Breaking Down Walls: Exploring Berlin, Germany by Kiley Pettit

If you ever get a chance to go to Germany, I would put the city of Berlin at the top of your list! The city is packed full of culture, historical significance, and learning opportunities, so while you are there, you will get the chance to experience so many incredible sights! During my time there, I went to the Berlin Cathedral which was first built in 1451 and has been reconstructed numerous times since. Let me tell you, it was the most breathtaking church I have ever been to! The walls were lined with gold designs and the magnificently tall ceiling had a dome with a stained glass window of a dove. The church even contained the bodies of German royal families in its underground crypt. After seeing the inside of the church— and climbing around 400 of the steepest steps ever!—I reached the top of the dome, where I saw the most unbelievable panoramic view of the city. Since Berlin is a large, widespread city, I felt as though I was finally able to see it in full from the top of the cathedral! Berlin not only has beautiful churches and views, but it also has some very serious memorials and museums. The most obvious was the Berlin Wall. When built during the Cold War, it represented a divided city with divided morals and ideologies. My favorite part of my time in Berlin was seeing the parts of the wall that were still intact, especially the East Side Gallery. This gallery was created shortly after the fall of 1990 and is the largest intact part of the wall. It contains hundreds of murals and paintings that represent the thoughts, feelings, and significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The artwork on the wall was created in 1989 after the fall on the East Side. This is extremely significant because when Germany was divided, the people of the West expressed themselves through graffiti and art on the wall. On the other hand, in the East, the people either could not walk up to the wall or they could not alter it in any way. Therefore, the East Side Gallery now displays the idea of artistic freedom and harmony in an area where that was once not possible. Every single mural has a different meaning to the city of Berlin, its inhabitants, and people across the globe. Here are some of my favorite parts of the wall that spoke to me and what I thought the painters meant while painting them. I am so incredibly grateful to have been able to visit such an incredible and historical section of Berlin, Germany on my trip!

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