Ackerstr. Market Hall
|There are only a few sections of the Berlin Wall where the call to transform defence installations into gardens could be put into practice. The old Luisenstädtische Canal, whose course between the bridges Waldemar- and Schillingbrücke defined the border with East Germany, is a pleasant exception.
The canal was built in 1848 to connect the Landwehrkanal to the Spree. Some eighty years later it was filled in for health reasons. In the twenties and thirties, Erwin Barth created the garden attraction, which, with its water features, drew thousands of walkers every day. Today’s garden is built on the foundations of this historic site. The exotic and beautiful Indian well has been reproduced between the restored canal walls and the pergolas, covered with climbers. A splendid rose bed joins up with the Angel Pool at the foot of the St.-Michaels-Kirche. In front of the church, the canal bends away to the south-east, and on its way to the Spree it incorporates a further “evergreen” garden, framed by Engel- and Bethaniendamm.
Shortly after the Wall came down, in a bid to reclaim the land’s horticultural usage, the government horticultural office planted two rows of lime trees on both sides of the path leading from the Engelbecken to Köpenicker Straße. The following garden section, on the far side of Adalbertstraße, is a sensitive composition of both pioneer species that have grown wild over the years and newly-planted herbaceous borders. The row of gardens ends between Thomaskirche and Köpenicker Straße, with colourful flowerbeds interspersed with children’s play equipment.
The section of the canal that belonged to West Berlin, south-west of the Waldemarbrücke, only really works as a garden in its last section. A dried-up river bed dotted with large glacial rocks winds its way along the far side of Skalitzer Straße, between Segitz- and Erkelenzdamm down to the Landwehrkanal. The pedestrian will need about half an hour to walk the two kilometers and experience the 150 years of Berlin landscape design that lie between Schillingbrücke on the Spree and Urbanhafen on the Landwehrkanal.