Once the hunting ground of the electors of Brandenburg outside the city walls, „Tiergarten“ today is one of the inner-city boroughs of Berlin.
In the 16th century, the elector Joachim I used the area of 250 hectars as a game preserve for hunting parties.
Around 1700, under the elector Frederick III, the first changes were made. As an extension of "Unter den Linden", Frederick had an avenue built stretching from the royal residence to the new country seat, the Lietzenburg Palace, which is now known as "Schloss Charlottenburg" (Castle Charlottenburg). This extension today includes "The Straße des 17. Juni", and the "Otto-Suhr-Allee". The "Große Stern" (English: Great Star) with its eight points also dates from this period.
The area still resembled a game preserve until the reign of Frederick the Great who disliked hunting. Around 1741this king commissioned von Knobbelsdorff, a garden architect, to remodel the grounds.
Statues which the Berliners flippantly referred to as "the dolls" were erected around the "Große Stern". The expression "up to the dolls" became a popular saying used to describe any time-consuming, a long drawn-out business.
In 1784, under Frederick the Great, Schloss Bellevue was built for Frederick´s youngest brother, Prince August, Ferdinand of Prussia, as a summer residence. Today this palace is the official residence of the President of Germany.
The Director of Horticulture, Peter Josef Lenné, had a decisive influence on the transformation of the Tiergarten into a landscape garden. He had the swamps drained and the whole area systematically converted into a park with the creation of roads and paths for riding and walking. The "Tiergarten" park suffered great damage as a result of the second world war. A shortage of fuel was responsible for almost total deforestation. The land was divided into allotments for the cultivation of vegetables, in particular potatoes. Today, the „Tiergarten“ has become one of the most important recreation areas for the local population. On a nice summer weekend, the park is full of people. For the last couple of years the "Love Parade" with over 1 million ravers and dancer is taking place once a year.
The building which houses the Hotel Tiergarten Berlin, was built in 1892 for a mill owner, Schütt, who let it out as flats for officers. The ground plan of the flats in this building gives an idea of the standard of living that the middle class had attained in the 1900´s in this part of the city. All the rooms in the front part of the building in each flat was used only as reception-rooms. The bedrooms, a bathroom, toilet, kitchen and pantry and storage and maids room were located in extraordinarily long lateral wings. Beyond the staircase at the end of each wing there was an adjacent two-room flat, built in such a way that a corridor, 32 metres in length, were could be constructed providing access to the rooms at the front of the building.
The lateral wings are not joined at the back, as is the case in similar Berlin flats with these characteristic long wings so they open into a garden which links the court yards belonging to the two sides of the building. Even today, the visitor who walks through these courtyards and gardens is struck by their atmosphere of almost monastic calm.