The Britzer Garten, located in the district of Neukölln (Sangerhauser Weg), is a natural wonderland of lakes, lawns, hills, and woods. How did it come to this wonderland? Let's find out...
During the 1870s, Berlin’s growth rate exploded as hundreds of thousands of Germany’s eastern districts headed to the city in search of employment during the Industrial Revolution. They all needed housing, and were at the mercy of enterprising property speculators who purchased large tracts of land to the southeast of Berlin, threw up blocks of shabby tenements, and created a blue-collar district in what used to be the 14th century town of Neukölln.
If you look hard enough, you’ll still see bits of old Neukölln peeping through their dreary 19th century camouflage. There is the Town Hall or Rathaus with its 213-foot (65 m) tower, and the Bethlehems-Kirche, a Bohemian Lutheran Church dating back to the 15th century.
In 1985, Neukölln was the site of the Federal Garden Show, and was given a 250-acre, or 100 hectare, park on the grounds of the Castle Britz, known as the Britzer Garten.
The Britzer Garden, at the time it was donated, gave the people of Neukölln and the surrounding neighborhoods the sort of access to nature from which they had been cut off with the construction of the Berlin Wall.
Within the Britzer Garden are a variety of different terrains, including hills, lakes, rhododendron-filled woodlands, sweeping lawns, and playgrounds. There are a magnificent rose garden which fills the summer air with perfume, and brilliantly colored flowerbeds throughout the park which provide color for much of the year.
During the spring, more than half a million tulip bulbs burst into bloom in the Britzer Garten, making the largest tulip display outside of the Netherlands. Those tulips are right at home with the parks’ Britzer Mühle, a working 12-sided windmill standing 20m/65-foot high in the middle of the Fruit garden. It’s one of only two windmills operating in Berlin, and the public can visit to watch it producing flour from wheat grain.
There’s even (and this is my favorite) a working railroad and trains on which you can tour the Britzer Garten. The Britzer Museumsbahn railroad has some engines and railcars which replicate classic models from the past!
The Britzer Garten opens at 9:00 AM daily. Closing time is anywhere from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, depending on the season. Admission is 2.00 EUR for adults and 1.00 EUR for kiddies (6 to 14yr). You can get season tickets for 20.00 EUR or 10.00 EUR.
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