Originally used as a hunting reserve for Berlin royalty, the Grosser Tiergarten was transformed into a public oasis in 1700 and now spans more than 500 acres of English-style parklands. It’s planted with an abundance of trees, large expanses of grassy lawns and picturesque floral borders, as well as being home to a number of important monuments. These include a late-19th-century statue of Queen Luise and a monument to Frederick Wilhelm III that features reliefs illustrating his peaceful reign.
But the most important monument in the Grosser Tiergarten is undoubtedly the Victory Column, which soars 70 meters in the middle of a roundabout. It was completed in 1873 and built to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War. The gold statue of Victoria at the top was added to the design in honor of the victories during the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian Wars.
The Victory Column is built on a base of polished red granite, with the column itself consisting of four blocks of sandstone featuring cannon barrels that were captured during the three wars. Four bronze reliefs decorate the foundation, depicting the wars and the victorious troops marching into Berlin.
Originally the Victory Column stood in what is now the Platz der Republik but was relocated by the Nazis to its present site at the Großer Stern intersection. There are 285 steps leading to the top of this iconic monument, from where there are spectacular views of the leafy landscapes of the Grosser Tiergarten.