier, Mr Wulff told Die Welt newspaper that the modern Germany could take pride in “East Germans’ irrepressible desire for freedom and West Germans’ solidarity with them”.
Mrs Merkel, who was raised in the East, is attending the inauguration of a memorial and museum on Bernauer Strasse, which was divided by the Wall.
Soldiers from the East began construction on the morning of 13 August 1961, eventually building a wall that spread for nearly 160km (100 miles).
There were more than 300 watchtowers to prevent escapees.
The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Berlin says the East German authorities portrayed the Wall as a barrier to keep the fascist West out – what came to be known as the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart.
But he says the accepted view now is that it was to keep East German migrants in.
The number of people who died trying to cross the Wall is disputed – at least 136 are known to have been killed but victims’ groups say the true number is more than 700…
The BBC has more here.
There is more (and images like the one above) here:
Citizens of Berlin – including neighbors, friends and family members – were suddenly cut off from each other when construction of the Berlin Wall began on August 13, 1961. While West Berliners still enjoyed the democratic freedoms of all West German citizens – including the right to travel anytime – East Berliners were literally “walled off” from their western counterparts for 28 years, until the fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989. Even though they risked paying for it with their own lives, some brave individuals still attempted to flee communist East Germany to find freedom again in the West in various ways – including armored trucks, tunnels and even hot air balloons.
Wikipedia has more on the wall here.