Already one of the most famous attractions in the city, the historic stretch of the Berlin Wall now known as the East Side Gallery will be protected from encroaching development.
Originating as an oppressive barrier and transformed into an open air art gallery, the 1.3 kilometre stretch of the wall is covered in more than 100 paintings by international artists. With famous murals like My God, Help Me To Survive This Deadly Love by Dmitri Vrubel, which shows a kiss between Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev, the grim once-divider of the city is now a symbol of its reunification – and probably the most popular spot to take a selfie.
The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and many of the paintings went up in 1990, but there has been no organization designated to maintain the incredible piece of history. As the city grows, the wall is potentially under threat from development and in response, the East Side Gallery has been transferred to a public foundation – the Berlin Wall Foundation – to help protect it into the future.
The area around the gallery has seen rapid growth. One section of the East Side Gallery was even removed in 2013 when luxury apartments were built, a move that created an international outcry. Now, Deutsche Welle, Germany’s public broadcaster, reports that development plans around the section have stopped and Berlin will contribute €250,000 (US$284,000) a year to preserving the wall. There will also be programs and guided tours, as well as plans for an exhibition on the history of the wall.
The Berlin Wall Foundation already manages the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse, the Marienfelde Refugee Center Museum and the Günter Litfin Memorial. The East Side Gallery – which received about three million visitors a year – will now get oversight from the organization and the director of the foundation has also promised that no more sections will be removed, reports artnet News.