The Mauerpark is famed far beyond Berlin, and not just because of its history as part of the Berlin Wall complex. On warm summer evenings its green spaces attract lots of visitors.
It’s not just its history as part of the Berlin Wall that makes the Mauerpark green space famous all over Berlin and beyond. On warm summer evenings and during weekend flea markets it’s a very busy park. It extends over an area of approximately 14.5 hectares along the former border strip between Bernauer Strasse and the S-Bahn railway in Berlin’s north. As a station on the city section of the Berlin Wall Trail and close to the Berlin Wall Memorial, it is a place of memory steeped in history as well as a green oasis between the Wedding and Prenzlauer Berg districts. A well-used open space, the Mauerpark is like an “open window” in the densely built-up city around it.
In the early 19th century the eastern area of what is now the Mauerpark was used as a parade ground. In 1872 work began to build a freight railway yard in its western section. When the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, the border between the East and West Berlin sectors went through here. When the Berlin Wall fell it became an “empty space” and Berliners quickly discovered the potential of this wild, luxuriant scrap of nature in the middle of Berlin in meeting their need for green space and relaxation.
The commitment of many residents from surrounding areas and funding from the Allianz Umweltstiftung enabled sections of the former border strip to be developed into today’s Mauerpark. In 1994 the first phase of the Mauerpark’s construction, a 7.5-hectare space designed by Hamburg landscape architect Professor Gustav Lange was completed and inaugurated. It offers facilities for all kinds of users in various age groups: an amphitheatre, sunny spots for lying and sitting on the hillside, a birch copse as a place of peace and spacious lawns for sport and games. Sitting on the high, strong swings on the top of the hill you have a wide-ranging view across the heart of Berlin.
Further special attractions for visitors old and young are the Moritzhof farm and adjoining green space, the playground, sunken garden and climbing wall. This section of the Mauerpark opened in 2005. It was financed mainly from compensation funding provided by Deutsche Bahn AG (German railways).
In 2013 the park was expanded by around 2 hectares to the south of the Gleim Tunnel and temporarily made available for various recreational uses such as playgrounds and a pilot project by the "Mauergarten" project. New access to the existing park was created from Lortzingstrasse for residents of the Brunnenviertel district, further connecting the city’s east and west. Grün Berlin GmbH organises and manages the maintenance and care of this two-hectare site.
The long term goal is to expand the Mauerpark to include the former industrial area in the Brunnenviertel/Wedding area from an area of 7.5 hectares to 14.5 hectares. Work has been continuing on an overall plan for the extension site together with Professor Gustav Lange, the “Bürgerwerkstatt Mauerpark-Fertigstellen” citizens' support group and participating government agencies since 2010. Design planning is largely complete.
The extension will provide additional space for quieter uses, offering an alternative to the lively central meadow and amphitheatre area.
The course of the Berlin Wall will also be highlighted and traces of the past made visible for all users to experience.
The Mauergärten gardens and beer gardens will be integrated into the park and the flea market site designed so that park visitors can use it for sports and activities during the week. A former industrial building, the “Kartoffelhalle” (potato hall) will be retained and at the behest of local citizens will become a non-commercial cultural meeting place. New lawn areas will expand the range of possibilities for playing or just lying in the sun. More paths for strolling, playgrounds and toilets will also be built.
A spacious tree-lined promenade running north-south will be laid out to provide pedestrians strolling in summer with a light canopy of shade. Along the promenade a large playground for children of various ages will be built. To the north of the promenade will be a square marking the entry to the park from the Brunnenviertel district, inviting visitors to linger there. It will be complemented by wooden decks and areas for playing and resting, linking the park’s old and new sections.
Work to clear the former industrial sites began in July 2016 and the extension should be complete by early 2019.