Großbeeren — Napoleon Lost, Germany Won (Twice)

The town of Großbeeren in Brandenburg is, for all intents and purposes, its own town of just under 8,000 residents. Some would just call it a suburb of Berlin as it’s only a few minutes to the south of the capital.

Historians might recognize the place, as it was once the site of an epic battle during the Napoleonic Wars back in 1813. In commemoration of the vertically challenged, French Emperor’s loss at the Battle of Großbeeren, the town built a 32-meter high tower in the middle of town.

The tower, besides being the town’s landmark, houses a little museum that’s open May to September on Saturdays (2pm-6pm), and the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month from 3pm-5pm. It also acts as an observation tower.

Also in commemoration of the Battle of Großbeeren, there’s a small pyramid (known as the Bülow Pyramid) in honor of the battle; and yet another (an obelisk) in the churchyard.

For a bit of 20th century history, Großbeeren was right on the border of West Berlin — separated by the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1990. The wall’s gone now, so everyone is free to walk about the town’s many kilometers of hiking & biking trails, many of which go through the Biotope Heinersdorf.

One building in Großbeeren that’s seen it all is the 18th century castle. Today it’s a hotel and restaurant that’s said to have the largest beer garden in all of Brandenburg.

Hmm, do you go there, or do you go to Großbeeren’s artificial lake with its sandy beach, waterskiing, and wakeboarding? Which isn’t Großbeeren’s small (only 1200 square feet) swimming area.

Stay for another round of beer, or go for a round of golf on Großbeeren’s 9-hole course?

Great, plenty of choices. Forget it, give me the beer garden; but only as a reward for going to see the Village Church in Diedersdorf (built in the 13th/14th century) and the small stone church in the village of Kleinbeeren (built 14th century).

I don’t know if that’s true about the beer garden — but I can’t think of a better way to end any day in Großbeeren.

 

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