Thursday, July 23, 2009

Little Is Left Today of the Cold War's Most Famous Monument

As the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall looms, some locals wonder if they could have taken better care of one of the world's best-known monuments. Less than a quarter of the Wall is under historical protection and you can find more pieces of it overseas than in Germany.

On their first visit to Berlin a group of young Irish tourists decide to check out the East Side Gallery. They travel to where tourist maps tell them the gallery is and spend the next hour wandering along what appears to be a busy highway flanked by a graffiti-covered wall. "Where's this so-called gallery?" they curse, before giving up and heading back into the center of Berlin for more productive sightseeing.

There's some embarrassment later on when they find out that the big concrete wall they were walking alongside is actually one of the most important monuments of the 20th century, symbol of the Cold War and global shorthand for, firstly, political oppression and then, peaceful revolution. Yes, the Berlin Wall.

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