On November 9 Germany will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, which divided the city for nearly 30 years before it dramatically fell in 1989.

Built in 1961 as Cold War tensions mounted, the wall not only cleaved a city in half, but also became a symbol of the wider division of the communist eastern bloc and the democratic west.

Just before 7pm on November 9, 1989, a member of the ruling socialist party announced that applications could now be made for permits to travel to western countries, and that people would be allowed to travel through the checkpoints from East to West Germany. Asked when this would come into effect, he hesitated before replying "immediately".

Berlin Wall then and now
Berlin Wall then and now
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Thousands of East Berliners crowd one of the new openings created by army bulldozers, at Eberswalder Street on November 11, 1989, and the same scene on September 25, 2014

As the news spread across the city, disbelieving citizens rushed to the border checkpoints and demanded to be allowed into the west. The guards, taken by surprise, let them through, and soon people across the city were pushing through barriers and scrambling over the wall.

Berlin Wall then and now
Berlin Wall then and now
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West Berlin citizens stand on top of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate on November 10, 1989, and cars drive through the Brandenburg Gate on November 1, 1999

Jubilant scenes followed as friends and families were reunited, people danced on top of the wall, and the force of the crowds overwhelmed any remaining border guards trying to hold them back.

Berlin Wall then and now
Berlin Wall then and now
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East and West German police stand near the Brandenburg Gate on December 22, 1989, and the same scene on September 24, 2014

Once this first concession had been made, it seemed impossible to hold back the crowds of overjoyed citizens. Before long people were smashing the wall apart with wooden stakes and breaking parts off as souvenirs.

Television footage of the scenes was quickly relayed across Germany and the rest of the world, to the disbelief and joy of many watching.

In the following days and weeks cranes began the work of tearing down the wall, and thousands of people crossed the border in both directions. The quintessential East German car, the Trabant or "Trabi" carried people to parts of the country they hadn't seen for nearly three decades.

Berlin Wall then and now
Berlin Wall then and now
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West Berlin citizens welcome East Germans arriving in Trabants after they passed through the Invaliden Street checkpoint on November 9, 1989, and the same view on July 21, 2009

Berlin's appearance has changed enormously since the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989.

East Germany disappeared less than a year later when the country was reunited, and much of the wall was demolished quickly — though a few sections remain at their original sites.

Berlin Wall then and now
Berlin Wall then and now
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The German Reichstag building and the Berlin Wall on November 10, 1989, and the same scene on October 20, 2009
Berlin Wall then and now
Berlin Wall then and now
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French soldiers and civilians peer over the newly-erected Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz in 1961; and a man walks past a U-Bahn entrance at Potsdamer Platz on February 25, 2014
Berlin Wall then and now
Berlin Wall then and now
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People from East and West Germany gather for the opening of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on December 22, 1989, and the same scene on September 24, 2014
Berlin Wall then and now
Berlin Wall then and now
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 East German border soldiers stand at the Berlin Wall at Zimmer Street and Charlotten Street near Checkpoint Charlie on March 10, 1990, and the same scene in September 2014