800 years? 400? Its growth rings are the only way of telling how old "Dicke Marie" (Fat Mary), Berlin's oldest tree, really is. Until that time comes, it is worth hunting down the gnarled oak tree in Tegel Forest.
Off the beaten track, to the north of the Große Malche lake in Berlin's Tegel district, just a few minutes' walk from Tegel Port Bridge, stands the oldest tree in Berlin. It is nicely tucked away in the forest, so visitors need to hunt around a little to find it. Apparently Goethe managed it, as did two young boys, who lived just around the corner in around 1800 and gave the unconventional tree its name: "Dicke Marie". It is said to have been named after the cook in the Schloss Tegel country house, where the two youngsters lived. As it later turned out, the tree was christened by none other than the brothers Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt...
It is not certain whether "Dicke Marie" inspired the boys, who went on to become scholars, in any other way. Yet they were most certainly impressed by it in their youth – the wild beauty was a mighty tree even back in those days. But it undoubtedly wasn't the size it is today: 26 metres tall with a trunk circumference of 6.65 m – far too thick to be able to hug it. It is a veteran through and through, and has survived many a storm. If only it could talk, it would have plenty of stories to tell! Take your time and stick around – being in its presence feels like a relaxing break.
Opening hours: freely accessible
Nearest train station: Berlin