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Stasi sights in Berlin not to miss

by Feb 8, 2019Berlin

No visit to Berlin should be without a closer look at history – specifically the horrific history of East Germany’s former secret police. These Stasi sights in Berlin should find a place on your to-do list. Read our stories about each and see our photos prior to your visit to find out more in advance.

Stasi Museum Berlin

The Stasi Museum Berlin is actually housed in the bleak former headquarters of the infamous spy agency, called “House 1” on the Ministry of State Security’s campus in the Lichtenberg area. You too can climb the same stairs that residents did on their way to dreaded meetings or interrogations, walk through the offices (as they were) of Stasi head Erich Mielke, and read exhibits (German and English) about how it operated.

A ticket costs 8 Euro at the time of this writing, with various discounts or group rates.

Stasi Prison Berlin at Hohenschönhausen

A visit to the Stasi Prison Berlin is a bleak experience, but a must. You can walk the halls and into the cells and interrogation rooms at this secret prison, but only on guided tours. Most tours are actually led by former prisoners, who have their own style and stories (Some English tours may be led by historians and not former prisoners). An interesting note is that this prison – known as the Hohenschönhausen Memorial and run by a non-profit — was actually a blank spot on former East Germany maps to make its existence more secretive.

Regular admission prices are 6 Euro, with various reduced rates. Please check tour schedules, offered in German, English and Russian. You will find many school groups visiting this location.

We encourage you to watch our brief 6-minute video tour so you can see highlights prior to your visit. It explains the memorial site of the Stasi secret prison.

Stasi Archives Berlin

The newest addition to the group of Stasi sights in Berlin is the archives of the secret police, open since mid-2018. You can see exhibits about how the archives were run, how they logged I information on its citizens and get a look behind several sets of doors at the actual stacks of paper files dating back to East German days. Researchers and historians are still at work trying to track files and recreate information that was torn up or burned.

Again, tours are the only way to get into the archive stacks, although the exhibits can be visited (free) at any time. The tours (German, and English) are only offered at certain times so do visit the website prior (links and information in our story) to plan your visit.

HITT TIP: On the same campus as the Stasi Museum and Archives is an additional open-air exhibit about the revolution that lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is in the courtyard area and is thus open 24/7. An audio guide is available in the “Info Center” during its open hours. Also available in the center are a number of books and brochures (all free, some also in English) about the Stasi, the wall and other historical items.

Bonus Stasi visit

If your travels take you to Leipzig, the heart of the peaceful revolution that helped lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall, you should also take the time to visit the small Stasi Museum Leipzig in the “round corner” building.

There are guided tours, but only in German at the time of this writing. Much of the exhibit is also only in German, but the exhibited items and photos are still of interest, as well as the building itself. Plus, there is an audio guide (for a fee) that is very thorough and in excellent English.

Stasi Museum Leipzig Cover

If you are spending additional time in Berlin, our archives of stories about the area will help you plan a visit to the city we love for its diversity, history, art and culture!

 

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Research your visit to Berlin by looking at all the articles and recommendations we have made from personal experience here.

Purchase a Berlin Welcome Card and ride public transport for free plus receive discounts of up to 50 percent with museums and numerous other Berlin attractions. 

Here are several guidebooks on Berlin we recommend: Lonely Planet Berlin (Travel Guide); Rick Steves Berlin; and DK Eyewitness Guide to Berlin.

Be prepared for anything. Even in Berlin, things change and anything can happen. Don’t leave home without the right travel insurance. We use Global Rescue for emergency evacuation coverage and advice and like World Nomads for travel insurance. Be sure your trip to Berlin is covered! Get a fast non-binding travel insurance quote from World Nomads here.

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Stasi Sights In Berlin