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Although just one of many public parks in Berlin, at over 500 acres, with more than 14 miles of trails, and right in the center of the city, Tiergarten certainly feels more like the park. And the park's rich history supports this designation, a history that tells much about Berlin itself.
The park was created in the late 17th Century by Friedrich Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, as a hunting grounds. His successor Friedrich II, or Friedrich the Great, lacking any interest in the hunting grounds commissioned for its conversion into a pleasure grounds. Georg Wenzeslaus began landscaping the grounds in the Baroque style in 1742. Towards the end of the century, more changes were made and English landscape elements were brought to the park. The great Peter Joseph Lenne worked on creating an English landscape and his park landscaping from 1818-1842 are largely what is still found today.
During WWII much of the park was damaged, both from bombing and from the use of the park's trees for firewood. In 1949 restoration efforts began and the final changes to the park helped develop it into today's form. Visitors can now canoe in the Neuer See and eat at the adjoining restaurant. Or they can retreat to Rousseau Island for a quiet respite or walk around the English Gardens in spring and enjoy the beautiful flowers.
Sprawling across the heart of Berlin, stretching from the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column to the zoo to the parliament building, Tiergarten connects Berlin, its residents, and its history through a living tribute to the city's deep past and sustainable future. Many Berliners have their own favorite spots in Tiergarten and on a sunny spring day the park bustles, yet with over 500 acres to offer, the park always maintains its own quiet respites.