The Tiergarten (Animal Garden) is Berlin’s largest public park and very popular with joggers, bicyclists’ and the person wanting to take in the sights. For a casual stroll, you can walk along the Neuer See – a popular lake in the Tiergarten district and the Spree River, one of Berlin’s main attractions.
For the more adventurous tourist, taking a walk through the Tiergarten district, will give the visitor a glimpse of the area’s rich history and today’s culture that make up this thriving community. A good pair of walking shoes is recommended.
The Siegessäule (Victory Column) is a great place to start your walk. It is located in the central part of the Tiergarten, and stands 69 meters in height. The original site it once stood on was at Königsplatz (now Platz der Republik), the square in front of the Reichstag. In 1938, the Nazi government relocated it to its current location at the Grosser Stern. Visitors can climb to the top of the Siegessäule to an observatory and catch a great view of the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and the rest of the city.
Our walk from the Siegessäule will take us to the Hansaviertal, a small community between the Tiergarten and the Spree River. Built in the 19th century and housing mostly wealthy middle class citizens, it was almost destroyed during World War II. From 1957 to 1961 with the help from some of the world’s leading architects, the community was rebuilt with some of the most modern apartments and shopping center.
Our Next stop is (Schloss Bellevue) Bellevue Palace, situated on the northwestern corner of the Tiergarten district and the residence to the President of Germany. This magnificent palace was built in 1786 for Prince Ferdinand of Prussia, the youngest brother to Friedrich the Great and designed by Philipp Daniel Boumann.
The next stop on our walk is the Soviet War Memorial located near the Brandenburg Gate. Constructed of marble taken from Adolph Hitler’s Chancellery, it is the final resting place for more than 2,500 Soviet soldiers who died fighting against Nazi Germany in World War II. In the center of the monument is a statue of a Soviet soldier holding a child in one hand and a sword in the other. The monument is flanked by two T34 tanks, believed to be the first to have entered the city.
Now it’s time to head up Straße des 17. Juni to the famous (Brandenburger Tor) Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of Berlin. Surrounded by the wall for over thirty years, it is known as the gateway into the city. Construction began in 1788 and completed in 1791 by Carl Gotthard Langhans. Vehicles are not allowed through the gate, making it pedestrian friendly and a joy walking through the columns into what was once East Berlin.
The next destination on our walk is the Reichstag located north of the Brandenburg Gate, an impressive neo-Renaissance building constructed in 1884-1894. Once again, it has become the seat for the German Parliament. The new glass dome housed above the Reichstag offers visitors a 360 degree panorama of the city. If you take a close look, you can spot some of the former Soviet-era graffiti scribbled on the roof.
From the Reichstag, we’ll make our way south along Ebertstrasse to a line of cobblestones where the Berlin Wall once stood. If you follow the line, you can explore the remaining traces of the once might fortification. Today, it is a busy street with new offices, apartments and hundreds of shoppers and tourists lining the street.
Exploring the Tiergarten district is an educational experience for both young and old, where the rich history and culture of this community will always be a driving force for the people and the city of Berlin.