Berlin’s East Side Gallery: how a dividing wall became art

It is the longest art gallery in the world. A lucid example of how a symbol for division and hatred was transformed into an art work representing peace and creativity.

We are talking about the East Side Gallery, a 1.3 kilometre section of the wall which once splitted Berlin in two different cities. It is located in Friedrichshain, close to Berlin Ostbanhof. In 1989, when the wall came down, this untouched segment has been left to the artists. Today there are 106 mural paintings on it and it enjoys public tutelage as a cultural heritage.

While being a very popular and tourist spot, the atmosphere one can breath here is very peculiar. The wall’s lenghth makes everyone aware of the hardship suffered by the population just 25 years ago, and you can’t help but look at it with combined feelings of sadness and incredulity.

On the other hand, all those beautiful paintings take the spectators to a different dimension, allowing them to understand how this piece of painted wall truly represents this town’s modern history. Berlin was able to overcome a terrible and humiliating conditions that lasted and kept the town locked for decades. This latent energy has been conveyed into artistic flair and allowed for an open-mindedness as in few other places in the world.

Since many years photography has become a large part of my life. An excuse to go out, look around for new places, travel far away from home, meet new people, make new friends. I work with several blogs and magazines, and call myself a life-photographer because I take delight in observing the lives of others from the outside.

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