The second biggest park in Berlin is also one of its finest. The tranquil 84-acre Treptower Park, which sits alongside the Spree River in the Treptow-Köpenick district in eastern Berlin, is all manicured gardens and greenery, with the magnificent Soviet Memorial right in the middle. Spacious waterfront lawns sit alongside leafy gardens perfect for getting lost in on an afternoon stroll. Walk or bike around the gardens, have a picnic with friends or hire a pedalo boat in the lake. It's also completely dog-friendly, so you can treat your pooch to a fun day out!
Designed by Gustav Meyer in the "English style" and opened in 1888, Treptower Park has become one of the top places to visit in Berlin for locals and visitors alike. If you're planning a city break to Berlin or a longer trip, you should most certainly make time to see this urban oasis.
At the centre of the park you'll find the enormous Soviet Memorial (Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptow in German), built to commemorate the 80,000 Soviet soldiers who died in the Battle of Berlin in 1945, 7,000 of whom were buried on this very spot.
To enter the memorial, you walk through one of the giant arched portals on the north and south sides of the park. Proceed down the path and you'll arrive at a statue of Mother Russia, a woman grieving over her fallen sons. Just beyond that, you'll see the most impressive part of the memorial: a collossal 12-meter-tall statue of a Soviet soldier carrying a child and standing over a broken swastika.
The Soviet Memorial in Treptower Park was built between 1946 and 1949 and led by architect Yakov S. Belopolski. It covers about 100,000 square feet of open space, making for quite the awe-inspiring sight. To this day, visitors and politicians lay wreaths at the foot of the memorial to honour the dead that are honoured here.
Just behind the military memorial is Archenhold Sternwarte, a 19th-century observatory that houses the longest movable refracting telescope in the world (21 metres long). The telescope, which weighs a jaw-dropping 130 tonnes, is called the Großer Refraktor or the Himmelskanone (lovingly nicknamed the "sky canon.")
Named after its founder, astronomer Friedrich Simon Archenhold, the Archenhold is the oldest and largest public observatory in all of Germany. It's here that Albert Einstein gave his first public talk about General Relativity in June 1915. In addition to the sky canon, it's also home to modern telescopes and the Zeiss Small Planetarium.
Treptower Park is also a popular place for taking part in outdoor recreational activities like canoeing, boating and jogging. Head to the 2.5-mile-long riverfront promenade for walking and cycling trails that offer spectacular views of Berlin's many waterways.
You can also walk across the bridge or rent a rowboat and paddle to Kulturhaus Insel Berlin, a mock medieval castle on the Insel der Jugend (Island of Youth) in the middle of the Spree. Here you'll find a cafe serving up scrumptious Sunday brunch and a welcoming beer garden. There's also a range of cultural events held here like open-air cinema and live musical performances.
If you're after a bit of cheerful colour, you can head to the park's lovely rose garden, which features more than 25,000 rose bushes of all different colours.
In the southeast section of Treptower you'll find Spreepark Berlin, an abandoned GDR-era theme park which operated from 1969 to 2001. The amusement park was a popular attraction for years until debt forced it into closure. These days it's quite the spooky sight, with fallen dinosaur statues, collapsed rollercoasters and rides overgrown with plants.
While Spreepark was open to guided tours for a time, the park is completely closed to the public now - although you'll be able to catch glimpses of it through the iron fence that surround it. Spreepark was famously featured in scenes from the 2011 film Hanna, featuring a young Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana.
Treptower Park is located in the Alt-Treptow neighbourhood, just south of central Berlin. You can take the S-Bahn 9 from Alexanderplatz (it's a ten-minute journey) and walk about ten minutes to the park from the S Treptower Park station. Alternatively, if you're exploring Berlin by car, you can park in the free lot near the entrance.
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