Viktoriapark in Berlin's Kreuzberg district is not only one of the city's prettiest parks; it's also the "berg" (mountain) crowned by the Cross (Kreuz) for which Kreuzberg was named! Add to that its former title as Germany's northernmost vineyard, and the place to see and be seen when the fireworks and gaiety of a New Year's Eve in Berlin fill the air and you can understand why Viktoriapark is something special!
The winding paths which ascend Viktoriapark lead to National Monument at its summit. Designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, it's a memorial honoring those who fell in the War of Liberation, occuring during the last years of the Napoelonic Wars and ending 1815. It's actually a massive Gothic column, 66 feet/20m high, topped by a huge iron cross.
The whole thing is made even more impressive by being mounted on a 8m (27-foot) stone base. It rather resembles, in fact, a rocket ready for launch! It has crowned Viktoriapark since 1821, offering remarkable views of Potsdamer Platz, Kreuzberg, and Mitte to those who make the climb.
In 1888, Berlin's Director of City Parks, Hermann Mächtig, decided to add a mountainous character to the park.
As a result of these efforts, parents bring their kids and dog owners their pets to the Park in hot weather for the sheer bliss of splashing about in the 60m/196-foot waterfall which tumbles over a rocky tree-lined course from the foot of Cross all the way down the hillside to the corner of Kreuzbergstraße and Grossebeerenstraße.
It's a sight that will make you feel as if you were a million miles from the streets of Berlin!
Summertime also brings out the neighborhood musicians, as the sound of jamming and the scent of grass (both freshly-mown and smoked!) fill the air. Joggers, nannies pushing babies, and spontaneous games of Bacci complete the scene.
When you've soaked up enough sun and had your fill of people-watching, head past the playground to the back of the park, for the legendary beer garden Golgotha. Relax with your beer in the shade of a tree or umbrella, watch a televised sports match or simply tune out to the bland piped-in soundtrack.
The vineyards may be long gone from the slopes of Viktoriapark, but the heady mix of summertime, good times, and ghosts of times gone by still make any visit here an intoxicating experience!
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...grab it, relax, enjoy!
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