Woot! Maerose here! 🙂 I just had a really good dinner — ginger lime salmon with rice salad! 😛 And now, it’s time to write more about my wonderful trip to the grey city, the capital of Germany, Berlin. Aside from the Brandenburger Tor, which I wrote about last time, another must-see landmark in the city is the Berlin Wall (Berliner Mauer). The wall was dubbed the Wall of Shame by Nobel Peace Prize winner mayor Willy Brandt (1913-1992).
True enough, it was a shameful sight, dividing the east (German Democratic Republic) and the west side of the city (and the whole country) from 1961 to 1989. According to sources, the wall was technically built to protect the people from fascist elements. In practice, however, it is used to serve as a barrier preventing emigration after the second world war.
The wall might had served a serious purpose, but it seemed to me that the whole concept of the wall was a childish idea! My three year old host kid often builds a wall of cereal cartons on the breakfast table to hide from her older sister. Pfft. Seriously, I was even expecting to find a thick fortification. The wall, in fact, was very thin in some sections. My sister and I were only able to visit the East Side Gallery, which is a 1.3 km section of the Berlin Wall. It contains about 105 murals by painters from all over the world.
155 kms in length, the wall had 20 bunkers and 302 watchtowers. It even included a death strip covered with sand and gravel for easy footprint detection against trespassers. People, specially the military and the diplomats, have to go through Checkpoint Charlie to go to the eastern part.
On November 9, 1989, the proponents of the division finally came to their senses and demolished the wall. The process took two years to finish. A portion of the wall was left standing to serve as a cultural and historical symbol, but most of it was chipped away. Small segments of the wall are being sold in souvenir stores up to this day!
One of the most famous painting found on the East Side Gallery is a depiction of Leonid Brezhnev (1906-1982), General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and Erich Honecker (1912-1994), General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party who led the German Democratic Republic from 1971-1989, kissing. Kissing! It was painted by Dmitri Vrubel, and contains the phrase: “God! help me stay alive among this deadly love.”
If you want to see more paintings at the East Side Gallery, visit: East Side Gallery, and if you want to read more about the wall: Berlin Wall. It was evident that the western side has been more developed compared with the east, and I have read that many people move to the west since the German reunification up to the present time.
Ah. I just love history, and the more I travel, the more I learn about human nature and tendencies. More historical, cultural and entertaining points of interest in the grey city on my next post. 😉 ❤