Berlin's East Side Gallery is an open air gallery located at the riverbanks of Spree, extending over almost one mile. Not only is it the longest remaining original section of the Berlin Wall, it is also the world's longest open air gallery. More than 100 artists from all over the world came to paint the bleak east face of the wall after its fall in 1989, creating a unique and authentic memorial to German reunification.
Unlike other memorials, such as Chekpoint Charlie or Bernauer Straße, the main focus is not on the wall's terrors and victims, but rather on the notion of freedom and reconciliation that prevailed after the reunification.
The 101 large images vary in style and range from surreal paintings over political statements to graffitis. Its most famous pictures include Dimitri Vrubel's Fraternal Kiss, and Birgit Kinder's Trabant seeming to break through the wall. If you want to know more about the paintings and the East Side Gallery's history, sign up for a guided tour.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, numerous international artists came to Berlin. Between February and September 1990, 118 artists from 21 countries turned the Berlin Wall into a memorial of reunification; East Side Gallery was born. One year later, a preservation order was put on the 101 paintings as a total.
Due to its character as an open air gallery, East Side Gallery is exposed to the elements as well as exhaust gases and vandalism. Hence, some of the art has been destroyed beyond recognition. In 2009, the gallery was restored, and 100 pictures were faithfully renewed by the artists.
How to get there
Mühlenstraße is located by the river Spree in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, between Berlin's Ostbahnhof and Oberbaumbrücke. The closest subway station is Warschauer Straße. Bus 248 stops right at East Side Gallery.