Berlin is one of the cities in Europe with the most history behind it. Among its ideals is respect for memory and not forgetting who we were in the past and who we will be in the future. As a reminder of the Cold War, in one of the sections of the old Berlin Wall there is an open-air art gallery, the East Side Gallery. What is? Pay attention!
Although in the past its intention was different, currently the remains of the old Berlin wall have been used to create one of the most special places in the German capital. But, What is the importance and the birth of this East Side Gallery?
What is the Berlin Wall?
On August 13, 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected.. A wall that divided the current capital of Germany in two. Its aim was to “protect Germany from fascism and favor the creation of a German socialist state”.
In reality, it served as a barrier to prevent the exodus of those looking for a place to live away from Soviet influence. For 28 years the wall was guarded 24 hours a day. It was about preventing people from crossing it from the east (the communist bloc) to the west (free Germany).
In its years of operation, around two hundred people died trying to cross it. It is one of the great symbols of the Cold Warthe world conflict that pitted the capitalist bloc against the communist bloc.
The fall of the Berlin Wall took place in November 1989. A symbol of the end of this world conflict and, with it, the arrival of freedom in the city. Thanks to this, Berlin was able to unify definitively. A new stage was beginning towards hope and progress, peace and non-violence.
East Side Gallery, outdoor art on the former Berlin Wall
When the Berlin Wall was dismantled, it was not done in its entirety. There is a 1.3 km stretch that is still standing, converted into an art gallery outdoor. It is known as the East Side Gallery. And it became famous for the paintings and graffiti that were made in the years following the fall of the Wall.
The paintings have different themes and styles, fruit of the author’s technique. But they all have a common intention: to tell with images the feelings that existed in Germany in a historical era. In total, more than a hundred artists from 20 different countries participated.
It has been fought to preserve all these fragments, which have been vandalized. Thanks to this, today they are like a huge mural that adorns Berlin. As a whole, East Side Gallery it is the largest open-air gallery in the world. And it is known everywhere, as is the Brussels comic route.
What are the most well-known murals in the East Side Gallery?
Although a hundred artists expressed their frustrations and thoughts on the Berlin Wall, there are some paintings that stand out. The Kiss of Brezhnev and Honecker is the best-known mural in the East Side Gallery for what it represents.
In the mural appear the president of the USSR, Leonidas Brezhnev, and the leader of East Germany, Erich Honecker. Its popularity is due to the fact that in the West this gesture was very controversial, while in Russia it was something of the most common.
Another of the best-known murals is the Trabant car crossing the Berlin wall. Of course, there are also many more, full of colors, collages or mosaics.
As a whole they give the Berlin Wall an eclectic style, but colorful and lively. It is not surprising that the citizens of Berlin protested for the works to be restored at the beginning of the year 2000. In fact, it is one of the symbols of the city.
The East Side Gallery is between the Oberbaumbrücke bridge and the Ost-Bahnhof train station, on the banks of the river Spree. You can get to it by metro by getting off at two stations: Warschauer Straße or Ostbahnhof.
Be sure to browse the gallery calmly. You will be surprised by the number of colors and styles that adorn a wall that once symbolized so much horror. Thus, It is a must visit when you are in the capital of Germany.