When I found out about the East Side Gallery in Berlin, I knew that if or when I traveled to the city, it would be one of the first places I’d visit. I thought it was a unique idea to take part of such a well known former tool of oppression and let it stand as a reminder of the past while changing its meaning by turning it into a huge public art exhibit.
I later learned that the East Side Gallery became the center of a controversy during a mishandled restoration in 2009 and like many popular tourist destinations around the world, some people question its authenticity. But I feel that it’s still a worthwhile site to visit in Berlin and a good starting point for exploring Berlin’s history, street art scene, and culture.
The gallery features 105 murals by artists from around the world. It is thought to be the largest and longest running open air gallery in the world. As expected, many of the murals have themes of peace, freedom, and politics: