Karlsaue Park

The Karlsaue park originates from a geometrically ordered pleasure garden populated with herbs and exotic plants that was built on the island between the Fulda and the “kleine Fulda” in 1586. Around 1700, when the Orangerie was built, the park was extended south-east along the Fulda by Landgrave Karl. This new design in the Baroque style, was characterized by a strict axial-symmetric layout with two fan-shaped artificial ditches, geometrical flowerbeds, and hornbeam boscages. In 1785, under Wilhelm XI, the park was remodeled into its current English style where the older geometric rigidity was loosened in favor of a more "natural" landscape. Of note, the ornamental beds in front of the Orangerie were transformed into a large bowling green. Today, the 125-hectare Karlsaue, with its meadows and old trees, is a popular recreational area frequented by joggers, sunbathers, and dog-walkers by day, and by lovers at night. Since the II. documenta in 1959, when numerous sculptures were installed in front of the Orangerie - which was then a ruin before its renovation in the 1980s - including works by Alexander Calder and Lucio Fontana, the park has been used by documenta as a venue for outdoor projects, for example during documenta 8, 1987, when Thomas Schütte installed his Eis (ice cream) pavilion in the Karlsaue, or in 2002, when Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster created Park: A Plan for Escape.

Photo: Roman Mensing, 2010

An der Karlsaue 20
34121 Kassel

number 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and RT4, RT5
stop: Friedrichsplatz