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3 Reasons To Visit Berlin, Germany: Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery, German Cuisine

Berlin doesn’t claim to be Europe's most beautiful capital, but it's a city that represents Europe's past, and its future. It's hard to believe that only a generation has passed since Berliners tore down the Berlin Wall; now the city echoes with diversity and open-mindedness.

Walk the streets of Berlin and you'll come face to face with reminders of some of the most terrible and moving periods in world history. That’s before you even enter any of the hundreds of museums, galleries, and memorial sites. Join the locals for a drink by the canal in Kreuzberg, sample organic produce at a market in Prenzlauer Berg, party all night in Neukölln, or check out the shops and cafés in elegant Charlottenburg.

3 Reasons To Visit Berlin, Germany: Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery, German Cuisine

1- Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Construction of the Wall was commenced by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) on 13 August 1961. The Wall cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany, including East Berlin. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc portrayed the Wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany.
Berlin Wall

GDR authorities officially referred to the Berlin Wall as the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart (German: Antifaschistischer Schutzwall). The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the "Wall of Shame", a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt in reference to the Wall's restriction on freedom of movement. Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border (IGB), which demarcated the border between East and West Germany, it came to symbolize physically the "Iron Curtain" that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.

Before the Wall's erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin; from there they could then travel to West Germany and to other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989 the Wall prevented almost all such emigration. During this period over 100,000 people attempted to escape and over 5,000 people succeeded in escaping over the Wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin.

2- East Side Gallery

The East Side Gallery is an open-air gallery in Berlin. It consists of a series of murals painted directly on a 1,316 m (4,318 ft) long remnant of the Berlin Wall, located near the centre of Berlin, on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.

The gallery has official status as a Denkmal, or heritage-protected landmark. According to the Künstlerinitiative East Side Gallery e.V., an association of the artists involved in the project, "The East Side Gallery is understood as a monument to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the peaceful negotiation of borders and conventions between societies and people", and has more than three million visitors per year.
East Side Gallery

The Gallery consists of 105 paintings by artists from all over the world, painted in 1990 on the east side of the Berlin Wall. The actual border at this point had been the river Spree. The gallery is located on the so-called "hinterland mauer", which closed the border to West Berlin.

It is possibly the largest and longest-lasting open air gallery in the world. Paintings from Jürgen Grosse alias INDIANO, Dimitri Vrubel, Siegfrid Santoni, Bodo Sperling, Kasra Alavi, Kani Alavi, Jim Avignon, Thierry Noir, Ingeborg Blumenthal, Ignasi Blanch i Gisbert, Kim Prisu, Hervé Morlay VR and others have followed.

The paintings at the East Side Gallery document a time of change and express the euphoria and great hopes for a better, more free future for all people of the world.

The East Side Gallery was founded following the successful merger of the two German artists' associations VBK and BBK. The founding members were the speche of the Federal Association of Artists BBK Bodo Sperling, Barbara Greul Aschanta, Jörg Kubitzki and David Monti.

In July 2006, to facilitate access to the River Spree from O2 World, a 40 m (130 ft) section was moved somewhat west, parallel to the original position.

A 23-meter section was scheduled to be removed on March 1, 2013, to make way for luxury apartments. None of the artists whose work will be destroyed were informed of these plans. The demolition work actually started on March 1, 2013. According to German news FOCUS, authorities were not aware of the start of the demolition. Due to the involvement of protesters, demolition was postponed until at least March 18, 2013.

3- German Cuisine

The cuisine of Germany has evolved as a national cuisine through centuries of social and political change with variations from region to region.
German Cuisine

Some regions of Germany, like Bavaria and neighbouring Swabia, share dishes with Austrian and parts of Swiss cuisine.

The Michelin Guide of 2015 awarded 11 restaurants in Germany three stars, the highest designation, while 38 more received two stars and 233 one star. German restaurants have become the world's second-most decorated after France.
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