"Where do you live?
Bears pop up all over the place here. After the formation of the constitution of Berlin, the bear became the animal of coats of arms and seals. The state coat of arms depicted, in a silver (white) shield, a red armed and red tongued, upright, grunting bear. A while back, the city had artists decorate a horde of them and painted bears can be found throughout the city. But I didn't realize the city had actual bears living in Mitte. Behold...
|Beautiful Berlin Day|
After hearing about it's existence from a friend, we stumbled across the Bärenzwinger (Bear Pit) today on a bike ride. It is a beautiful setting with leafy trees and Märkisches Museum in the background. But the real attraction is the bears. Two European brown bears, Schnute (aged 30) and Maxi live in a small, but scenic enclosure here. Schnute holds the title of reigning Statdbärin (city bear). We watched in fascination as one of the bears moseyed by a leftover Christmas tree and the other snoozed in the spring sunlight.
The site was established in 1939, another sign of connection between the city and the animal that has adorned the city seal since 1280. It is located within the oldest section of Berlin near the Nikolaiviertel - the original settlement of Berlin. The remains of the medieval city wall can be seen next to the nearby museum.
Apparently there are grumbles about the bear's health and safety as the enclosure is small and largely unmonitored. This is understandable, but I couldn't help but stare at these two majestic creatures within the city's historical center. We weren't the only ones. On this quiet Saturday there were at least 15 other people silently taking in the bears. Some took pictures and talked quietly with each other, but mostly we all just gazed in wonder. I loved seeing the bears. I have loved reading about the Bärenzwinger's history since we got home. Obviously, I am no longer impartial. Go see for yourself and give Schnute and Maxi a wave for us.
Address: Am Köllnischen Park 10178 Berlin
Stations: Märkisches Museum (U2). Jannowitzbrücke (U8, S-Bahn)
Hours: May - September 7:30 til the bears choose to retire
October - April 8:00 til the bears choose to retire
November - March The bears spend much of this time in hibernation and are rarely seen
Food donations can be dropped off to the supervisors, but the self-feeding of bears is prohibited.
Want more hot bear action? Check out the bears in Bern, Switzerland.