From the moment I arrived in Berlin the Wall was a hot topic. There was a public protest at the East Side Gallery – a section of the wall that is preserved along the Spree River for street artists around the world leave their mark for peace. The East Side Gallery is considered an international memorial for freedom but is in threat of being torn down for development. I’m not going to get into the details of the feuding groups in this post – it’s quite political and convoluted like most disagreements – but you should know that it’s a very hot topic in Berlin . So much so that David Hasselhoff (aka the Hoff), even showed up to a protest the new development. Epic German (pop) culture.
I still remember the first thing that struck me when I visited Berlin a year ago – I was impressed by how well they preserved the wall and memorialized it as well as other important areas/sites of the city. The Wall is a structure that has a reason to be hated deeply, yet the city has done a great job of putting together a public space to learn about it’s history and remember the past lives and stories. I was absolutely entranced by the Berlin Wall Memorial along Bernauer Strasse. It was so cleverly done incorporating the land in which the wall stood and even the buildings around it – an open air exhibition. It told a story – and that’s what a good memorial does.
Overall memorials are important tools for educating the general public. These areas in Berlin combine art, architecture, physical urban space and the power of memory – an effective combination. Do you agree?
What are some of the best memorials you have seen around the world?
Open-Air Exhibition and Memorial Grounds
All year round Monday – Sunday 8:00am – 10:00pm
Visitor Center and Documentation Center
April – October
Tuesday – Sunday 9:30am – 7:00pm
November – March
Tuesday – Sunday 9:30am – 6:00pm
Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
Bernauer Straße 111/119