Monday, November 11, 2013

Berlin: East Side Gallery

Actual date of this event: 2 November

After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, artists gathered along a portion of the east side of the wall to create a collection of artwork representing the formerly separated and the now unified Germany. The east side of the wall had been untouched, in terms of graffiti, during its existence due to the high security of the Soviets in the East.
The west side of the wall was covered in graffiti when the wall was intact as there were no restrictions on painting it. Pieces of the wall with original art can be found in various places around Berlin. Beginning at Ostbahnhof, a portion of the wall had been removed allowing us to visit the west side of the wall first. The west side is not part of the "East Side Gallery", but it does have some extremely colorful graffiti. Most is the generic tagging, but there are a few pieces of art.

From there, we walked along M├╝hlenstrasse toward the Oberbaum Bridge. Between Luke and I, we must have taken a picture of every single piece of the East Side Gallery. Unfortunately, along the way, we experienced people being very rude by jumping in front of our pictures.

The crowd of people bursting through the wall makes this piece one of my favorites.

The wall includes over 100 paintings, but after ten years, most of the artwork is in bad shape. The colors have faded and parts of the wall are chipping and flaking off. Even though signs all along the way give warnings, visitors have vandalized the artwork.

Artists and supporters have tried to restore pieces to their original state. Some were brightly colored as if they were recently revived, but there were still markings.

At the end of the East Side Gallery, we came upon the Oberbaum Bridge. It is a a double-decker bridge with the bottom for vehicles and the top for the train. During the division of Berlin, the bridge formed part of the border and could only be used as a pedestrian bridge for West Berliners.

Street art can be found all around Berlin, and has become a popular attraction for tourists. Apparently, it is some of the best in the world. We saw quite a few 4-story buildings with walls painted from top to bottom. It takes some talent to master that!

Other posts on Berlin: Intro, Post 2Wall MemorialEast Side GalleryPost 5Ritter Sport ChocolatePost 7Post 8Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

The East Side Gallery is the largest open air gallery in the world at about 1.3km/0.8mi long.

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