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Have East and West Berlin Fully Reunited since the Fall of the Berlin Wall?

The wall that divided East Berlin from West Berlin was torn down in 1989, effectively signifying the end of the Cold War. But while the city has now been united for three decades, the streets continue to reveal Berlin's divided history -- at least, when viewed from space. The western side of the city has kept up with the times, with streetlamps employing modern fluorescent bulbs to light the way, but the eastern half still relies on sodium vapor lamps. The difference might seem unimportant, but if you could view the city the way astronaut Chris Hadfield saw it in a 2013 photo he took from 200 miles (322 km) above the Earth, you'd see the divide like he did: the former West Berlin glows white, while the former East Berlin maintains a more muted yellow hue. A member of Berlin's city government told The Guardian that the municipal coffers don't have the funds to install modern lighting everywhere. However, equality is hopefully coming soon: The European Union has been working towards replacing a million old-fashioned lights throughout the continent.

The wall that was:

  • During the time the Berlin Wall stood, from 1961 to 1989, approximately 5,000 people escaped from East Berlin to West Berlin. It is thought that 138 people were killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall.

  • A misunderstanding about new travel laws prompted one East Berlin official to erroneously allow people to cross from east to west, which soon led to the system's collapse.

  • Throughout Berlin, the wall was actually made of two walls, which were separated by a 160-yard-wide (146-meter-wide) "death strip" with guard dogs, machine guns, and watchtowers.

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