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Berlin’s ‘Gardens of the World’: A Lot More than Just Flowers

The Berlin park known as ‘Gärten der Welt’ is just the right spot for taking extensive walks and looking at beauty. During the ongoing Corona lockdown, the park has another big advantage.

Berlin, August 8th, 2020, update January 14th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Berlin’s ‘Gärten der Welt’ is a former GDR endeavor which has grown substantially since the Berlin Wall fell thirty-one years ago. Today, the ‘Gardens of the World’ premises include countless different garden styles from all over the world. It is an excellent day trip destination within the Berlin city limits.

The café at the Chinese Garden was a good spot when it was open. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

City Anniversary in East Berlin

The German capital’s Marzahn district may not exactly be a beauty with its many rows of Eastern bloc style apartment blocks. But the communists left a lot of greenery in between. They did have a lot of room for parks, even though the city was divided by the Wall they built to keep people in the country.

Marzahn is partially ugly. Not from up here though. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

During those times, Berlin needed two zoos, a Western and an Eastern one, two city halls, two everything. West Berlin had its ‘Britzer Park’, which it prepared for the Federal Garden Show that took place in 1985. East Berlin wanted an equivalent. So it got the ‘Recreational Park Marzahn’ ready for the Berlin Garden Show and the 750th anniversary of the city in 1987, two years before communism collapsed along with the Wall. The big park in Marzahn survived.

The ropeway takes visitors to the observation tower and to the ‘U-Bahn’ train station when it is open. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Change of Plans

Before Germany’s reunification, West Berlin was planning to host another Federal Garden Show, in 1995. This time, the event was supposed to take place close to Tiergarten park. But when the Berlin Wall suddenly fell and Berlin was reunited, the plans were thrown overboard. Why set up Asian gardens in the Western city center, with limits what the required space was concerned, when there was so much of it in Marzahn? That’s how it happened.

In July, this insect seemed to be satisfied. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

So, what was known as ‘Erholungspark Marzahn’ at the time was prepared for the big event that would attract hundreds of thousands of people. Once the Federal Garden Show was over, Berlin kept on investing. First of all, all of those plants did already look nice. Also, the park out there, in former East Berlin, would pull some of the many tourists out of the city center. Now, in the Corona crisis, the issue of having too many tourists has been replaced with the one of not having tourists at all.

There are several water gardens. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Asian Gardens Galore

In 2017, the park was renamed ‘Gärten der Welt’ (‘Gardens of the World’) because that is exactly what it had become. Once the new millennium had dawned, in the year 2000, a Chinese Garden had been added to the huge park. Almost every year, more gardens followed, including a Japanese and a Korean one. All of them are nice indeed.

Millions of photo opportunities are waiting. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

By now, there is also a Balinese garden, an Oriental one, an Italian Renaissance Garden, a Christian Garden, and English Garden and a Forb Garden. The latest project they are working on is a Jewish Garden.

These water lilies want to be looked at. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

The Right Perspective

There are water gardens along the ‘Promenade Aquatica’, huge lawns and all kinds of plants. Most flowers can be admired along the paths. Near the labyrinth, an ocean of flowers is waiting for the beholder, both at the Rose Garden and the Flower Theater. Constantly, several gardeners look after the beautiful plants with a lot of dedication. They probably call each flower by its first name. Of course, things look different during the winter months.

Counting them would take years. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Usually, one of the nicest places to take a rest at is the café right at the little lake in the Chinese Garden. But it is closed now, thanks to Corona. Families with children should not bypass the playground with that blue whale. The sightseeing tower can be reached by ropeway or on foot. From up there, even Marzahn looks nice.

In July, the sausage and the Apfelschorle were 6 Euro. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Getting there is easy as pie. ‘Gärten der Welt’ can be reached by ‘U-Bahn’ train (U5 to ‘Kiensberg’, not recommended during the Corona lockdown) or by bus (X69 ‘Blumberger Damm/Gärten der Welt’). Going there by bicycle will take one and a half hours from Charlottenburg or one hour from Kreuzberg. A regular ticket for ‘Gärten der Welt’ is 7 Euro, one that includes the ropeway is 9.90 Euro (no ropeway during the lockdown). The combination ticket for children is 5.50.

The Big Advantage

Let’s start with the bad news. During the ongoing lockdown in early 2021, the ropeway and the bobsled run they have are closed. So are their buildings. During the winter, it is more about looking at neatly trimmed gardens than at flowers.

Ready for the good news? The big advantage of the ‘Gardens of the World’ is that they are open. Yes, in spite of the lockdown. What this means is that we can all go there to take nice walks. There is not much people can do outdoors in Berlin these days, because of the mess created by the virus. Going to see the ‘Gardens’ is almost the only activity left.

The ‘Gärten der Welt’ adhere to the Corona rules. This also means that people from one household may go there with up to one individual from another one.

The ‘Gardens of the World’ do have a website. It can be reached here.