David Bowie called it “the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.”
The German capital famous worldwide for its history of astounding political conflict and social struggle also demands recognition for another, much more admirable quality: its thriving, impassioned cultural aesthetic. What began on the western side of the Berlin Wall as a series of visages created to promote peace, welcome the lucky few East Berliners who managed to cross the deadly divide, and communicate disgust and anger over the rampant oppression consuming the capital, metamorphosed into an entire city of urban art masterpieces. Today, visitors to the capital can observe and admire not only the East Side Gallery, but also a number of murals decorating buildings, fences, and walls throughout the city, as well as sidewalk portraits, alleyway vignettes, and landscapes tucked under bridges and around stairwells. Named the “City of Design” by UNESCO in 2005, Berlin is a wonderland of architecture, innovation, music, television, and art. And when it comes to Berlin’s art, the urban genre reigns supreme.