The East Side Gallery: A section of the inner wall painted in 1990


A section of the inner wall on Mühlenstrasse in Friedrichshain, painted in 1990 by 118 artists from 21 countries, is now known as the East Side Gallery. With brushes and spray paint and in a joyous celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall, these artists transformed the wall in a way that had once been possible only in West Berlin. The East Side Gallery was painstakingly restored for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.

The construction of the border fortifications between the train station Ostbahnhof and the bridge Oberbaumbrücke deviated from the norm. Here the political border to West Berlin lay to the southwest on the Kreuzberg riverbank, while the entire width of the water belonged to East Berlin.

Border guards patrolled the Spree in boats. Sections of the “Grenzmauer 75” version of the Wall were put up on the Friedrichshain side of the river, and behind this wall was a signal fence, a border patrol path, floodlights, and, close to the water, a “border security fence.” Because Mühlenstrasse, which ran parallel to the border, was part of the “protocol route” taken by state visitors traveling between East Berlin’s city center and its airport Schönefeld, the concrete sections used elsewhere as the outer wall were put up here to obstruct the visitors’ view of the border strip and to play down its significance.