6 10 2007

Tiergarten (translation: “animal garden”) is Berlin’s Central Park (although somewhat smaller than New York’s). It is located in the heart of the city, and is a popular outdoor oasis for Berliners and tourists.

An oasis in the middle of the city.

Besides being a wonderfully relaxing place, it also has a history, and contains some interesting sites and monuments, and also the Berlin Zoo (there from 1844. I just have to state for the record here that I hate zoos, so you won’t be getting any impressions about it here. But we did find some free bunnies there).

Bunnies in Tiergarten.

The place was originally the hunting grounds of the Prussian princes, and was made into a park in the 18th century. The landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenne laid out the park in the English landscape style (mostly messy, but beautiful), and statues were added from 1850.

A nice spot in Tiergarten.

The park borders the Reichstag and parliament buildings, so it was once home to many embassies in what was known as the “Diplomatic Quarter“. These days, some of them are returning there.

Tiergarten was badly damaged in WW2, and afterwards, most of the trees were cut to be used as firewood, and the land was used to grow food. Reforestation began in 1949.

In the park, you can find the 17 June Street with its Victory Column (Siegessäule), which was moved there by Hitler. There is also the Schloss Bellevue (Bellevue Palace), the official Berlin residence of the German President, a white palace built in 1786 for the Prussian Prince August Ferdinand. it was built according to plans by Phillipp Daniel Bouman, and contains a ballroom designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans in 1791, which is now used for official receptions. It was damaged in WW2, and renovated from 1954-1959.

Schloss Bellevue.

Another interesting building in the park is the House of World Cultures (Haus der Kulturen der Welt), which was built in 1957, as the US entry for the Interbau building exhibition in Berlin, according to a design by architect Hugh Stubbins. It is supposed to serve as “a symbol and beacon of freedom” and to promote the importance of respecting one another’s cultural differences. The curved roof collapsed in 1980, and was rebuilt (with extra supports). The House of World Cultures is today home to temporary exhibitions on global cultures and non-European art.

House of World Cultures.

The park also contains several monuments and statues, such as a monument to Goethe, Statue of Queen Luise, a monument to Frederick William III, Memorial Tablet to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, and a rather impressive monument to Bismarck.

The Bismarck Memorial.

We were rather sloppy here, and hardly managed to take a serious tour of the park, so we don’t have a lot of pictures. Hopefully, this will be corrected on our next visit to the city. In the meanwhile, I rely on the good flickr people for the pictures of the House of World Cultures and Schloss Bellevue.



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