Berlin truly is a unique city.
Because of its long and agitated history (which I won’t get into – God knows I’m no historian, Wikipedia would be a better option than me!), Berlin has an unparalleled architectural heritage, which translates into some unique street art as well, as Cheryl tells us about every other day.
But what I want to write about today is not exactly street art – it may seem like it at first glance, but it hold much more history than a simple, impromptu graffiti.
Does the East Side Gallery ring a bell?
The East Side Gallery is, in short, an international memorial for freedom. Located on the east side of the city, in the surprising Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg neighborhood, it’s the longest-lasting and largest open air gallery on Earth – it was established in 1990, and is 1300 meters long.
It not only represents what Berlin was all about for the second half of the 20th century, aka the Berlin Wall, but also a more actual take on the events, and modern ideas like liberty, equity, peace, respect, individualism.
Concepts that were actually quite flouted only twenty years ago.
I was quite touched by the East Side Gallery, and other remains of the Berlin Wall around the city.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m not European, or too young, or too naive, but for me, the idea of war and the drastic measures it’s often synonym with are very abstract notions. Racism, disregard of fundamental rights, hatred, discrimination, broken families… It feels like these belong to the Hollywood movie sets, instead of actual pages of our history as whole.
I’m not entirely certain that wars, regardless of the scale, are a thing of the past – who knows what the future hold. But I think that by visiting memorials, and really think about the related events, makes each of us grow a little more…
Hopefully, grow above war.
Have you been to the East Side Gallery? How did you interpret the events? What’s your favorite East Side Gallery photos?