Tuesday, 07. March 2017
Munichs green lungs – the "Englischer Garten"
The Munich English Garden is one of the worlds largest urban park areas and is responsible for delivering fresh air to the metropolis.
"Here where you delay once nothing was,
but woodland and swamp." - Inscription of the stone-bench in the southern area of the English Garden, designed by Leo von Klenze in 1838
In summer 1789, when the upheaval of the starving people of Paris against absolutism and serfdom was about to profoundly change the face of Europe, the people of Munich were given a beautiful garden.
Ordered by the Palatinate archduke and elector Carl Theodor, it was first de-signed as a military training garden to then become one of today's world's larg-est urban public parks. With an area of 417 ha, of which approximately 130 ha are covered with wood, 186 ha with meadow and 16 ha with water, with a path network 78 km long, over a 100 bridges and boardwalks and becks, which reach an overall length of 8,5 km, the English Garden is larger than the New York Central Park or the London Hyde Park – moreover its nearly twice as large as the Berlin Tiergarten.
In its mixed forest stands one cannot only find more than 50 species of bird, but also hedgehogs, squirrels, rabbits, hares and - regarding this menu - foxes. A surprising occurrence when assessing the fact, that the major part of the area is centrefed and visited by 3,5 million people a year who in the same time pro-duce and leave 70 tons of rubbish, which has to be removed thoroughly.
When the English Garden was opened to the general public in 1792, the towns-folk counted no more than 40.000 residents – meanwhile, the same park inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen for a population 34 times larger. Not only in these terms its lush design is of great advantage: Referring to informal landscape gardening, as developed in the 18th century in England, the park is naturally grown and undisturbed. Therefore it is regarded as an oppo-site to French baroque gardening, which stands for precise and clear-cut geo-metric forms, banning any uncontrolled growth.
The creative force, advocating the idea of providing a military garden for every garrison town in Bavaria, was the former Bavarian Secretary of War, Benjamin Thompson, who originated from the British colony of Massachusetts.
The instruction of soldiers to basic agricultural comprehension, combined with physical training and the possibility for recreation in open air was the innova-tive intention of Mr Thompson. Nevertheless, the elector Carl Theodor loved to present himself as a modern sovereign, supporting the so-called enlightened absolutism, and therefore the opening of the Munich military garden to the general public he declared to be his utmost concern. Even if this landscape gar-den is called "Theodor's Park" no more, the wanderer is still amazed by a plen-tiful nature and spacious sceneries opening themselves to his eyes at any time of the year.
1966, when Munich was selected as host city of the 1972 Summer Olympic Games, the construction works for the Munich motorway ring were completed. A separation of the English Garden along a north-south-axes is due to this express highway, which a Citizen Action and Foundation wants to be tunnelled for a length of 300 m, to reunite the both parts of the park.