It’s been 25 years since the Berlin Wall came tumbling down … suddenly, surprisingly, peacefully. Memories of the wall’s horrors seem like yesterday to those of us old enough to remember it and to have personally seen the wall and its “death zone.” Today, more than a generation has no personal memory of its terror, suffering and death.
Berlin Wall 25th Anniversary – remarkable art installation
To commemorate the division beginning in 1961 and the freedom following the wall’s collapse in 1989, Berlin rebuilt the “wall” with white helium-filled balloons. The Berlin Wall 25th anniversary public art installation designed by two artist brothers followed the former wall’s path – little of the original wall remains today with only sections marked by a line of bricks embedded in streets and sidewalks. On the evening of Nov. 9, 2014 – 25 years to the day that feared checkpoints and guard towers were abandoned to open East-West transit –- the balloons were symbolically released, rising freely into the night sky.
Personal stories about the wall’s impact on the lives of many people have been linked to the public art display on the brothers’ microsite, fallofthewall25.com, available in both German and English.
HI Travel Tales has spent some time in Berlin – and promises to spend more. Berlin is a hard city to not love – the depth of history around every corner sucks you in, the plethora of great restaurants and breadth of culture feeds your soul, and a kind of gritty coolness enlivens the mind.
Take a walk along Bernauer Street where neighborhoods were divided by the wall. You can easily spend hours meandering along the former “death zone,” reading plaques about those who died in their attempts seeking liberty, listening to audio recordings of those who lived through it, and re-living the shock that is recreated with photos — see our story on walking the Berlin Wall.
Don’t miss the somewhat grungy Mauerpark that was also a central point of the separation since the wall ran along its edge — watch a short HI Travel Tales video featuring Mauerpark here.
Find your way to some of the remaining wall sections and a guard tower near the Berlin Wall Memorial, and then try to envision an entire city surrounded by this and try not to be moved to tears — click here to view a digital watercolor of a section of the Berlin Wall created by Michael Hodgson.
For additional information:
>> The official Berlin Wall 25th Anniversary website.
>> An excellent story in Fast Company magazine about the brothers behind the Berlin Wall 25th Anniversary balloon installation.
>> The microsite for the two artist brothers behind the white helium balloons that recreated the Berlin Wall.
>> Short video highlighting the release of the commemorative balloons on the evening of Nov. 9, 2014.