The green lung of the German capital, from hunting reserve of the royal family to city park where to jog, picnic, and enjoy the sun in the summer.
Tiergarten is a huge green space (over 200 hectares) in central Berlin, which adjoins the Potsdamer Platz area. A “small black and humid forest” located outside the city walls wherein the sixteenth century, the Prussian monarchs hunted wild boars and pheasants.
The area was a hunting reserve until fenced and populated by animals, was turned into a nature reserve for the pleasure of nobles and aristocrats. At the end of the seventeenth century, with Frederick II it began the organization of the garden, but only in 1740, Frederick II decided that the Tiergarten would become a public park.
The transformations of the Tiergarten
The work of transformation (1833-40) was accomplished by the landscape architect Peter Lenné, who settled in the romantic English-style park, complete with winding paths and ponds, an aspect that still characterizes it, earmarking the South-East Area to the zoo which was inaugurated in 1844. The zoo was heavily damaged during the war and in the two severe winters of 1945 -46, the few trees that survived the conflict were cut down for use as firewood and the ground used to grow potatoes.
In 1949, the German government decided to intervene in the park by planting one million new trees, restoring trails, repairing, and replacing the nineteenth-century statues. Since then, the Tiergarten is back to being the Berliners’ favorite “walk” among paths, gardens, flowered patios (legendary are the expanses of rhododendrons), and cafes are hidden between.
A wonderful opportunity, therefore, to spend free time in contact with nature. The largest city park is ideal for jogging, biking, enjoy a haven corner of peace and tranquility, sunbathing, discovering romantic views, such as the Rousseau island, picnics, and barbecues.
The Victory Column touches the “Wings of Desire”
The Tiergarten is crossed from west to east by a large road that bears the name of date, that of June 17, in memory of the revolt of the 1953 East Berlin workers suffocated by the Soviet Union with the use of force. The Strasse des 17 Juni originates from the Brandenburg Gate and ends in a round, Grosser Stern (Big Star), from which branch 5 streets and at whose center stands the Victory Column (Siegessäule) built to celebrate the Prussian military victories of the late XIX century over Denmark, Austria, and France.
Monument symbol of German military strength, a must-see for fans of films (in the Wenders film the two angels observe the lives of Berliners from the Statue of Victory) and emblem of the gay community of the city as the point of arrival of the annual Christopher Street Parade.
Originally erected in 1873 in front of the Reichstag, in 1938 the column was placed in its current position by the Nazis to adorn the east-west axis that connected the western part of Berlin with the palaces and ministries of the Mitte district. The 67 meters high column, placed on a foundation of red granite, consists of a cylindrical structure consisting of four blocks of sandstone, three of which are decorated with cannons and balls of conquered cannons during the battles, while the fourth is decorated with a gold garland. On top of the column is the bronze sculpture of the winged goddess Victory, by Friedrich Drake, familiarly called by the Berliners Goldelse (Golden Elsa). The goddess is represented with a laurel wreath, a helmet decorated with an eagle and military insignia with the Iron Cross.
A foot tunnel leads to the column from which, through a spiral staircase (285 steps), you can reach the viewing platform overlooking the Tiergarten park and the surrounding metropolitan area.
Opening hours: open air
How to reach: Metro Hansaplatz (U9)
Address: Großer Stern, 10557 Berlin, Germania