The noble embassy quarter at the southern edge of the `garden of beasts´
One of the finest areas of the pre-war-Berlin was the Tiergartenviertel, named after the public park `Tiergarten´, a former hunting area for the Prussian royals. American author Erik Larson translated it with `the garden of beasts´, referring to the vicinity of many embassies and the Nazi government quarter.
The destruction of the Old Tiergarten quarter began even before the Second World War: In the eastern part, many intact buildings were demolished to create space for the `round square´, which would have been a part of the `north-south axis´ planned by Albert Speer. The area west of today’s Stauffenbergstraße became a designated diplomatic district. For the construction of new embassies, like the ones of Japan and Italy, some outstanding buildings were torn down.
Most of what survived the nazi plans was destroyed in the air raids or the final Battle of Berlin. After the ruins were removed, architects started from scratch in 1963 with the development of the `Kulturforum´, which hasn´t been completed until today.
The central character of Erik Larsons book, US-ambassador William E. Dodd, came to Berlin in 1933, together with his family. They first stayed in the noble Esplanade hotel, then rented the larger part of a villa in Tiergartenstrasse 27a, owned by Jewish banker Alfred Panovsky. From there, Dodd had only a few hundred meters to walk along Tiergartenstrasse to reach the US- embassy in Bendlerstrasse 39. However, he often preferred a roundabout way through the park, not least to avoid running into another parade of the storm troopers.
In my guided tour we will walk on the traces of William E. Dodd and other famous former inhabitants of the Tiergartenviertel. The old quarter will come back to live with the help of tons of historic images (some showing the villa in Tiergartenstrasse 27a and the US-embassy) and you will learn a lot about the history of the park and the quarter.
After the reunification of Germany Berlin became capital again and the abandoned embassy buildings came back to life.
Today there can be found more than 30 of them in the Tiergarten qarter, next to a bunch of museums and the ministry of defense with the German resistance memorial centre in Stauffenbergstrasse (former Bendlerstrasse), from where operation valkyrie was started.
There is so much to discover. Come and join my tour to dive into the history of `the garden of beasts´!
Tours may last between 2 and 4 hours, just as you like. Best suited for small groups.
I charge 35 € / h. To get in touch please dial +49-179-9039550 for short time requests or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
I studies landscape architecture and have been working as a tour guide in Berlin since 2011.
I offer a variety of tours in Berlin and nearby Potsdam an, for more please see my general website www.berlin-tour-guide.com
Bendlerstrasse 39: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1998-010-24 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hotel Esplanade: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1989-028-23 / Hoffmann, Herbert / CC-BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Victoriastrasse 7: Berliner Architekturwoche No 6 of 1905 (public domain)
Villas along Tiergartenstrasse: from Architektur im Bild, 1899 (public domain)
colour images: self made