The East-Side Gallery is the only part of the original Berlin Wall that is still standing, relatively unharmed, with its beautiful historical graffiti on. Located in Friedrichshain, near the Ostbahnhof railway station, it is about 1,300 meters in length (0.8 miles), covered with over 100 paintings, some of which are real masterpieces.
When we went to see it, we were amazed at its poor condition, though. As it happened, except for a partial restoration project in 2000, the leftovers of the Berlin Wall and the East-Side Gallery were seriously neglected. Vandalism and corrosion did the rest.
Various attempts to arrange a second restoration project had failed, mainly due to property rights issues and funding problems. Now, the Gallery is in serious danger of extinction, with some of the works already irreparably damaged.
The funny thing about it is that the actual cost of complete restoration is supposed to be around 3 million Euros, which is a relatively small amount – especially when compared to the multi-billion investment in the city since it’s reunification. And let’s not forget that the Germans are world-experts in restoration – it’s enough to look at the Reichstag or at Brandenburg Gate to understand that.
Further reading about the state of Berlin Wall:
Fading pictures of Berlin (A Berlin Diary)
An excellent article explaining the basic facts.
The Vanishing Berlin Wall (The German Way)
Another informative source, well written and with lots of links.
The Case of the Missing Mauer (Observing Herman)
Herman the German sums up things beautifully, as always.
Berlin Wall Zoomified (Bradford Bohonus’s blog)
You gotta see this one: an interactive panoramic view of East-Side Gallery.