Two decades later, restored colorful murals on Berlin Wall celebrate freedom
BERLIN - The Berlin Wall’s longest remaining stretch has been restored to its state of nearly two decades ago after artists repainted the colorful murals they created in the aftermath of the notorious barrier’s opening.
Berlin yesterday inaugurated the restored section of the concrete wall, which is known as the East Side Gallery and snakes along the bank of the Spree river for three quarters of a mile.
A popular tourist attraction, it boasts famous images such as a boxy East German Trabant car that appears to burst through the wall and a fraternal kiss between Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and his East German counterpart, Erich Honecker.
The painted wall “is a document that allows future generations to picture for themselves . . . what the wall meant,’’ Mayor Klaus Wowereit said.
The section was transformed into an open-air gallery months after communist East Germany opened its borders on Nov. 9, 1989. Much of the rest of the wall was quickly ripped down.
The East Side Gallery survived but was an increasingly sad sight in recent years, with crumbling concrete and peeling paint. Over the past year, nearly 90 artists from around the world gathered to repaint their creations.
Berlin helped fund the restoration costs of more than euro2 million ($3 million).