For the last 18 months, I have been part of a team working on a project that is very dear to me and that I would like to introduce to you today: The MAUERSCHAU app.
Put very simply, MAUERSCHAU offers interactive tours of Berlin by means of augmented reality functions. However, in terms of content, MAUERSCHAU tours are much more than you’re typical “this is where that happened in year XYZ”!
All MAUERSCHAU tours center on real-life experiences of contemporary witnesses who lived during the time of the Berlin Wall. You can literally follow those witnesses’ footsteps by visiting the same places they did, as indicated on a map. The witnesses tell their stories in short videos that you can watch at different points throughout the tour, and their explanations are illustrated even further by text, archive footage and pictures from the time period or event the witnesses describe. The contemporary witnesses’ stories range from brave perseverance in a totalitarian state to daring escapes past the wall and point-of-view re-tellings of historic events such as the Berlin Crisis in 1961.
This makes the MAUERSCHAU app a truly unique experience for its users and offers an almost unprecedented depth to learning about history. Rather than just reading or hearing about what happened from a third-party tour guide – whether they be an actual person or a book/audioguide – MAUERSCHAU lets you directly look at the faces of many different people who experienced life during the Berlin Wall first-hand. You can follow their gestures as they point to exact spots where they or others had been standing, and more often than not, their personal recounts will let shivers run down your spine as history comes alive once more around you.
The MAUERSCHAU app itself and two out of currently seven tours are entirely free of charge. The remaining tours cost between €1,79 and €2,69, depending on the length and complexity of the tour in question and can be bought via in-app purchase. As of now, MAUERSCHAU is only available in German and for iOS, but we are planning to create both an English and an Android version, along with many additional tours.
To celebrate the launch of MAUERSCHAU, we’re throwing a Launch Event on September 13th at Hotel Grenzfall in Berlin, which will feature a short introduction of the app, a demonstration of an actual tour and finally a Memorial Concert to honor one of the contemporary witnesses featured in the app, Manfred Fischer. Mr. Fischer was the pastor of the Church of Reconciliation (Versöhnungskirche), which was located in the so-called death-strip of the Berlin Wall and which was ultimately destroyed by East Germany. Sadly, Mr. Fischer passed away last November.
If you happen to be in Berlin on September 13th and would like to come to our Launch Event, please let me know – the more, the merrier! 🙂 Just shoot me an e-mail or social media message, and I’ll make sure that you’ll be put on the guest list. We’re so happy to have reached our first milestone in creating the MAUERSCHAU app, and would like to celebrate this success with all of you!
Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the MAUERSCHAU app! If you would like to try it, you can download it here. Note that you don’t have to be in Berlin to use it – you can access all content from anywhere in the world!