Berlin is one of the cities in Europe with the most history behind it. Among his ideals is respect for memory and not forgetting who we were in the past and who we are to 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 it? Pay attention!
Although in the past his 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 birth of this East Side Gallery due to?
What is the Berlin Wall?
On August 13, 1961, the Berlin Wall was put up. A wall that divided the current capital of Germany in two. Its objective was “to protect Germany from fascism and to promote the creation of a German socialist state.”
In fact, it served as a barrier to prevent the exodus of those who were 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 being able to cross it from the eastern zone (the communist bloc) to the western one (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 War, the 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 finally able to unify. A new stage began towards hope and progress, peace and non-violence.
East Side Gallery, open-air art on the former Berlin Wall
When the Berlin Wall was dismantled, it was not completely done. There is a 1.3 km stretch that is still standing, converted into an open- air art gallery. 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, the result of the author’s technique. But they all have a common intention: to have images of the feelings that existed in Germany in a historical period. In total, more than one hundred artists from 20 different countries participated.
They have fought to preserve all these fragments, which have suffered vandalism. Thanks to this, today they are like a huge mural that adorns Berlin. As a whole, the East Side Gallery is the largest open-air gallery in the world. And it is known everywhere, as is the Brussels comic book route.
What are the East Side Gallery’s best-known murals?
Although a hundred artists expressed their frustrations and thoughts about the Berlin Wall, there are some paintings that stand out. The kiss of Brezhnev and Honecker is the best known mural of the East Side Gallery for what it represents.
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.
Together they give the Berlin Wall an eclectic, but colorful and lively style. It is not strange 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 there by subway, getting off at two stations: Warschauer Straße or Ostbahnhof.
Do not stop walking through the gallery calmly. You will be surprised by the number of colors and styles that adorn a wall that in its time symbolized so much horror. Therefore, it is an essential visit when you are in the capital of Germany.