This year sees the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. From 1961 to 1989, the city of Berlin was divided by the most visible sign of the Cold War: a barrier more than 140km (87 miles) long.

Construction of the Wall began on 13 August 1961, isolating capitalist West Berlin within Communist-controlled East Germany.

Berlin Wall fall: 25th Anniversary
13 August 1961: Soldiers begin building the Berlin Wall, as instructed by the East German authorities, in order to strengthen the existing barriers dividing East and West Berlin.Getty

On 15 August 1961, during the early days of the Wall's construction, East German border guard Conrad Schumann jumped over the barbed wire barrier into West Berlin. It is thought that around 5,000 people successfully defected to the West by risking their lives to cross the Wall.

The number of people who died trying to escape is under dispute. Alexandra Hildebrandt, Director of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, estimates the death toll to be well above 200, while the Centre for Contemporary Historical Research in Potsdam has confirmed 136 deaths.

The first Berlin Wall casualty was Ida Siekmann, who died after she jumped out of her third-floor apartment at 48 Bernauer Street on 22 August 1961.

Günter Litfin was the first person to be shot whilst attempting to escape across the Berlin Wall. The 24-year-old tailor was spotted while trying to swim across the Spree Canal to the West on 24 August 1961.

Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
15 September 1961: Conrad Schumann, a 19-year-old East German soldier, jumps over a barbed wire fence and defects into West Germany on the third day of the construction of the Wall.CIA
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
24 August 1961: Günter Litfin was the first person to be shot whilst attempting to escape across the Berlin Wall.CIA
berlin wall fall 25th anniversary
26 August 1961: Two women wave to their children and grandchildren in the Soviet sector of Berlin from across the Wall.Getty
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
August 1961: With the East German police looking the other way, a mother in East Berlin hands her young son across the border to his father.CIA
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
7 October 1961: Four-year-old Michael Finder of East Germany is tossed by his father into a net held by residents across the border in West Berlin. The father, Willy Finder, then prepares to make the jump himself.CIA
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
December 1961: East German police tear up train tracks leading to West Berlin after 25 people escaped across the border.CIA
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
1 August 1962: The Brandenburg Gate in East Berlin is seen over the Wall, behind a sign reading 'Attention! You are now leaving West Berlin'.Getty
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
26 June 1963: US President John F Kennedy views East Berlin from an elevated platform at Checkpoint Charlie as he made his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.CIA
berlin wall fall 25th anniversary
19 February 1964: Sightseers climb onto a bus to look over the newly-built Berlin Wall.Getty

Many methods of escape were successfully used by East Germans desperate to escape to the West, including tunnels, hot air balloons, zip wires, and ultralight aircraft.

In 1964, Wolfgang Fuchs built a tunnel that enabled more than 100 East Germans to reach the West. Another tunnel began in an East Berlin cemetery. "Mourners" brought flowers to a grave and then disappeared. This route worked well until Communist officers discovered a pram left by the "grave" and sealed the tunnel.

Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie Museum displays several vehicles that were modified to smuggle defectors across the border.

Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
27 December 1962: A group of refugees from East Germany crashed through the Berlin Wall to freedom in West Berlin in this 40-seater armour-plated bus.Getty
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
1965: Two men open a hollow metal drum used by three West German men to bring their girlfriends over the border from East BerlinGetty
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
This BMW Isetta was used to smuggle nine people across the Wall. Knowing that East German border guards carefully examined large cars and trucks for stowaways, Horst Breistoffer modified the bubble car to make room for an escapee curled up in the space once taken up by the battery and heating system. He was caught during his 10th escape attempt.Mauermuseum-Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
1965: Heinz Meixner with his fiancee and her mother Frau Thurau, show how they arranged themselves in his Austin-Healey Sprite to drive through the Berlin Wall.Getty
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
Vehicles were often used to smuggle people out of East Berlin. This Austin Mini exhibited at the Checkpoint Charlie museum had a hidden compartment in the front seat. Other cars had their fuel tanks modified to allow someone doubled-up to hide in there. An estimated 300 people escaped by such means: under the back seat, in a false floor or even strapped underneath the vehicle. This meant having to endure extreme discomfort for hours on end, without a cough or a sneeze which might alert the East German border guards.Mauermuseum-Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
A home-made flying machine, used to cross the Wall, is now exhibited in the Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin.Mauermuseum-Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
Wolfgang Fuchs' graveyard tunnel enabled 100 people to escape, before it was discovered and sealed.IWM

The number of escapes led to the East German authorities strengthening the Wall.

In its final form, the Berlin Wall consisted of inner and outer concrete walls separated by a "death strip" lined with fences, trenches and anti-tank fortifications, with searchlights and guard towers positioned along the route. The barrier was guarded by troops authorised to shoot anyone who tried to escape.

The last person to be shot and killed while trying to cross the border was Chris Gueffroy on 6 February 1989.

Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
April 1967: A second wall is constructed at Bernauer Strasse, to further fortify the border.Getty
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
1977: The heavily-fortified "death strip" between the two walls in the fourth and final version of the Berlin Wall.George Garrigues
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
This 1984 photo shows the distance between the two walls, as well as the fortifications, including fences, trenches, searchlights and anti-tank obstacles known as 'Czech hedgehogs'.George Garrigues

In 1987, US President Ronald Reagan addressed the people of West Berlin at the base of the Brandenburg Gate. His call of "Tear down this wall!" could be heard on the Eastern side of the wall. The speech is considered by many to have affirmed the beginning of the end of the Cold War and the fall of Communism.

In January 1989, then-East German leader Erich Honecker declared that the Berlin Wall could stand for another century. But increasing freedoms in the Eastern Bloc led to more porous borders and to demands to tear the Wall down. Honecker resigned on 18 October 1989.

On 9 November 1989, East German authorities announced they would allow free access between East and West Berlin. Crowds of euphoric East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, leading to a reunited Germany.

Berlin Wall fall: 25th Anniversary
12 June 1987: US President Ronald Reagan, commemorating the 750th anniversary of Berlin, addresses the people of West Berlin at the base of the Brandenburg Gate. "Tear down this wall!" was the famous command from Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.AFP
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
10 November 1989: East Germans in Trabants pass through Checkpoint Charlie into West Berlin, where they are greeted by enthusiastic West Berliners.AFP
Berlin Wall fall 25th Anniversary
11 November 1989: West Berliners watch as East German border guards demolish a section of the wall to open a new crossing point between East and West Berlin, near Potsdamerplatz.AFP