Where’s the Berlin Wall now?
Little of this wall, which once separated the East Berlin and East Germany from West Berlin remains in its original location in the country’s capital. This one-time barrier, after its breakdown, was either chipped off, torn down or auctioned off.
This daunting stretch of fortification which once stood 156.4 kilometers in length completely encircled what was then known as West Berlin. However, these days, its longest surviving wall tract now known as the East Side Gallery and is situated in Berlin’s Mühlenstrasse, only extends to about 1.3 kilometers and can be viewed in whole within 20 minutes when one sees it on foot.
According to the “Berlin Wall Story” which chronicled the events connected to the 204,100-ton monument and was written by German author Hans-Hermann Hertle, after the two Germanys reunited, 65 cranes, 175 trucks and 13 bulldozers were employed to clear away the wall from the inner city by the end of 1990 and from the outer city in 1992.
Over 40,000 segments of the wall were crushed and were used as construction materials for road building. However, a number of segments survived in one piece and were sold as art objects, bought or donated to museums and other institutions all over the world like the Imperial War Museum in London and Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
Surprisingly, some of the segments of the Berlin Wall ended up over time in some of the the most unexpected places.
1. Main Street Station Casino, Brewery and Hotel, Las Vegas
This is probably the most unexpected place for Berlin Wall segment to be mounted up to – in a men’s bathroom in a casino in Las Vegas. The Main Street Station Casino has housed the Berlin Wall portion for almost 20 years!
There are three urinals fixed on the graffiti-filled slab of concrete with dimensions of about 3 meters in width and 1.8 meters in length. The wall portion is also encased in glass for protection.
Nevertheless, nobody knows how the Berlin wall segment ended up in such a vague location as according to the owner of the casino, Boyd Gaming Corporation, it had already been mounted when they bought the property way back in the 1990s from another casino which went bankrupt.
“Berlin Wall is one of the more popular items for sightseers at Main Street Station,” stated Boyd’s spokesman, Davis Strow.
He then added that they had to remodel the said bathroom where the wall due to the an unusual amount of traffic it gets from their customers. They also allow females to take a look at the wall escorted by a security personnel and as long as the bathroom is empty.
2. Perfil Group building, Buenos Aires
A line of Berlin Wall segments can also be found in the lobby of a Buenos Aires edifice where the Perfil Group, an Argentinian newspaper, takes office.
The company bought a total of 20 segments of the historic wall way back in 1991 their reason being that the Berlin Wall had a great significance when it comes to freedom especially the freedom to express.
“…(it is) true to the spirit of a news company who exercises the right of freedom,” the company added.
3. Schengen, Luxembourg
The Schengen village in southest Luxembourg may just be a small town with a population of not more than 2,000 individuals but a portion of the Berlin Wall is put up in the area to mark the historic significance of the village.
It was here where The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985, which now consists of 26 European countries. The said agreement allows the citizens of its members states to travel free through without having to undergo extensive checks upon reaching the borders.
The Berlin Wall segment was erected on the agreement’s 25th year anniversary together with the opening of the European Museum.
The wall remnant, which stands 2.8-meter-high and 1.2-meter-wide, is mounted in front of the European Museum and as the manager of the European Centre and European Museum in Schengen, Martina Kneip puts it:
“…(it stands) as a symbol of a border that does not exist anymore.”
4. Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
In America, the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall can be seen in front of the Variety Building which is located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The architecture, which weighs about 25 tons, measures 3.7 meters tall and 11.6 meters wide and is made up of 10 Berlin Wall segments.
The murals seen on four of the segments were originally from the Berlin Wall days including a green bear painted by Bimer, a street artist in those times.
Paintings on the other segments are recent works of artists like RETNA from LA and Herakut from Germany.
It was the Wende Museum in LA, a research and education institution that spearheads the preservation of Cold War artifacts, along with the German government and the city of Los Angeles which brought these segments to the said place in 2009 as part of The Wall Project.
“(The museum patronized the project) commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and continue the legacy of the Berlin Wall as a concrete canvas for art and political expression,” says Justinian Jampol, the museum’s founder and executive director.
Jampol added that the Wilshire Boulevard segments were discovered and taken from within the border area of Kreuzberg in Berlin.
5. Parque Europa, Madrid
The 233,000-square-meter Parque Europa is situated on the outskirts of Madrid and exhibits 17 miniature replicas of some of the landmarks found across Europe including an original segment from the Berlin Wall.
The said wall fragment is placed at the park’s west end.
The wall portion was donated by the Torrejón de Ardoz’s town council in which area the said park is located.
A sizeable portion near the bottom of the slab is missing showing the steel rod grid beneath. Behind the mounted wall is a small model Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate which has been the city’s symbol for centuries. During the Berlin Wall-era, the wall had blocked off the said gate from West Berlin.
6. Hilton Anatole, Dallas
Another two segments of the Berlin Wall are found in the 1,606-room Hilton Anatole in Dallas and is presented as one of the hotel’s highlights.
The hotel is really known for housing a massive collection of artworks numbering to a thousand pieces placed within its 27 floors.
The wall sections the hotel has have paintings done by German artist Jurgen Grosse in 1990 on them.
The segments were given by one of the hotel’s German partners in 1990 and was originally placed in the hotel’s garden before being moved into its Trinity Corridor in 2011.
7. Cheonggyecheon stream, Seoul
Korea also has a portion of the Berlin Wall — three of its segments were put up in downtown Seoul, near the stream of Cheonggyecheon in 2005 as part of the Berlin Square erected on the area. The city of Berlin financed the project hoping that it will move the citizens of Seoul into considering and praying for the reunification of the Korean peninsula which is until now divided into two, the North and South Korea.
As stated by the Korean Times, the Berlin wall pieces found in the said plaza stand 3.5 meters tall with a width of 3 meters. One of its side is filled with graffiti while the other side is blank.
The whole square exudes a German-theme ambiance and look — traditional German gas lamps are in place along with German plants and chairs. The wall itself is accompanied a statue of a blue bear which is a symbol of Berlin.
8. Western Station, Brown Line, Chicago
A 3.6-meter-tall, 1.2-meter-wide portion of the Berlin Wall is placed in the Western Station of the Chicago Transit Authority’s Brown Line in a neighborhood which is traditionally known as the German Lincoln Square.
The said segment was put up on January 19, 2008.
According to the CTA, the said Berlin Wall portion was given by the Senate and City of Berlin to the city of Chicago as a celebratory exhibit for the eyes of Chicago locals and visitors alike.
9. Vatican Gardens, Vatican City
A slab of the Berlin Wall was moved in August 1994 to the city of Vatican. It was placed in the city’s charming gardens where since the 13th century the popes often go to meditate and relax. The wall’s portion is decorated with a painting of St. Michael’s church.
As ITN Source states, Marco Piccinini, former Ferrari motor sport director and team manager of its Formula 1 team, got the slab through an auction in Monte Carlo in 1990 and gifted it to the Vatican in 1994.
10. Madison Avenue, New York City
many times passed but tends to be overlooked, a portion of the Berlin Wall stands Paley Park near 520 Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
Standing at about six meters in length, with a height of 3.6 meters and is comprised of five segments, the stretch was bought by Tishman Speyer Properties, the park’s owner, from the German government in 1990.
Interestingly, Tishman Speyer is also the developer behind Sony Center, a huge commercial complex located in Potsdamer Platz which is a former border area of Berlin. CNN Reports