Friday, July 13, 2012

Venturing into Marzahn & Gärten der Welt

So this is Marzahn
You hear bad things about Marzahn. A neighborhood of Berlin, this is the far east. Straight black hair on "Sexy Braun" tans, wiggas thug about, plattenbaus tower, and occasional Nazi sightings go down here. Foreigners, particularly people of color, were once warned not to visit*.

But that's not all it is. More and more people flee the "cool" neighborhoods of Berlin as rents go up, creating pockets of hip in the outskirts of the city. This is leading to a rediscovery of places that were once written off. We're hoping our area of Wedding undergoes a bit of this transformation, (although gentrification is always contentious in Berlin). We would simply be happy with less drug deals in the entry to our building.

Every neighborhood really does have something special to offer. And there is plenty to love about Marzahn. Finding Berlin's writer, Matthias, took a series of honestly beautiful pictures of his hometown kiez in "So you’ve already heard about Marzahn…"

But what spurred this writing about the neighborhood? My first visit as Ian surprised me with a day out in the Gärten der Welt.


Gärten der Welt

Gärten der Welt (Gardens of the World) is large park with Chinese, Japanese, Balinese, Italian Renaissance and Korean gardens. There is also a labyrinth modeled on Hampton Court Palace and Chartres Cathedral.

Botanical Garden
Happy Surprise!

totem poles Germany

Gärten der Welt
Christian garden
Gärten der Welt

Inaugurated in 1987 on the 750th anniversary of Berlin's division, the park covers 24 hectare. We wandered the park on one of the first sunny days for several hours. We got an ice cream cone, wandered the expansive grounds, saw not 1 but three (!) weddings. The place is just gorgeous, and perfect for a meaningless wander.  If we had been more prepared we would have brought in a picnic as we saw many happy families enjoying a place in the grass.

Gärten der Welt Berlin
Japanese garden
Gärten der Welt

Gärten der Welt berlin

Gärten der Welt Berlin
We saw at least 3 bridal parties
Gärten der Welt
Tulip Fields

Gärten der Welt
Oriental garden
Gärten der Welt Berlin

couple fountain
Success! First burns of the summer

Admission: April to October: 3.00 Euro - free for Children
                   Middle of November to the middle of March: 2.00 Euro

Address: Eisenacher Strasse 99, 12685 Berlin
Tel: 4930700906699

Hours: Nov-Feb: 09:00-16:00; Apr-Sep: 09:00-20:00; Mar & Oct: 09:00-18:00.
          Opening hours of the Japanese, Oriental and Korean Garden vary.

*NOTE: This post may give the impression that the city is dangerous and it simply is not. One of the sad things about the US and one of the great things about German is that our "nice" neighborhood of Queen Anne in Seattle had a higher rate of violent crime than our "dangerous" section of Berlin. The city has the problems of any large metropolis, but in general it is very safe.

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We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008