If you do nothing else culture-wise here in Berlin you must visit the East Side Gallery. This is a 1.2 km stretch of the former Berlin Wall which has been turned into a unique public art space. I'm not going to go into too much detail about the wall as such since there is an abundance of information here and elsewhere but rather simply share my personal observations.
When the wall was put in place the structure itself was almost symbolic, it was the no-man's land on the East Side which was the real barrier with its minefields, electric fences, guard patrols and towers. The Western side was simply an unguarded wall which became used as a blank canvas by Western graffitists.
When the wall came down in 1989 this particular stretch, between Oberbaum Bridge and the Ostbahnhof, became a public art project. The hitherto innaccessible Eastern side of the wall became the canvas for artists from all over the world invited to record their own personal feelings about the wall and the regime which brought it about.
The result is this amazingly diverse collection of paintings by contributors from as far afield as the (former) USSR, India, Japan and even Scotland as well as many local (both Eastern and Western) painters and graffitists. The collaboration involved became the group known as the "Artists Initiative, East Side Gallery" whose excellent website has a full list - http://www.eastsidegallery.com/artistlist.htm
Fondest memory: There are approximately 106 paintings in all and so here's a small selection of my favourites (plus others in travelogues to follow).
Its a section of the wall & with ca. 1,3 km the longest gallery in the world with more than 100 paintings by artists from all over the world.
East Side Gallery - Muehlenstrasse
U/S-Bahnhof Ostbahnhof / Warschauer Strasse
The Berlin Wall. The East Side Gallery is a wonderful section of the Berlin Wall and has some beautiful murals...
We were there just on dark but I had to take a photo anyway, this one actually turned out quite well considering the circumstances (I only had a VERY small tripod so I had to lay on the ground to get the framing right...)
Some of the murals on the wall are amazing, there was one part of the wall which even seemed to be an autograph area, there were signatures from people all over the world. It was very interesting to read...
The longest and most famous remaining section of the notorious 'border security system' - the Berlin Wall - runs for 1.3KM.
The stretch is covered in 111 largescale paintings by 52 German and 59 foreign artists whose works reflect the euphoric spirit of 1989, the year the Wall came down.
Some of them have political messages, even regarding the Mainland China and TaiWan which is quite funny. I also left my signature at the corner of a painting. I knew it was fairly wrong, but I could not stop myself at that moment. :-)
The picture left is the famous image Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev French-kissing. See more at my East Side Gallery Travelogue.
enjoy the multicolored graffiti created by 118 artists on the 1.3 km long Berlin Wall fragment. Located along Muhlenstrasse accessible from Ostbahnhof or Warschauer Strasse S-Bahn station, this segment is today called East Side Gallery, the world's longest art gallery. The most impressive perhaps is the one with Honecker (the second last man to rule GDR who was in charge of building the Berlin Wall) and Breshnew (the Secretary General of the CCCP/USSR who unfortunately did not get to live to see the events of 1989), sealing the scar with a kiss and crashing their S-Wagen into the Wall. That was I thought a breakthrough! Named Bruderkuss this is found on the 'West Side' gallery.
Another segment of the Wall that remains is the 200 m stretch along Niederkirchnerstrasse, which marked the border between East Mitte and West Kreuzberg. Next to it is the open-air Topology of Terror museum built on the site of the dreaded SS and Gestapo headquarters where numerous Christians and other opponents of Hitlerism were tortured and murdered during the Nazi era. The exhibit in German is housed in what used to be some cells in the basement of the Gestapo complex. An English catalogue is available for 15 DEM (can't recall if it's more).
Visit the Wall, at the East side gallery, the longest stretch still remaining. Wow, this is history, recent history, this town was actually divided down the middle just over a decade ago. And it still is - there is a noticeable difference between east and west, and the people reflect this. you must talk to locals, get to know this place, it is one amazing city.
Fondest memory: Arriving, going WOW at everything, and going up the Fernsehturm...what a spectacular view, you can see the city's divide from up there. Berlin is THE place to be at.
Free translation: "Who wants that the world remains the same like it is doesn't want that it exists"
Please feel free to let me know if the translation is bad and wrong! Thanks