EAST SIDE GALLERY, MURALES

Audio File length: 2.30
English / USA Language: English / USA

The famous murals that make up the East Side Gallery feature an immense variety of subjects, but they all share the same aspiration: to glorify the triumph of peace and liberty over all forms of war and division.

 

There are no divisions between the paintings, which thus create a single, continuous effect that cannot fail to move the observer.

You’ll surely want to take a couple of extra minutes to admire what is probably the most famous mural in the whole of the East Side Gallery, featuring two elderly men in distinguished attire kissing one another on the mouth.

The pair are Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the USSR, and Erich Honecker, third Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic. This fraternal embrace actually took place on October 6, 1979, during the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the GDR, and the moment was captured for posterity by the French journalist, Régis Bossu.

Ten years later, the Russian painter Dmitri Vrubel came across the photo while leafing through a newspaper. This gave him the idea of placing a giant version of the kiss on the space reserved for him on the Berlin Wall. Of course, the artist added – in huge letters – his own personal comment on the gesture, which can be read in the words running along the bottom: “My God, help me to survive this deadly love!”

 

Another of the murals that attracts crowds of visitors is the one by the German artist Birgit Kinder, depicting a Trabant, the legendary car of East Germany, breaking through the Wall. The registration plate of the vehicle bears the symbolic date of 9 November 1989, and at the top are the words “Test the best”. The Trabant is said to have taken a huge amount of time to build, with some saying it took as long as ten years before the cars were delivered to customers.

 

An interesting fact: the tradition of the fraternal socialist kiss, consisting of an embrace accompanied by kisses on either cheek, or less frequently on the mouth, has its roots in the Russian Orthodox Church. It was a formal gesture that was expected of people, much like a handshake in Western countries.

 

Our visit to the East Side Gallery ends here. MyWoWo would like to thank you - see you again at another Wonder of the World!

Download MyWoWo! The travel app that tells you about the Wonders of the World!

Share on