Berlin has many stunning attractions and inspiring things to do which people from all over the world flock to see, but perhaps the most famous attraction of all after the renowned Brandenburg Gate is Berlin’s East Side Gallery. I am sure when you think of street art you immediately think of graffiti, spray cans and perhaps even Banksy. Well, I assure you that the East Side Gallery is not at all like that! In fact just imagine visiting an art gallery and seeing all of the wonderful paintings inside. Now imagine those very paintings being beautifully illustrated on a wall for a canvas – that is precisely what is to be expected when you visit the East Side Gallery!
So what exactly is the East Side Gallery and how did it come about? Well, when the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 during the Cold War, artists found on the communist Eastern part of Berlin were strictly forbidden from painting. Once the war had ended the Berlin Wall was then taken down in 1990. Upon its dismantle, artists from all over the world travelled to the East Side wall of Berlin and began painting a mile long mural of what is known today as East Side Gallery!
This awesome mural is made up of around 106 beautifully different paintings and has now become somewhat of a symbol of freedom in Berlin and attracts dozens of tourists each day! Young and old, anyone can enjoy this masterful work of art and use it as a very important historical lesson. The mural is considered to be the biggest preserved open-air gallery in the entire world and I definitely recommend checking it out whilst you are out and about in Berlin.
Of course, over time erosion and such things take their toll, which is why in the year 2000 several damaged paintings were restored by some extremely gifted artists. Out of respect for the wall and those that spent all those long hours working on the incredible masterpiece, I beg you to please look but not touch! So that in generations to come our children’s children can enjoy this remarkable piece of work.
The best thing of all about this magnificent mural is the fact that it is absolutely free of charge to visit and you can stay as long as you want to gaze upon its glory. So there really is no excuse not to go and visit! Even if you don’t have a particular interest in art, visiting this site is a must-do for anybody who travels to Berlin!
The East Side Gallery is located in Muhlenstrasse 1 and nearby you will also be able to have a look inside a souveneir shop which sells German Democratic Republic nostalgia items and very spiffy looking t-shirts to remember your day by!
My advice is this; set off from Ostbahnhof and head in the direction to Warschauer Strasse, that way when you get to the end of the wall you can relax in the nearby beach café Oststrand and feed that hunger you will have no doubt worked up!