east side gallery detail

The East Side Gallery in Berlin

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An open air international gallery – for free! Wall paintings by artists from all over the world on the remains of The Berlin Wall.

Mood of the post: Nina Hagen: a German singer and actress. She has performed throughout the world for over 40 years, and was born (guess where?) at the East Side of the city of Berlin.

Warschauer Strasse. If you ever find yourself there, you know you are in one of the trendy and most celebrated spots of Berlin. The restaurants, hotels and hostels, and clubs around are a must while visiting Germany’s cultural capital.

Very close to the Warschauer Strasse Station you can experience an international memorial for freedom: The East Side Gallery: A 1.3 km long section of The Berliner Mauer, or the Berliner Wall. The Gallery consists of 105 paintings by artists from all over the world, painted in 1990 on the east side of the Berlin Wall.

a bit of the painted Berliner wall
The East Side Gallery

It is possibly the largest and longest-lasting open air gallery in the world. Though yes, vandalism and selfish acts are everywhere. Most of the wall paintings feature non-wanted graffiti, but the opening-to-a-new-world vibe is still there, thankfully. Citizens of Berlin could be severely punished for going near the wall and graffiti was strictly forbidden, but still…

a bit of the painted Berliner wall
The East Side Gallery

And that’s why we have to cope with the also non-wanted “iron curtain” protecting the few paintings that haven’t been damaged. Oh well, The lesser of evils, let’s say.

 

a bit of the painted berliner wall
The East Side Gallery

Berlin is not a place to visit if you are looking for romance. What Berlin is: a place for the contemplation of most of the 20th century historical scars. Above featured, what remains of the italian artist’s Fulvio Pinna piece, where reads:

 Ho dipinto il muro della vergogna affinché la libertà non sia più vergogna. Questo popolo ha scelto la luce dopo anni di inferno dantesco. Tieni Berlino i miei colori e la mia fede di uomo libero!

I painted over the wall of shame fo freedom is ashamed no more. Inferno ruled too many years, until the people chose the light. I put my faith in you Berlin, and give to you my colors bright! – Fulvio Pinna

a bit of the painted berliner
The East Side Gallery

The East Side Gallery still stands firmly surviving the tests of time. The walls weren’t at all prepared before receiving the original works of art, so with time the paintings started to fade. There are also increasing threats from developments around it.

whitebuilding
Building at the Spree River

The East Side Gallery is on Friedrichshain, an area that experienced the last punk conflicts right after the fall of the Wall, and slowly progresses to become one of the new “it”-neighborhoods of Berlin.

The Kiss On East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery

And now you go “Oh yeah, I’ve seen this before…”. Those are Leonid Brezhnev (General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union -uff!) and Erich Honecker (East Germany’s last dictator) sharing a passionate (b)romance momentum.

lockers
The East Side Gallery

Ostalgie – term derived from the words Ost (East) and Nostalgie (Nostalgia) to define the nostalgia for aspects of life in former East Germany. Objects like the Trabant, the quintessential East German two-stroke engine car, or the Ampelmann, the human-like figure used in the pedestrian signals in the country, are symbols of the revival of East German’s cultural signs.

(Just a reminder that for each story there are two sides)

 

Spree river
Spree river

Spree is a river that flows through the Saxony, Brandenburg and Berlinstates of Germany, and in the Ústí nad Labem region of the Czech Republic. The Berlin wall used to go by the river.

 

a bench by the spree river
Spree River

 

bench by the spree river
Spree river
a painted wall at the east side gallery
The East Side Gallery
bench by the spree river
Spree river

And if all this walking made you hungry, I know a super cool place with delicious local organic food to solve this little problem. Hotel Michelberger is really close to the Warschauer Strasse Station and had delicious dishes and a beautiful lobby for coffee afterwards. Oh, if you are lucky enough you can also catch some of their events, special Menus and pocket concerts. Last names were Damian Rice and Erlend from The Kings of Convenience. Wow!

a dish of michelberger hotel restaurant
An autumn dish on Michelberger Hotel’s Menu – from Michelberger Hotel blog

 

Michelberger Hotel Lobby
Michelberger Hotel’s lobby – from Berlinsko

And if you still have energy left, those are the best 10 clubs around the Warschauer Strasse.

There you go. All set!

Tatiana Bastos Photography. More on instagram.com/tatyart11

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Tatiana Bastos

Born and raised in Brasil, studied advertisement at Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo. But from a small child knew to be taken head over feet by fine arts, illustration and photography. For that reason, studied at Panamericana School of Art and Design, also in Brazil, and then ventured to study at The Art Students League of New York, in Manhattan. After years of travels, decided to be based for half year on an inspiring island at the center of the blue aegean sea, in Greece, and half year on electric Berlin, Germany. Still a world traveller, healthy eater, art lover, diy do-er.

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