Fans of bombastic landscape architecture will already be familiar with the Soviet memorials in the Tiergarten and in Treptower Park but few tourists manage the schlep out to Pankow. But I’m here to say: venture beyond the ring!
You could spend an entire day wandering through Pankow’s parks. Check out the impressive Schlosspark, home of the Schönhausen Palace – a stately baroque manor that once belonged to the Hohenzollern dynasty. Later, this was East Germany’s guest house for visiting heads of state. The interior’s bizarre pastiche of groovy 1970s design with baroque flair makes me positively lightheaded with ostalgie.
Then wander through East Germany’s erstwhile diplomatic quarter (there are still a number of functioning embassies here as well as the mouldering remains of others) until you find the smallish Bürgerpark – check out the children’s farm which gives city children a chance to see where eggs come from. When you’re done petting the goats, head for the adjoining Schönholzer Heide, which houses the city’s third Soviet memorial to the liberation of Berlin from the Nazis.
Beyond serving as a memorial to the fallen comrades, the three Soviet memorials in Berlin are cemeteries for the 80,000 Soviet soldiers killed in the Battle of Berlin. Along the wall surrounding the park, bronze tablets are inscribed with the names of the fallen soldiers. At the far end of the axis stands a large obelisk behind a statue of Mother Russia grieving her dead son.
From the front entrance, bus 155 will get you back to Berlin-Pankow station.