Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Engelbecken: Kreuzberg's Garden Oasis

Traffic Flows Above the Park

Yoga Fountain

Even in urban and gritty Berlin, I still find oases of greenery. The Luisenstadt Canal (1848-1852) and its central basin, the Engelbecken (Angel's Pool) are tucked away in a quiet section of Kreuzberg. The Luisenstadt Canal was originally designed to link the Landwehr Canal with the Spree River, but wars and economic downturns prevented the canal from ever achieving its original purpose. Between 1926-1932, the canal was transformed into a sunken garden, but following the Second World War sections of the garden were destroyed and filled in with rubble. In 1961, the Berlin Wall was constructed along its northern part and the gardens essentially abandoned. Following German unification, the gardens were reconstructed and returned to the 1928 design. 

The Rose Garden
Today the Luisenstadt Canal and Engelbecken provide a bit of greenery in chaotic Kreuzberg. For years, I've walked past the gardens without venturing inside. My mistake! The gardens, fountains, and paths are a nice reminder of how nature can coexist in Berlin. And for a bite to eat and drink, I recommend the Cafe am Engelbecken, which provides great views of the pools and gardens. 
The Canal That Now Serves as a Garden Path
View of Cafe am Engelbechen

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