Following the Holocaust and the end of World War II, the Soviets took the Eastern part of the city and the Allies the Western part of the city. The Western portion experienced an “economic miracle,” developing faster and drawing people and their skills from the Eastern portion; the Soviets stopped the trend of people moving to the West by erecting a wall that stood from 1961 until 1989, separating families and friends. Over a hundred people who tried to escape East Berlin were killed.
Upon reunification of the city, Berlin experienced a recession that hindered development. The result is that the city began many construction and development efforts in the last few years. Amid giant, Soviet era, blocky buildings, the city seems to have an alternative, somewhat cool, angsty vibe. The Wall, along with most buildings in Berlin, is covered with graffiti. The longest remaining stretch has been turned into the East Side Gallery, where different artists are commissioned to paint each portion.