Despite the devastation of World War II and following years of unrest, Berlin, the capital and largest city of Germany, has been rebuilt to become a major center of culture, politics, media, and science. You will see new and classic architecture, sports and cultural institutions, popular shopping areas, dynamic entertainment, and about one-third of Berlin is covered by forests, parks, canals, lakes, and rivers, making this a good destination for nature lovers too. The city at present is famous for having an abundant artistic flow. It has world-class museums, and also popular street art areas. Although every inch of the city displays some sort of graffiti, there are many places with great street art. Check out 10 of the best locations for street art in Berlin, Germany.
1. The Berlin Wall
Constructed during the Cold War to separate West Berlin and East Berlin, The Berlin Wall was reconstructed and made 14 feet (4.3m) tall in the 1980s. This made it a blank canvas for West Berlin’s artists and unhappy people to paint their ideas. The Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, and the world saw artists moving into Eastern areas. What remains of the Wall, having over 100 murals, came to be called the East Side Gallery. From “The Kiss”, which portrays the embrace between Soviet politician Leonid Brezhnev and East German President Erich Honecker, to cartoon heads and “The Wall Jumper”, there is a lot of wonderful artwork to check out at the Berlin Wall.
The Berlin Wall
Address: Mühlenstrasse 3-100, 10243 Berlin, Germany
2. Schlesisches Tor/Oppelner Strasse
In a tour of Berlin’s street art scene, you certainly can’t miss the five-story-tall Os Gêmeos looming over Oppelner Strasse. It was created by Brazilian-born identical twins Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, who are famous for depicting disproportionate, strangely-dressed, and often gender-less yellow-skinned figures. Get out of the Schlesisches Tor U-Bahn Station (U1) and walk through Oppelner Strasse to reach this work of art.
Address: Oppelner Str. 3, 10997 Berlin, Germany
Get on the subway (U1) to Kottbusser Tor, then walk to Mariannenstrasse and you won’t miss it. A 22x14m (72x46ft) mural called The Cosmonaut. Painted in 2007 by Victor Ash, the large stencil drawing of a weightless astronaut explores the contrasts between the environment and the subject, like most of the artist’s works.
Address: Mariannenstrasse, 10999 Berlin, Germany
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4. Prenzlauer Allee
French street artist JR, as part of his Wrinkles of the City project that was finished in 2013, posted large black and white portrait photographs in 15 areas of the city. Only a few of the works are still there intact. The JR mural, located at Prenzlauer Allee, is one of them. Take a stroll from Alexanderplatz and when you get to Prenzlauer Allee, walk past the Soho House and the McFit Gym and then look back at Alexanderplatz. You will find other good pieces of the series at Invalidenstrasse (look for a hand gesticulating the Westside sign) and on the old water tower behind the Postbahnhof.
Address: Prenzlauer Allee 251, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg, Germany
5. Yaam Berlin
Located close to the East Side Gallery, the Yaam or the ‘Young and African Arts Market’ is a great place to relax and have a drink, but it is also an area to check out some fantastic artworks. It will be one of the most multicultural areas you visit in Berlin, and sometimes the place hosts temporary exhibitions, Reggae concerts, and basketball and volleyball tournaments.
Address: An der Schillingbrücke 3, 10243 Berlin, Germany
6. Boxhagener Strasse
If you are walking through Boxhagener Strasse, in Friedrichshain, your eyes will surely fall on the bright blue wings of the Butterfly Mural by Michele Tombolini. The 13x6m (42.7x19.7ft) paste-up is part of Tombolini’s Indelible Marks project and it draws our attention to the issue of child abuse. The colorful wings are in contrast to the black and white image of a young girl wearing a polka-dot dress and having a cross over her mouth. The famous street art is next to the Zille-Grundschule, a primary school; a great location to get the attention of parents and teachers. You can also find murals on Gabriel Max Strasse and Kreutzigerstrasse, located near to Boxhagener Strasse. And go see the gallery wall of the Intimes movie theater on Boxhagener Strasse 107.
Address: Boxhagener Strasse, 10245 Berlin, Germany
7. Ritterstrasse 12
Visit Ritterstrasse 12 to find a wall with artwork, in neon watercolor, depicting former US president Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian president Vladimir Putin in the pose of the three wise monkeys. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil; things difficult to do for any politician.
Address: Ritterstrasse 12, 10969 Berlin, Germany
8. Rigaer Strasse 83 & 94
While there is no special piece of street art to view in these streets, you will surely find a lot of banners calling out for change and paint splashes depicting cartoons and smileys on buildings. The area is the center for many community projects and activism. If interested, you can head to Fischladen in Rigaer Strasse 83. It is an anarchist bar where leftist forces hang out.
Rigaer Strasse 83 & 94
Address: 10247 Berlin, Germany.
9. Wilhelmstrasse 7
You might have seen this one before. If not, this will probably become your favorite. An explosion of colors showing an elephant playing with a balloon. The artist behind this popular work, which can also be seen from Friedrichstrasse, is Jadore Tong aka S.Y.R.U.S. Walk two blocks down and you will also find apartment buildings between Wilhelmstrasse and Friedrichstrasse having murals by Graco Berlin.
Address: 10963 Berlin, Germany
10. Oranienstrasse/Skalitzer Strasse
At the intersection of Oranienstrasse and Skalitzer Strasse, there is an artwork by Belgian street artist ROA, that depicts a deer, hare, and a bird hanging. The artist is famous for dealing with the themes of death and decay and has created works showing dead or rotting animals to reflect the impermanence of street art as it is always exposed to the elements and human life’s transience. At the intersection of Mariannenstrasse and Oranienstrasse, you can see the picture of Jack Nicholson on the shutter of the Basic Sole store.
Address: 10997 Berlin, Germany
Exploring all the street art areas in Berlin
As we noted earlier, most of Berlin’s areas have some sort of street art. We have listed some of the most popular ones. Joining a street art tour group is a good way to do a lot of exploring. But going on your own is also a fun way to do it. You can find many works on the walls of the elevated train tracks from the Alexanderplatz station to the Hackescher Markt station along Dircksenstrasse. There are impressive works near Haus Schwarzenberg, and some good ones at Bülowstrasse and Luckenwalder Strasse. You can also head to Lobeckstrasse, Oppelnerstrasse, Cuvrystrasse, and Moritzplatz. The list is certainly quite big!
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