The Berlin Wall: East Side Gallery ~

Just shy of one mile in length, The Berlin Wall East Side Gallery with 100 murals, is an open air gallery of art and history.  I don’t think a visit to Berlin is complete without seeing this section of the Berlin Wall.

Construction of the wall was completed in 1961 and just 28 years later, in 1989, the wall came down.  As the demolition of the wall began, artists from around the world arrived in Berlin and began to paint murals on the east side of the wall.  One year later it became a protected memorial.  Because the murals are exposed to the year round elements, it is a work in progress to continually preserve the paintings.

We slowly walked alongside the wall, taking photo after photo trying to capture each moment and thinking about what message the artist was trying to convey.  Some of the murals are pretty crazy and some have sadly been covered with graffiti, but overall the impact is powerful.  The historical significance of standing on the sidewalk looking at a collection of murals, painted on the east side of the Berlin Wall, was definitely a moment in time.

Here are 24 of our favorites.  Look closely at each mural and find the message.  Which one(s) speaks to you?

And, for a bit of perspective here is a photo of the Berlin Wall with the infamous death strip in front of it.  We took the photo while on a walking tour in Berlin, which you can read about here:  A Walking Tour in Berlin.

The area in front of the Berlin Wall was called the death strip.

To learn more about the Berlin Wall:

Berlin Wall Fast Facts – CNN








10 Responses to The Berlin Wall: East Side Gallery ~

  • A very moving place. I remember people trying to escape through the death strip.

    • Being at the wall was surreal. To remember the news headlines and people trying to escape and Regan calling for the wall to come down, and knowing that it’s such recent history. Powerful moments.

  • What an iconic symbol of both a divided country and a country reunited. The message is especially powerful in these anxious and perilous times. I love the mural with the saying, “Many small people… can alter the face of the world.” But, on the other hand, that mural with the rabbit (kangaroo?) sitting in the rocking chair just tickled my funny bone!
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted…Konopiste Castle, The Heir to the Austro-Hungarian Throne and The Great WarMy Profile

    • It really is, Anita. It was interesting to see the section of the wall that still had the death strip and then see the East Side Gallery where freedom was literally painted on the wall. The Many Small quote was one of my favorites too, I read it in the positive and in the negative and I definitely related it to what’s happening in the US. My other two favorites were the faces floating through the break in the wall – seeing the faces up close makes a difference – and the angel carrying the person to freedom. Very moving.

  • I would love to visit Berlin. Is it possible to see a lot over a long weekend? Might try to get there this summer. The wall murals are amazing, I still remember the TV images of when the wall was coming down…powerful stuff.
    Gilda Baxter recently posted…Fifty Shades of Downsizing – It’s NOT A One Size Fits All ApproachMy Profile

    • Yes, Gilda, I would say so. We had 4 full days and 1 of those days we spent in Potsdam. So, while there was a lot we did not see in Berlin, we do feel as if we saw the highlights, the sites we really wanted to see – mostly the WWII sites.

  • Street art once called graffiti, became an urban art form sometime in the past couple of decades and became recognized as a “valid” form of expression. In our travels we have observed that the intensity of the message is directly proportional to the hardship experienced in the country. In Indonesia for instance, some of the political murals are gripping.

    Patti, your photos of the Berlin wall serve to illustrate this very point -ranging from poignant to humorous, you have a good collection of murals here to capture a period in European history when Germany was artificially divided by geopolitics. It is a testament to Germanys reunification achievement, that the leader of the Western world today is without contest Angela Merkel, who was raised in East Germany, then after the fall of the Berlin wall, raise to prominence to a reunited Germany.

    It is the composite of all these murals together which provides a powerful illustration of this form of artistic expression.

    Ben & Peta
    P.S. if Trump has his way (gasp) there may one day be thousands of miles of wall between the U.S and Mexico. A large canvas to depict the absurdity of it all.
    Peta Kaplan recently posted…Colombo’s Pettah Market ~ the mother of all marketsMy Profile

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment and insights. I think what’s also so powerful about the Berlin Wall is it’s place in such recent history. The current American political fervor serves to drive home the point of what can happen when complacency rules supreme.

  • I’ve recently been to Berlin and these murals are simply stunning! The Berlin Wall is truly outstanding!

    • Definitely agree, Agness. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was very moved by the artistry and the messages.

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We are Patti and Abi. We retired early to live a simpler life, travel the world and hopefully, inspire others to redefine retirement.


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