Viktoriapark

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File:Viktoriapark monument.jpg
Schinkel's National monument for the Liberation Wars.

The Viktoriapark (aka Victoriapark) is an urban park in the locality of Kreuzberg in Berlin, Germany. It opened in 1894.

It is situated on the Tempelhofer Berge range, forming the northern slope of the ground moraine Teltow Plateau, overlooking the glacial valley with Berlin's city centre. The major landmark of the park is a cast iron monument of 1821 dedicated by King Frederick William III of Prussia to the liberation wars (Befreiungskriege) fought at the end of the War of the Sixth coalition against France in the course of the Napoleonic Wars. It provides an excellent viewpoint over much of the central and southern portions of the city. In summer an artificial waterfall originates at the foot of the monument and continues down the hillside to the intersection of Großbeerenstraße and Kreuzbergstraße.

A historic wine-growing area, today the park is neighbouring two small vineyards, one in the northeast founded in 1968 and owned by the Senate of Berlin and cultivated by the adjacent market garden, the other one established in summer 2006 within the Victoria Quarter on the southern slope of the Kreuzberg hill.<ref name="Fischer 2007 57seq">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, pp. 57seq. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref> However, only the old vineyard provides for the local "Kreuz-Neroberger" wine, gained from vines donated by Kreuzberg's twin towns Wiesbaden (1968) and Ingelheim am Rhein (1975), as well by the Bergstraße county (1971 and 1973) and from Bad Bergzabern (1985).<ref name="Fischer 2007 57seq"/> About 600 bottles are pressed each year.

History

File:Hintze Kreuzberg 1829.JPG
View from the Kreuzberg, 1829
In 1821 the Neoclassical Nationaldenkmal für die Befreiungskriege by architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel was inaugurated at the top of the Template:Convert promontory west of the road to Tempelhof, then known as Tempelhofer Berg or Runder Berg (i.e. Tempelhof or round hill). The king renamed the hill Kreuzberg after the Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz) at the top of the monument, in September 1921 it became the name giver of the Kreuzberg borough created by the 1920 Greater Berlin Act. The monument comprised only a small plot of land measuring about Template:Convert.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 38">Michael Nungesser, Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel, see references for bibliographical details, p. 38. ISBN 3-922912-19-2.</ref> The surrounding fields were private real estate.

As the surrounding area incorporated into Berlin in 1861 as Tempelhofer Vorstadt had become a densely built-up suburb, in 1879 Guido von Madai, president of the royal police, decreed a maximum height of buildings in the adjacent streets to uphold the visibility of the monument. The year before it had been elevated through a basement structure of Template:Convert.<ref name="Baedeker 1988 35">Baedekers Berlin-Kreuzberg: Bezirksführer, see references for bibliographical details, p. 35. ISBN 3-87954-091-8.</ref> The ordinance, however, was annulled by the groundbreaking 1882 "Kreuzberg judgement" of the Prussian Royal administrative court, stating that the police had exceeded its authority to ensure public security.

Template:Multiple image On the occasion of the elevation of the monument ideas appeared to lay out a park around it. Two years later the design of a park was put out to tender.<ref name="Wille 1986 22">Klaus-Dieter Wille, Spaziergänge in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 22. ISBN 3-7759-0287-2.</ref> Hermann Mächtig (*1837-1909*), since 1877 Berlin's city garden director, handed in a design, already using the name Victoria Park, in honour of Princess Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland, Prussian and German crown princess consort.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 86">Michael Nungesser, Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel, see references for bibliographical details, p. 86. ISBN 3-922912-19-2.</ref> However, it took the city parliament until 29 March 1886 to decide for laying out a park.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 87">Michael Nungesser, Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel, see references for bibliographical details, p. 87. ISBN 3-922912-19-2.</ref> On 14 December 1887 Berlin acquired Template:Convert of unbuilt land from several owners, mostly north and west of the monument.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 87"/> Right adjacent to the south was the Tivoli brewery (est. 1857, merged into Schultheiss as of 1891, closed in 1993), and in the east and northeast villas had developed quite close to the monument. Some built-up parcels on the southern side of Kreuzbergstraße had been bought and the houses there were demolished in order to gain open access.

On 28 June 1888 the city parliament decided for Mächtig's design, who had to exchange his plans for exuberant water cascades by a more naturalistic waterfall.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 87"/> So Mächtig and the sculptor Albert Manthe travelled through the Giant Mountains visiting natural waterfalls to get inspired.<ref name="Fischer 2007 54">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 54. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref> Having returned Mächtig himself assisted by a confidant foreman started modelling and constructions for the park.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 87"/> The city parliament only approved Mächtig's altered waterfall designs on 25 March 1891.<ref name="Fischer 2007 54"/> Using the topography of a former sand pit Mächtig designed a highland-like waterfall on the northern slope of the Kreuzberg directed in its axis towards Großbeerenstraße, named after the homonymous battle.<ref name="Baedeker 1988 34">Baedekers Berlin-Kreuzberg: Bezirksführer, see references for bibliographical details, p. 34. ISBN 3-87954-091-8.</ref> For the waterfall Mächtig used pieces of rock from the Giant Mountains and boulders.<ref name="Nicolas 1979 14">Ilse Nicolas, Kreuzberger Impressionen, see references for bibliographical details, p. 14. ISBN 3-7759-0205-8.</ref> Whereas some authors claim the Kreuzberg waterfall was modelled on the Zackel Falls in then Steinbach (renamed Kamie?czyk after 1945) in Lower Silesia,<ref name="Fischer 2007 54"/><ref name="Baedeker 1988 34"/><ref name="Chod 2003 390">Kathrin Chod, Herbert Schwenk and Hainer Weißpflug, Berliner Bezirkslexikon: Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 390. ISBN 3-7759-0474-3.</ref> Nungesser is doubting that.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 87"/> Another opinion is that it was modelled on another waterfall in the Giant Mountains, the Hainfall,Template:Citation needed renamed after 1945 into wodospad Podgórnej. Also the Wolfsschlucht (lit. wolf's gully), designed into another exploited sand pit east of the monument, followed the homonymous example in Adersbach/Adršpach in the Giant Mountains.<ref name="Fischer 2007 74">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 74. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref>

File:Berlin-Kreuzberg Postkarte 079.jpg
Kreuzberg waterfall with so-called electric Bengal illumination, 1898–1914.
On 14 October 1893 the waterfall ran for the first time on trial.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 87"/> Gas motors in a neighbouring machine house (now the venue hall of the restaurant in the Villa Kreuzberg, the former engineer's home, an ensemble built 1892–1893 by Hermann Blankenstein) pumped up the water.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 87"/> Since summer 1894 Template:Convert per minute are cascading the Template:Convert down to the small lower pond.<ref name="Fischer 2007 55">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 55. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref><ref name="Wille 1986 23">Klaus-Dieter Wille, Spaziergänge in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 23. ISBN 3-7759-0287-2.</ref> Between 1898 and the First World War the waterfall was electrically illuminated at night shining in light resembling Bengal fire.<ref name="Fischer 2007 54"/> However, the operation of the waterfall was interrupted between 1914 and 1935, and again 1938 and 1961.<ref name="Fischer 2007 54seq">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, pp. 54seq. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref> On the occasion of the festive days firemen reflooded the idle waterfall for one day (19 August 1955) by pumping the water uphill with their fire fighting devices replacing the war-ravaged pumphouse. Mächtig's park design, using the natural and anthrogenous topography of the Kreuzberg hill, resulted in the current mountainesque character with varied landscape forms, forested steep slopes, tiny terraces, outlooks, sodded hillsides, interrupted by trees and bushes and connected by paths, ramps, serpentine switchbacks and stairs. The park is further adorned by sculptures and monuments. At the lower pond of the waterfall, opposite to the end of Großbeerenstraße, Ernst Herter's bronze sculpture Der seltene Fang (i.e. The rare haul) was erected in 1896, displaying - with ill-concealed erotic allusions - a fisherman struggling to get hold of a mermaid in his net.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 88">Michael Nungesser, Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel, see references for bibliographical details, p. 88. ISBN 3-922912-19-2.</ref>

In the late 1890s six herms of „poets and singers of German patriotism“<ref name="Wille 1986 23"/> have been raised, to wit Ernst Moritz Arndt (1899 by Hans Latt), Heinrich von Kleist (1898 by Karl Pracht), Theodor Körner (1899 by Ernst Wenck), Friedrich Rückert (1899 by Ferdinand Lepcke), Max von Schenkendorf (1899 by Alfred Reichel) and Ludwig Uhland (1899 by Max Kruse).<ref name="Nungesser 1987 92">Michael Nungesser, Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel, see references for bibliographical details, p. 92. ISBN 3-922912-19-2.</ref> However, only three of the Template:Convert herms (Kleist, Rückert, and Uhland) survived the Second World War.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 92"/> Since 1989 their marble originals are preserved in the court of Leibniz High School, while aluminum replicas were posted at their original locations, with Rückert's replica meanwhile stolen.<ref name="Fischer 2007 40">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 40. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref> In 1904 a further monument was added, located southeasterly of the lower waterfall bassin. Otto Lessing had created a stele with a bust of Robert Zeller, lord mayor of Berlin between 1892 and 1898.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 82">Michael Nungesser, Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel, see references for bibliographical details, p. 82. ISBN 3-922912-19-2.</ref> The bust got lost in the last war.<ref name="Fischer 2007 67">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 67. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref> On the northern slope of the Kreuzberg the park also included one of Berlin's then five playgrounds for children.<ref>Karl Baedeker, Berlin und Umgebungen: Handbuch für Reisende, Leipzig: Baedeker, 71891, p. 126. No ISBN.</ref>

After in 1910 the Prussian military fiscus had sold its parade ground on Katzbachstraße to the city its Garden Director Albert Brodersen (*1857-1930*) extended the Victoria Park by Template:Convert to altogether Template:Convert between 1913 and 1916.<ref name="Baedeker 1988 34"/> The extension included the layout of a playing field, the present-day Willy Kressmann Stadium, homeground of the Türkiyemspor Berlin football club. In 1925 a vivarium was opened, first hosting a roe, soon a roe family, further goats.<ref name="Fischer 2007 70">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 70. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref> After the erection of more premises for animals between 1930 and 1931 birds, badgers, foxes, and reptiles were kept.<ref name="Fischer 2007 71">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 71. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref> Besides these native species also two monkeys were kept.<ref name="Fischer 2007 71"/> All the animals - except of the birds - died in the war.<ref name="Fischer 2007 71"/>

The Victoria Park was included in the Nazi plans for rebuilding Berlin, but only preparations materialised. Ernst Sagebiel oriented his Tempelhof Airport building towards the monument on the Kreuzberg so that the central hall's front on the forecourt of the airport and one edge of the monument's octagonal groundplan are parallel. As seen from the monument today's Platz der Luftbrücke in front of the airport opens as a square, encircled by buildings of similar heights except for the taller central hall of the airport (mostly realised). The then planned axis consisting of a promenade and series of waterfalls cascading down the Kreuzberg hill towards the square was never realised, the interjacent block of houses remained untouched.

File:ViktoriaparkND2.JPG
Sodded hillsides between trees.
In summer 1944 the Organisation Todt, also employing Soviet forced labourers else held captive at Blücherplatz, started driving five tunnels into the northern Kreuzberg slope from Kreuzbergstraße.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 94">Michael Nungesser, Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel, see references for bibliographical details, p. 94. ISBN 3-922912-19-2.</ref> The semi-completed tunnels were meant and used as air-raid shelters, while constructions continued until February 1945. On 30 January 1944 British bombs left behind a wake of devastation leading from one block north up the Großbeerenstraße, over the waterfall - destroying its pumphouse - to the monument, blasting away the southern edge of the octagonal socket structure then used as a safe place for casts of various sculptures, such as the Quadriga of the Brandenburg Gate. The casts were relocated from the open socket building in the late 1940s.<ref name="Fischer 2007 29">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 29. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref>

Since 1949 the annual late summer funfayre Kreuzberger Festliche Tage (Kreuzberg festive days, founded as Kreuzberg-Festwoche, i.e. Kreuzberg festival week) is held in the park, accompanied by more events also in other locations. In August 1952 Kreuzberg's borough mayor Willy Kressmann (SPD) inaugurated a Template:Convert cross of pine wood with a crown of thorns of barbed wire on the upper edge of the sodded northwestern slope as Memorial for the eastern German Homeland (Mahnmal für die ostdeutsche Heimat), commemorating the death of 100,000s killed in atrocities, by forced labour or other maltreatment, and the fate of the surviving 12 million refugees and expellees from former eastern Germany and neighbouring foreign countries ruled by pro-Soviet governments.<ref name="Fischer 2007 64">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 64. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref> In August 1953 a memorial stone was added in honour of the victims of the communist suppression of the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany.<ref name="Fischer 2007 65">Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, see references for bibliographical details, p. 65. ISBN 3-935810-07-5.</ref> The vivaria were restocked in the same year.<ref name="Fischer 2007 71"/> In November 1958 the smashed southern edge of the socket octagon was reconstructed again.<ref name="Nungesser 1987 95">Michael Nungesser, Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel, see references for bibliographical details, p. 95. ISBN 3-922912-19-2.</ref>

References

File:Victoria park berlin.png
Map of Viktoriapark with adjacent streets
  • Baedekers Berlin-Kreuzberg: Bezirksführer (11977), Ostfildern/Kemnat and Munich: Baedeker, 21988, ISBN 3-87954-091-8.
  • Kathrin Chod, Herbert Schwenk and Hainer Weißpflug, Berliner Bezirkslexikon: Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Berlin: Haude & Spener / Edition Luisenstadt, 2003, ISBN 3-7759-0474-3.
  • Denk mal Kreuzberg! Ein Architekturführer der kommunalen Baudenkmale im Bezirk Kreuzberg, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Hochbauamt and Untere Denkmalschutzbehörde (eds.), Berlin: no publ., 1998, no ISBN.
  • Rike Fischer, Auf dem Gipfel von Berlin – Ein Spaziergang durch den Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg, Verein zur Erforschung und Darstellung der Geschichte Kreuzbergs and Bezirksmuseum Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg (eds.), Berlin: Kreuzberg-Museum, 2007, ISBN 3-935810-07-5.
  • Ilse Nicolas, Kreuzberger Impressionen (11969), Berlin: Haude & Spener, 21979, (=Berlinische Reminiszenzen; vol. 26), ISBN 3-7759-0205-8.
  • Michael Nungesser, Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel, ed. on behalf of the Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin as catalogue of the exhibition „Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel“ in the Kunstamt Kreuzberg / Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin, between 25 April and 7 June 1987, Berlin: Arenhövel, 1987, ISBN 3-922912-19-2.
  • Klaus-Dieter Wille, Spaziergänge in Kreuzberg, Berlin: Haude & Spener, 1986, (=Berliner Kaleidoskop: Schriften zur Berliner Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte; vol. 32), ISBN 3-7759-0287-2.

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