Munich is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, and boasts considerable green spaces, which were created over the past 400 years, beginning with the Hofgarten created in the early years of the 17th Century, which sits within walking distance of the relatively new Olympic Park, constructed in 1972. It boasts a variety of public spaces today, but that was not always the case. The purpose of this blog will be to report on the emergence of these public parks in Munich as the city underwent modernisation. I’ll be focusing on three of Munich’s many parks in particular: The Hofgarten (Court Garden), The Englischer Garten (English Garden) and The Olympic Park.
The Hofgarten is pictured at the top-left of the image. At this time the park was only thirty or so years old, and is clearly the only green space of any considerable size within the city proper. Built to mimic the gardens of Renaissance Italy, it shows the adoption of foreign style into the heart of a growing city, important enough to be placed inside the fortifications. Apart from the gardens themselves and a small square in the centre of the town, the city seems devoid of public space.
As can be seen on the map, the Hofgarten has received a reworking, and ‘The Place’ remains the only other public space inside the city, but this is in fact a period of great development in Munich, as the Englischer Garten would have been constructed a decade prior, to the north of the walled city itself. This garden, considered Munich’s ‘Green lung’, trumps even New York’s Central Park in scale. Originally intended as a military garden, it would become Munich’s second public park, providing the citizenry with an extensive alternative to the Hofgarten, which pales in comparison. So great in both scale and variety, the park remains a huge tourist attraction to this day.
The Olympic Park, constructed for the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics is one of the comparatively newer public spaces in the city, and though it was built for a single event the park still sees use as a public attraction. Truly modern in design, offering an alternative to the older styles of both other parks, a newer variation to the use of green space in the modern city, it stands as a continuation of Munich’s ever-increasing viridity to the present day.
-Moll’s Map Collection, Untitled map of Munich, Merian, Matthaeus. 1593-1650
-Historic Cities, A Plan of the City of Munich, Stockdale, J. 1800
-Wikipedia, Hofgarten (Munich) & Englischer Garten