Tiergarten, Berlin History of the Park The 2.5 sq. km (about 1 sq. mile) Tiergarten is the largest park in the city. Its more than 23 km (14 miles) of pathways make it popular with those who are looking for a leisurely place to stroll. For many years, however, the park wasn’t open to the public. It began its life as the preferred hunting ground for the electors of Brandenburg. It was Friedrich I, the first Prussian king, who opened the park to the general public, providing easy access to the Tiergarten by building roads and thruways. When Friedrich II came into power, he hired George Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff (1742) to redesign the garden and give it a more Baroque feel. That survived for nearly a century, until Peter Joseph Lenné was commissioned to give the Tiergarten more of an English garden atmosphere. The Berlin Zoo also took up residence in 1844, boasting thousands of animals whose antics were enjoyed on a daily basis by those who lived in and around the city. Unfortunately, much of the park was decimated during World War II, and in the years immediately following the war, cold Berliners cut down the remaining trees to use as firewood to heat their homes. Most of the animals perished as well. Records show that only 91 remained at the end of the war. By 1955, however, local government saw fit to begin to restore the Tiergarten, and trees, shrubs, and plants were replaced, paths were rebuilt, and new attractions added. These days, the park remains popular with walkers, joggers, and those seeking a little sun. However, there’s more to see in the Tiergarten than just trees and flowers. Berlin Zoo The park is still home to the Berlin Zoo, completely restored and occupying the southwest corner of the Tiergarten. Resident animals – numbering about 13,000 in all – enjoy life in natural open habitats. The birdhouse is widely acclaimed for its variety of species and an adjacent aquarium thrills visitors as well. Victory Column Guests to the park can also visit The Victory Column (Siegessäule), the statue of a golden-hued goddess that stands upon a column made of red granite. If you’re up to climbing about 69m (226 ft.) to the top, you’ll be treated to an observation deck that provides excellent views of the area. Bellevue Palace Not far north from the Victory Column you'll find the Schloss Bellevue or Bellevue Palace. This white 18th century palace was built in 1786 for the Prussian Prince August Ferdinand. Today it is the official Berlin residence of the German President.turkeyarena.com Haus der Kulturen der Welt Another eyecatcher in the Tiergarten is the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures). The building with curved roof was built in 1957 as the United States entry for the 1957 Interbau building exhibition in Berlin. It currently houses exhibitions on world cultures.