Berlin Europe Germany History

Asisi’s The Wall – Step Back In Time to a Divided Berlin


If you find yourself in Berlin, make sure you visit Asisi’s Die Mauer (The Wall) Panorama.

Berlin is a city encased in its palpable history. Remnants of its divided past are hard to ignore, whether it is the feel of the wall memorial cobbles beneath your feet, or the glimpse of the Fernsehturm TV tower as you turn a corner. However, walking in the shadow of the remaining sections of the wall, or standing at Checkpoint Charlie doesn’t quite provide the same feeling as entering Asisi’s Die Mauer (The Wall) Panorama.

Fifteen metres high and 60 metres around, Yadegar Asisi’s panoramic photographic print transports you to a divided Berlin on an autumn day in the 1980’s.

The Iranian-Austrian artist, famous for his panoramic photographic prints, grew up in East Berlin with the wall as his neighbour, and has recreated an average day in Berlin at that time.

You are instantly immersed in a typical scene of 1980’s Berlin, where the menacing wall divides the streets, highlighting the stark contrast between life on the east and west. Sounds of life echo around the circular room, adding to the sensation that you are actually standing outside, on a Berlin street, looking at the notorious wall.


Asis’s The Wall Panorama is located on Zimmerstrasse. Metres away is Checkpoint Charlie. Despite the fact that it is now a tourist attraction, where tourists giggle as they pose with men dressed as guards, it still has the power to give you a chill, if you imagine what it was like back then.

At The Wall Panorama, there is no imagination necessary, as Asisi lends you both his imagination and his memories and transports you back to the Berlin of walls, no-man’s land, fear and a divided city.

Asisi's The Wall Panorama, Berlin - view from the west- The Berlin Wall and no-man's land

Standing outside The Wall Panorama on the bright, freezing and very modern Berlin street, you are unsure of what to expect. You enter a warehouse-like building with high ceilings and a hallway covered in graffiti. People’s names, love declarations and political messages are scrawled and stamped everywhere. The floor, the walls, the stand alone signs of information all carry a coating of words and colours.

Asisi's The Wall Panorama - Berlin

There is something special about this area. The history of the wall is as thick in the air as the layers of different coloured scribbles are on the surfaces. It is as though the wall has been reincarnated in a way. You can feel the importance of this room, the importance that made so many before you leave their mark on the walls and floors. Marks of allegiance to those who were trapped by the wall, marks to remember them and to remind ourselves not to forget.

Asisi's The Wall Panorama - Berlin -

Dispersed along the wallpaper of letters are photographs and information plaques detailing moments of the wall’s history, and people who were affected by the wall. A woman reminisces being allowed to visit friends in West Berlin, and how she didn’t want to leave. A photograph of a couple on their wedding day, standing on an East Berlin balcony that overlooked the West Berlin that they once wandered through freely.

Asis's The Wall Panorama - Berlin -
It is easy to forget that this is just the foyer area, and that the main event is yet to be seen. We reluctantly tear ourselves away, after leaving our own mark, and step inside the mind of Asisi, and into Berlin of the 1980’s, a divided city of contrasts.

Paying Tribute at Asisi's The Wall Panorama - Berlin
The echoing sound of the past is unnerving. The room is dark and the round walls somehow display an entirely life-like outdoor scene, filled with so many details that you could stare at it for hours.


A man painting the wall. Children throwing a ball against the wall. Tourists posing for photos next to the ‘You are leaving the American sector’ sign. Punks and graffiti artists, old men and families go about their daily life beside a wall with watchtowers, armed guards and Alsatian dogs guarding the no-man’s land on the other side.


Despite the fact that you know that you are looking at an image on the wall, it feels so real. As you stand and look at no-mans-land, it is chilling. The birds perched on the infamous wall highlight its prison-like structure, as they are the only ones free to come and go as they please.
A figure in a distant window of a dilapidated building, over the wall, makes you wonder what their life was like, looking down on scenes from the West.

Asisi's The Wall Panorama - Berlin - Watch Towers and the TV tower in a divided Berlin -
I found that there was so much to take in, so many places to let your imagination take you, that I was very reluctant to leave. Passing back though the graffitied room seemed all the more poignant, and emerging into the Berlin of 2015 was a very surreal and poignant experience.


Berlin during the years of the wall is a time I have spent a lot of time imagining. To stand there looking at the physical representation of that time was very powerful. If you are in Berlin and interested in this fascinating time, then you will definitely enjoy a visit to Asisi’s The Wall Panorama.

(For some reason my photos came out with a dark blue tinge, hence the lack of photos of Asis’s Die Mauer The Wall Panorama! )

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  • Reply
    March 24, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    If I had to regret anything in my travels it was a missed opportunity to witness and fully understand the horror of the wall when it was in force. I have spoken to people since then who once lived in Berlin and hearing their stories it is difficult to imagine such a divide between east and west. Thanks for bringing this to my attention and if I make it back I will be sure to not to miss this.
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    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      March 26, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      I would have loved to have seen the wall in real life. I’ve never spoken to anyone who lived in Berlin at that time, it would be really interesting. You should visit if you get the chance.

      • Reply
        April 12, 2015 at 4:47 pm

        Hi Christine
        Haven’t you talked to one of the famous Berlin-boys? 😉

  • Reply
    Bente Vold Klausen
    March 25, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Interesting post, I will make sure I see this next time I am in Berlin. I stayed in a summer camp in Berlin when I was only 16, many years ago in 1969 and experienced the strange feeling of a divided city.
    Bente Vold Klausen recently posted…Tourist in IranMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Great read – I’m looking forward to heading to Berlin. I keep hearing so many good things about it, especially the street art. Some day soon….
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  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    This is powerful, I can only imagine the tension and horrors of that time. I had no idea of Asis’s The Wall Panorama, I would love to visit one day
    Alejandra recently posted…Hiking Luis Quinn National ParkMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    This is one of those time periods that I think about often but can’t fully grasp. How it would feel to have a wall (literally) built overnight and dividing your country? I have no clue. I’ll have to check this out next time I’m in Berlin.
    Madaline recently posted…(The Not So) Camera BagsMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I recently visited the wall and it was amazing. I can;t believe all of the history and tragedy behind it!
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  • Reply
    Dannielle Lily
    March 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    This is a great post, and I actually really like your pictures. I visited Berlin a few years ago and the city’s history really is all around you. Did you like all the street art? I did an ‘Alternative’ walking tour the day after the normal tour and it was pretty cool!
    Dannielle Lily recently posted…This Looked Better on InstagramMy Profile

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      April 1, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks Dannielle. I LOVE the street art, it’s one of my absolute favourite things about Berlin! I actually did the Alternative Street Art Tour, that was really good. I love walking tours! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tiana Taylor
    March 25, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Amazing slice of history! Great writing.
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  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Definitely something to check out. Haven´t been to Berlin so far but hopefully next year for the ITB.

  • Reply
    Susan Cooper
    March 26, 2015 at 2:15 am

    This definitely sounds like an amazing and surreal experience. I am sure it is very moving. Should I find myself in Berlin, it is one thing that will top my list now. Thanks for sharing
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  • Reply
    March 26, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    This looks fascinating. I’m hoping to visit Berlin this year, so bookmarking this to visit if I go. I really enjoyed your write up, thoughtful and really interesting! Great post!
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  • Reply
    The Dessert Engineer
    March 27, 2015 at 4:44 am

    I never knew of Asisi’s Die Mauer, but what a touching reminder to a dark chapter in Berlin’s history.
    The Dessert Engineer recently posted…Kentucky Road Trip: A Thoroughbread Yearling Sale and KFC’s BirthplaceMy Profile

  • Reply
    Anne Klien ( MeAnne)
    March 27, 2015 at 9:23 am

    More and more itinerary is added to my future Berlin travels…. I love to visit this site one day
    Anne Klien ( MeAnne) recently posted…Things to do in Venice: Island HoppingMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 27, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    These places are very important so that people don’t forget the craziness of the 20th century. I visited Berlin a couple of times and tried to visit many sites associated with the history of the Wall, I haven’t been to this yet. Loved your post, thanks for sharing!
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    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      April 1, 2015 at 9:17 am

      Thanks Gabs! There’s a lot of historical sites in Berlin, I wished I could have had more time to see them all. Next time!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    I LOVE Berlin, and this post brought me right back! The wall is truly incredible– it gave me chills when I was there, so tangibly being able to imagine the history that went down less than a mere 30 years ago! Great article 🙂

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      April 1, 2015 at 9:16 am

      Thanks Cassie. I really love Berlin too, it’s such an interesting city.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2015 at 5:54 am

    This one gave me goosebumps. I can’t wait to head to Berlin and unravel all of this dark history for myself.
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    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      April 1, 2015 at 9:15 am

      I hope you get to go soon. I can’t wait to return toBerlin!

  • Reply
    Bruno B.
    March 28, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Berlin and in particular the Berlin Wall is truly impressive. It give me chills to unravel all the story behind it. It’s a fascinating city but with a really dark history…
    Bruno B. recently posted…Why I visited all the top mosques in IstanbulMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 29, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Very beautiful photos. The wall is already on my list for when I visit Berlin. It is I think “a monument” of great history and importance!
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  • Reply
    March 29, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    History immortalized! Such a nostalgic and awesome post this is!
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  • Reply
    March 30, 2015 at 1:22 am

    Wish I had visited this when I was in Berlin in December! I did visit the wall and was left perplexed and stricken by an array of conflicting emotions. It is a complex subject and deserves to be seen, heard, and read about!
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    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      April 1, 2015 at 9:12 am

      You’re so right Andrea, it’s very complex and there is a lot to learn about the history.

  • Reply
    Bier and Bratwurst (and some other German traditions) at Herman Ze German |
    March 30, 2015 at 11:01 am

    […] to fascinating new projects and galleries like Asisi’s The Wall Panorama (which I read about on today), so when I do visit – which will hopefully be after TBEX this year – […]

  • Reply
    Roaming Renegades
    March 30, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Brilliant and informative post. Berlin is somewhere we have yet to visit although I have been to Germany. It is however somewhere that we really can’t wait to see and the wall and all that history is just fascinating and haunting at the same time.
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    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      April 1, 2015 at 9:11 am

      Thanks guys! I love the history of Berlin, it is so interestinf.

  • Reply
    March 30, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    A great read! I have been to Germany but sadly for not very long 🙁 I’d love to step back in time in Berlin!

  • Reply
    April 1, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I absolutely love your pictures and your writing!
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  • Reply
    April 1, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I have been in Germany as I have family there but not been in Berlin, your post is really informative as well as having great pictures.
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