But before we talk about the socialist murals, we have to talk a bit about Halle Neustadt
Halle Neustadt was founded as a new settlement in May 1967 in East Germany. It was created as an example of urban planning with high density living with development focused on a strip of land that extends for 4 km from east to west and one kilometre in width. A tram line serves as the central corridor of transport, connecting people with the train station.
Most of the housing there was planned in the shape of high rise apartments, with some towers reaching over ten floors. But most of the buildings we saw while there are around six floors.
Halle Neustadt was known as the City of the Chemistry Workers due to the factories where most people used to work. Some apartments were reserved for Soviet troops stationed in East Germany, but most were built for workers. The problem is that a lot of the infrastructure planned for the city never came to be. Because of that, the town became a bedroom community where people went to sleep between shifts.
The city never reached its goal of creating a place with equal conditions for everyone. This was primarily due to a change in planning and country direction when Erich Honecker replaced Walter Ulbricht as the party leader in East Germany. The focus was on Berlin and not on other projects. This was done in such a harsh way that Halle Neustadt city hall was only completed in 1989!
With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, Halle Neustadt was combined with the old town of Halle following a municipal election in May 1990. And, like other cities in former East Germany, the population declined considerably. In 2019, the population was half of what it used to be back in 1983.
To make Halle Neustadt better for its citizens, the city had a lot of impressive works of art spread around it. Tucked between the buildings, behind train stations, and along the walkways and parks, colourful murals and statues are everywhere.
Karl Marx Mural by Josep Renau
Among all of them, our favourite is easily the one with Karl Marx created in 1974 by Josep Renau, a Spanish artist from Valencia who moved to East Germany escaping persecution in Franco’s dictatorship. Called “Unity of the working class and the founding of the GDR“, this colourful mural presents Karl Marx in a lionlike way in orange, red, and yellow shades.
Another mural by the same artist is called “The man-controlled forces of nature and technology” on its left side. At the bottom of this massive socialist mural, you can see workers and miners powering an explosion of industrial force that culminates with the development of technology and science, as can be seen in the colourful representation of the stars on the top of it. This is one of the most beautiful representations of the modern socialist society that we have seen.
Lenin by Erich Enge in the Halle Neustadt
The other socialist mural that we were eager to see in Halle Neustadt pictures Lenin. If you have been following Fotostrasse for a while, you know that we have been hunting down his images and statues for some time now.
This Lenin mural in Halle Neustadt was unveiled in 1971 by Erich Enge, a bricklayer by training who found himself in large format paintings. His mural is named “He stirred the sleep of the world” and visually presents the three essential reforms that Lenin initiated in the Soviet Union. First, with the elimination of illiteracy, followed by a country comprehensive land reform and the country’s electrification in the 1920s. All these elements are presented around Lenin’s face in the mural, surrounded by young people reading and learning.
If you want to explore Halle Neustadt and see all these socialist murals, you must take a train to the S-Bahn station Halle Neustadt and follow the map below. It’s easier to get there by train, and we know it because we walked there and it was a mistake.
Halle Neustadt Schwimmhalle
Karl Marx Mural
Park am Gastronom
Socialist Murals in Halle Neustadt
06124 Halle (Saale)
If you like what you read here, you should join our Discord channel; there, you will find a place for open discussions about all the themes we talk about here, and it is a free space for you to share your questions, comments and suggestions.
If you are not a fan of the platform, you also can join us on our Facebook group or our Twitter and Instagram. We usually post all the lovely images we see and do there, together with curating the best links of all World Wide Web. No joke!