The peacock island, or Pfaueninsel in german, is located on the Havel river, near Potsdam, on the south-western edges of Berlin. The whole area (around 67 ha) is counted among the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The area started it’s life not as peacock, but rather as rabbit island, as initially it was a breeding ground for the small mammals, set up in the XVII century by Friedrich Wilhelm I. He also created an experimental facility on the island, managed by a famous German chemist Johan Kunckel, where the latter could freely work on his inventions, developing a technique to produce artificial ruby among others.
After the King’s death, his successors lost interest in the island and it remained largely unused for the next 100 years, until 1793, when Friedrich Wilhelm II decided to locate there his “Lustschloss”, or pleasure palace, to use together with his mistress Wilhelmine Elke.
His successor, Friedrich Wilhelm III, transformed the area into a half-farm half-zoo, and in 1821 opened it to the public. After his death the animals were transported to the Berliner Zoo.
The peacock island was chosen by Hilter as a place of celebration of the closing of 1936 Olympic Games, with fireworks show and an “Italian” ball.
Currently the area is opened for tourists, with a small ferry running on the south side of the island. It features the old palace, fountains and free ranging peacocks.
See my other entries on parks/nature in and around Berlin