East Side Gallery in Berlin: The 10 Most Famous Murals!

East Side Gallery in Berlin: The 10 Most Famous Murals!
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The East Side Gallery is located in the Friedrichshain district and represents the most important remnant of the Berlin Wall. A 1.3 km long painted segment of the Wall with over 100 spectacular paintings and street art works painted by artists from about 20 different countries with the common goal of expressing a message of peace and unity after the end of the Cold War. It is a true artistic symbol, the vector of a positive image and a desire for change. Most of the artworks were renovated by the artists themselves in 2009 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

1. The rounded, colored heads in cartoon style by the artist Thierry Noir

East Side Gallery Thierry Noir
The colorful heads of Thierry Noir, East Side Gallery in Berlin (© djunaphotos)

It is the artwork of the famous French artist Thierry Noir. He was one of the first painters on the Berlin Wall, with his friends Christophe-Emmanuel Bouchet and Kiddy Citny, already in 1984 on the west side. His work is called Homage to the Young Generation.

"It's the poetry of the moment, the poetics of the second, the irony of the moment that I'm interested in."

Thierry Noir

2. Thank you, Andrei Sakharov by Dmitri Vrubel

East Side Gallery Sacharow
Danke, Andrej Sacharow by Dmitri Vrubel, East Side Gallery in Berlin (© djunaphotos)

This realistic black and white portrait of Andrei Sakharov was painted by Dmitri Vrubel (see below the brother kiss by the same artist) and Viktoria Timofeeva. Sakharov was a Soviet human rights activist. He received the Nobel Prize in 1975, and died in 1989, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

3. Diversion to the Japanese sector by Thomas Klingenstein

East Side Gallery Japan Klingenstein
Diversion to the Japanese sector by Thomas Klingenstein, East Side Gallery in Berlin (© djunaphotos)

This mural was painted by the East German artist Thomas Klingenstein. Thomas Klingenstein was a dissident in GDR times (East Germany). He was arrested in 1981 and deported to the Federal Republic of Germany. Early on he developed an interest in Japan and moved there at the age of 23 for almost 10 years before returning to Berlin.

4. The kiss between Brezhnev and Honecker by Dmitri Vrubel

East Side Gallery Kiss
The kiss between Brezhnev and Honecker by Dmitri Vrubel, East Side Gallery in Berlin (© djunaphotos)

It is a reproduction of the famous 1979 photograph of the socialist fraternal kiss between Brezhnev and Honecker by photographer Régis Bossu. The Kiss painting is one of the most famous artworks on the Berlin Wall and the East Side Gallery. It was painted in 1990 by Dmitri Vrubel shortly after the collapse of the East German regime and is still a symbol for the fall of the Berlin Wall. The exact title of the wall painting is: "My God, help me to survive this deadly love".

The socialist fraternal kiss had developed into an official diplomatic ritual and was intended to demonstrate the special solidarity between the socialist states.

5. The Wall Jumper by Gabriel Heimler

East Side Gallery Wall Jumper
The Wall Jumper by Gabriel Heimler, East Side Gallery in Berlin (© djunaphotos)

The Wall Jumper was designed by Gabriel Heimler in 1989 and, like many paintings, was restored in 2009. A man jumps over the Berlin Wall to leave East Berlin and reach West Berlin. Fleeing from dictatorship to join the free world.

6. Test the Best by the artist Birgit Kinder

East Side Gallery Trabant
Test the Best (Trabant) by Birgit Kinder, East Side Gallery in Berlin (© djunaphotos)

An emblematic artwork realized in 1989 by Birgit Kinder. The picture shows a Trabant, the well-known car of the GDR that penetrates the Berlin Wall and reminds us of the many East Germans who tried to flee to the West.

7. It happened in November by Kani Alavi

East Side Gallery Kani Alavi
It happened in November by Kani Alavi, East Side Gallery in Berlin (© djunaphotos)

This painting by Kani Alavi, a German-Iranian artist, depicts Checkpoint Charlie on the day of the fall of the Berlin Wall. We see faces expressing the different emotions felt in this ordeal. Between liberation, care and joy.

8. Worlds People, we are one people of Shamil Gimayev

East Side Gallery People
Worlds People, we are one people of Shamil Gimayev, East Side Gallery in Berlin (© djunaphotos)

This huge colourful mural painting by the Russian artist Shamil Gimajev contains many messages and slogans, forms and figures.

9. Touch the Wall by Christine Kühn

East Side Gallery Hands on Berlin Wall
Touch the wall by Christine Kühn, East Side Gallery in Berlin (© djunaphotos)

After the collapse of the GDR in 1990, Christine Kühn left handprints on the east side of the Berlin Wall (passers-by from all over the world were invited to participate), in remembrance of the fact that the Wall belonged to the death zone in the GDR and, of course, could not be touched.

10. Berlyn by Gerhard Lahr

East Side Gallery Berlin Wall Berlyn
Berlyn by Gerhard Lahr, East Side Gallery in Berlin (© djunaphotos)

This beautiful artwork by the German illustrator Gerhard Lahr was damaged by the many graffiti and it is a real pity. The mural paintings of the East Side Gallery were restored in 2009 and belong to the cultural heritage. Unfortunately this is not enough to protect them from graffiti...

Map, Address and how to get to the East Side Gallery

Map of the East Side Gallery (length: 1,3 km)

The East Side Gallery is located in the district Friedrichshain, between the Oberbaumbrücke and the Ostbahnhof, 5 minutes walk from the S-Bahn station Warschauer Straße or Ostbahnhof. The address is: Mühlenstraße 3-100, 10243 Berlin.

Price and opening hours:
The East Side Gallery is the longest open-air gallery in the world and is open 24 hours a day, free of charge.

To get there by metro (U-Bahn, S-Bahn)

North side. Take the S3, S5, S7 or S9 (S-Bahn / Ringbahn) or the subway U1 (a little closer) to Warschauer Straße station. Just walk in the direction of the Spree. The East Side Gallery is on the right hand side.

South side. Take the S3, S5, S7 or S9 (S-Bahn / Ringbahn) to Ostbahnhof station. Just walk in the direction of the Spree. The East Side Gallery is on the left side.

To get there by tram

The nearest tram stop is Warschauer Straße on lines M13 and M10. Just walk in the direction of the Spree. The East Side Gallery is on the right hand side.

To get there by bus

Take the bus M10 to the stop S+U Warschauerstraße. Just walk in the direction of the Spree. The East Side Gallery is on the right hand side.

Take the bus 142 to Ostbahnhof. Just walk in the direction of the Spree. The East Side Gallery is on the left hand side.

The East Side Gallery is at the same time an open-air museum with an impressive collection of more than 100 murals and street art works, one of the most famous Berlin sightseeing attractions and a testimony to the Berlin Wall and history. A discovery of the city without a visit to the East Side Gallery would be incomplete!

Raphaëlle Djuna
Raphaëlle Djuna Daouphars

Author

Art and Culture are my leitmotiv. As a cultural project manager, I have been passionate about photography and literature for several years. Berlin is for me a source of inspiration that never ceases to surprise me!

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