Tiergarten is the largest park in Berlin, occupying an area of 495 acres (200 hectares) at the heart of the city.
It was originally a forest used as the hunting reserve of the Electors of Prussia, but during the 1830s it was transformed into a landscaped park by Peter Joseph Lenné. Toward the end of the 19th century a Triumphal Avenue, lined with statues of German statesmen and rulers, was laid out at the eastern end, but this was destroyed during World War II.
Postwar reconstruction included a great deal of replanting and the erection of many statues and memorials to famous Germans.
The park contains many delightful vistas, especially over the many lakes and ponds it contains, and it is a popular place for Berliners to walk, jog or cycle.
At the centre of Tiergarten is Grosser Stern (Great Star) which is a large five-way roundabout with a triumphal column (Siegessäule) in the middle. This column, which has a viewing platform at the top, was built to commemorate victory in the Prusso-Danish War of 1864. After further military successes, against Austria in 1866 and France in 1871, the figure of “Goldelse”, representing Victory, was added at the top.
It was moved to its present position in 1938 and can now be seen if one looks straight through the Brandenburg Gate down the Strasse des 17 Juni.