Here's the final reveal of the week. One of my favorite sights in Berlin that I shared with you on Wednesday was the Reichstag. Preferably visited at sunset to see its glass dome lit up in brilliant reds, oranges, and purples, offering a great 360-degree view of Berlin. Now it's time to focus on the other highlight of my two-day trip to Berlin. Hint: it’s another wonderful free sight. And also offers a link to the history of the city, the spirit of Berlin, and its hopeful future.
It’s a walk down Berlin’s East Side Gallery.
For 1.3 kilometers along Mühlenstraße, a section of the Berlin Wall still stands. But what once a symbol of oppression, separation, persecution, brokenness, and disunity has been re-purposed and painted over. 101 large paintings have filled the space with creativity and beauty, making it the largest open-air gallery in the world.
It’s a powerful experience to walk alongside the Berlin Wall on the east side of the city. It’s the longest continuous segment of the wall still intact so you can try to imagine what the city was like when it was divided. Though the wall used to look quite drab on the east side, painted white and gray, now it is brightly filled with the freedom of expression.
Artists painted the East Side Gallery shortly after the fall of the wall in 1989. The natural elements and defacement of the wall caused the artwork to deteriorate. In 2009 restoration work was done to the East Side Gallery.
I just loved walking along the wall and reflecting on the artwork. It’s a beautiful project to see how a wall that symbolized so much pain could be transformed through art, and be full of a hopeful future. Yet the fact that it is artwork painted on the actual Berlin Wall at the same time is a reminder of the past, one that we cannot forget and cannot repeat.
Do you have a favorite painting?
PLAN YOUR VISIT:
The East Side Gallery
Located along the Mühlenstraße
Outdoors and free, open daily, all hours
You can easily combine the East Side Gallery with a visit to the hip, artsy neighborhood of Friedrichshain. Pop over to Guten Blog Y’all to get a taste of this cool part of the city!