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Celebrations marked 25 years since fall of the Berlin Wall

A series of commemorative events took place in the German capital to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said its collapse was about “reclaiming freedom” and showing that “dreams can come true,” Russia Today reports.

Current and former world leaders gathered in Berlin this weekend as tens of thousands flocked to the German capital to celebrate the anniversary of the Berlin Wall collapse, which reunited Germany and signaled a profound change in international affairs.

“The fall of the Berlin Wall showed us that dreams can come true – and that nothing has to stay the way it is, no matter how big the hurdles are,” said Merkel speaking at a ceremony at the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse on Sunday.

On the night of November 9, 1989 the wall dividing East and West Berlin was toppled after 28 years separating families and loved ones.

“It was about reclaiming freedom, about being citizens, not subjects,” said Merkel who grew up in East Germany. “It was a victory of freedom over bondage and it’s a message of faith for today’s, and future, generations that can tear down the walls – the walls of dictators, violence and ideologies.”

People in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere around the world should feel inspired by the example of the Berlin Wall’s demise, Merkel added.

At least a million people were expected to attend the commemorative events in Berlin on Sunday. Several exhibitions dedicated to the event were opened, including the open-air exhibition “100 Wall Stories” consisting of a hundred exhibits along with the lighted balloon installation with stories of a divided city before the Wall, the construction of the Wall in 1961, protests, escape attempts, arrests and deaths, and everyday life in the divided city.

Merkel also participated in the lighting of candles at the National Memorial for the Victims of the Berlin wall.

One of the most anticipated parts of the commemoration program took place in the evening. Berliners and guests watched as 8,000 helium-filled balloons strung along a 15-kilometer stretch of the former border are released into the sky to Beethoven’s “Ode to joy”. This was followed by a vivid fireworks display and an open-air party at the city’s Brandenburg Gate.

After the fall of the Nazi regime as a result of World War II, Germany became two separate countries by 1949. The Federal Republic of Germany (West) was run by the Allies, while the German Democratic Republic (East) was controlled by the Soviet Union. Berlin was on the territory of East Germany, however it was shared with the Wall dividing the territories of the two states.

The fall of the Wall marked the coming of a new age – the end of the Cold war and the bipolar world and paved the way for Germany’s reunification in 1990.

The three day commemoration events were attended by the iconic former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who on Saturday warned western leaders to tone down anti-Russian rhetoric and seek points of convergence.

Fireworks explode above the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin as millions marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall 

Crowds await the release of balloons into the sky along the former path - or 'death strip' of the Berlin Wall 

Festivities to mark the anniversary drew more than one million Berliners and tourists to the heart of the once-divided city

Conductor Daniel Barenboim is seen on video screens as he leads the State Orchestra performing in front of the Brandenburg Gate

German Chancellor Angela Merkel led celebrations today marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, calling it an example of the human yearning for freedom

Ms Merkel said the celebrations also honoured those who helped bring down the barrier that for 28 years symbolised the Cold War

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the world 'is on the brink of a new Cold War' during a speech

German President Joachim Gauck (left) greets former Polish President Lech Walesa during the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall

Hulda, 3, places flowers in between slats of the former Berlin Wall at the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall

Fireworks were set off as millions gathered together to celebrate 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall

Crowds await the release of balloons into the sky along the former parth of the Berlin Wall 

Three-year-old Hulda adds to the myriad of flowers placed in cracks of the former Berlin Wall

In 1989 communist authorities caved in to mounting pressure and relaxed travel restrictions that had prevented their citizens from going to the west for decades

German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a rose during a ceremony at the Berlin Wall memorial site at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin, Germany, today

Accompanied by Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit (right) Ms Merkel places a flower in a joint of concrete segments of a remaining part of the Berlin Wall at the Berlin Wall Memorial

Balloons are let into the air as part of the 'Border of Light' installation in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate

Fireworks illuminate the historic Brandenburg Gate - the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989 

At least 138 people were killed trying to escape to West Berlin and many who were captured ended up in jail

The fall of the Wall was the climax of weeks of popular protests spurred by changes that had already taken place elsewhere in the Soviet bloc

Many young people who never experienced  life under the repressive East German regime also paid their respects

Light in the darkness: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit (right) light candles at the National Memorial for the Victims of the Berlin Wall

Visitors gather in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall 

Crowds come together on the 'Strasse des 17. Juni' boulevard in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate as part of the celebrations

German band Clueso perform in front of the Brandenburg Gate to commemorate the fall of the wall on November 9, 1989

People attend a street party organised by the German government to mark 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall 

Tide of humanity: Confusion reigned when the East German government eased travel restrictions, but the fall happened largely without violence

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