Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Europe: Hagenbecks Tierpark

Although we are staying for a few more days, this may be my last post on our Europe trip because we are not doing so many tours any more. Mostly we are now seeing relatives.

However, yesterday we visited the Hamburg Zoo, Hagenbecks Tierpark. It is famous for having introduced a new type of Zoo when it was built about a hundred years ago, with the animals in open areas separated from the visitors only by trenches instead of cage bars.

Above the historical entrance gate. It is now inside the park but under monument conservation. A sign indicates that the two 'exotic' human statues - a native American and an African - refer to ethnological exhibitions that regularly took place in the park until the 1930ies.

For some unexplained reason there are a lot of East Asian design elements across the park, such as Chinese style bridges or this Thai sala. The large grass areas are not surrounded by fences, and provide rest areas for some animals that freely roam across the park landscape, in particular Maras.

The zoo is also famous for its (at the time) novel artificial rock landscapes. They were originally constructed with a pine wood framework covered in concrete. Over the decades, they started to decay, and had to be replaced with steel in an exercise that cost millions of Deutsche Mark. The animal in the centre is a North African mountain goat.

Anyway, the park was great. Of course it costs a bundle, but the same is true for any zoological garden, and this is one of the best I have seen.

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