Ten Big Ones

Mural at Tiergarten (U1)

Berlin is full of beautiful large murals. Some are commissioned, others are illegal. Some are by well-known artists, others by the not-yet-famous. The mural in the featured photo is visible from the Tiergarten S-bahn station. I don’t know who it is by.

Case McClaim’s mural at Heinrich Heine Allee (U8)

This famous mural by Case McClaim is right by one of the exits from the Heinrich Heine Allee U-bahn station on the U8 line. This area has a constantly changing variety of other wonderful work.

Mural by Agostino Iacurci at Moritplatz (U8)

Get off the U8 at the Moritzplatz station and walk to Prinzessinen Gaerten to get to this huge mural painted by Agostino Iacurci.

Mural by BLU near the southern end of Oberbaumbruecke

Take the U1 to the Schlesisches Tor station, and then walk towards Oberbaumbruecke. When you reach it, turn around and look for this mural by BLU before you cross the river. Look around and you will find an undergrowth of street art.

Tavar Zawacki’s mural at Urban Spree

Take M10 or M13 to the Warschauer Strasse stop and right at the corner of Revaeler Strasse and Warschauer Strasse is Urban Spree. This is a curated work by Tavar Zawacki, which has passed the date until which it was protected. By now it will have been painted over by Victor Ash.

Mural at Urban Spree (M10)

Behind Urban Spree are abandoned warehouses with ever-changing art work on the walls. I don’t know who made the one which you see above.

Selfie-monkey with a camera at the Anne Frank Zentrum

This large mural is in the incredible gallery near Anne Frank Zentrum on Rosenthaler Strasse. You can get there from the S-bahn station at Hackescher Markt or by taking U8 to the Weinmeisterstrasse station. I can’t find who painted it.

Mural at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin
Mural by Marcus Haas and Xi Design at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin (M10)

If you get off at the Bernauer Strasse stop of M10 and walk towards the Berlin Wall memorial you’ll see this work facing the road. It was designed Marcus Haas and executed by Xi Design (this is an advertising agency which has hacked the wild meme). I like the map of Berlin hidden in the marbling of fat in the slice of steak.

Two more works are easily visible from public transport, but I didn’t manage to photograph them. You see a stencil by JR when you take the M2 coming down from Prenzlauer Allee towards Alexanderplatz. Look to the right of the tram just as it gets towards the end of Prenzlauer Allee. The famous mural of the Cosmonaut by Victor Ash is visible from the U1 line. As you take the U-bahn from Kottbusser Tor towards Schlesischer Tor, look to your left just after starting.

There must be many others. These just the large ones The Family and I managed to see.

A relic and a memorial

The storm had passed when we got off the tram at Bernauer Strasse. A beautiful green laws stretches along the road on one side of it. The grass was wet with rain but the green was very inviting. I stepped out on it and took photos. On one side was a line of houses bordered by a low concrete wall (featured photo). On the other side was a line of high steel rods (photo below). This was what remains of the Berlin wall. The strip of lawn was the death strip between them.

Remnants of the outer wall at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin

What legitimacy can a government have when it removes the right to live from some of its own citizens? One would have thought that this question need not be asked again in the post-Nazi era. But as The Family and I walked through this long memorial, we were surrounded by historical echoes of that question asked again.

A few steps ahead we came to one of Berlin’s famous pieces of street art. This was the result of a competition run by Xi-Design, who executed the winning design submitted by Marcus Haas. I love the easter egg: the map of Berlin hidden inside the steak. Like all street art, time has overtaken it. This was finished just over a year back (in September 2016) and the bottom of the wall is now a palimpsest of paintings.

Personal memorials at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin

There was documentation on the history of the wall in panels at intervals. You could also listen to people of the area speaking about the wall, and how it affected their lives. We came across a stretch of unbroken wall: as much of an eyesore as it used to be (next to the steak mural above). We walked on, past the Reconciliation Church, and to the remnants of the wall at the Sophien parish cemetery. In the middle of the green here is a series of free-standing weathered steel cubbyholes, each a memorial to someone who died trying to cross the wall (photo above). One of these held some flowers. There are still people around who remember individuals.

Memorial plaque in the pavement of Bernauer Strasse in Berlin

We walked on to the very end, at the remnant of the Nordbahnhof and then turned to walk back. Along the pavement we noticed little plaques. Each of them is embedded on the Western side of the former border near where an escape attempt was made. The plaques gave a date and said whether or not the attempt was successful.

The wall at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin

The Berlin Wall Memorial was not there when we last came to Berlin almost a dozen years ago. Not having lived in Germany in the years of division, The Family looked at the historical information in detail. I read along with her and discovered much that I did not know in any detail. The Wall is gone now, and a whole new generation has grown up in its absence. You can see them reclaiming this once-forsaken ground with graffiti like the one in the photo above. It appears again and again over Berlin in incongruous places. So refreshing, I thought.