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East Side Gallery, Berlin

The East Side Gallery is a mile-long section of the Berlin Wall that was not torn down in 1989. Instead, it became a free art gallery on which many talented graffiti artists made cogent statements in paint about the need for freedom for all people, both in Berlin and across the world.

The Gallery is a short distance from the hotel in which I stayed recently, and I made the most of the opportunity to take a few shots early one morning.

The Wall that is now an art gallery

Sorry about the shadow! This was the side of the Wall that trapped residents in the Russian sector would have seen - minus the art and plus barbed wire at the top.

Padlocks – again!

This gap in the wall has been adorned with padlocks - not as many as on the bridge in Cologne, though!

There is a lot in this image

The more you look at this, the more you see!

A clear message

Old age and youth

Another strong image

This is another image that is worth a long look.

There’s no escape!

A coachload of Japanese tourists turned up, despite this being before 8 in the morning. As ever with tourist groups, everyone has to have their picture taken in front of the object of interest, then they swap over, then someone else comes along ....

I had to wait quite a long time before I could take my own shot of the image in question!

Brezhnev and Honecker

This is easily the best known of the East Side images. It's a brilliantly worked depiction of Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev (on the left) expressing his love for the East German leader Erich Honecker (on the right). Honecker had given orders for his border guards to shoot to kill anyone trying to get over the Wall.

Let peace prevail

The other side of the Wall

Every wall has two sides, and this is the side that West Berliners would have seen. The River Spree is just behind where I stood to take this photo.

What do you think?

8 points

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  1. what once was considered vandalism is now art!

    There is a section of the wall in Redmond Washington (US). I have touched that. I have also touched the section of wall you’ve shown.

    It is from a time I remember, but a time now gone.

  2. That is amazing artwork and better than just a plain old wall. I remembered in Riga Latvia that small pedestrian bridges in the parks had padlocks on them, The explanation was that a couple who just got married put on a padlock on their chosen bridge as a remembrance of coming together or something like that but I cannot imagine that so many padlocks is such an explanation or is it a love explosion?

    • An interesting comment about the padlocks – maybe that is the explanation!

      As for the painted wall – there is another stretch of the wall in Berlin that has not been painted but which is every bit as dramatic and poignant, just for being there.

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