|Floor space||20,500 m²|
The Berlin Palace (actually: Royal Palace , colloquially also: City Palace ) is a secular building on the Spree Island in the historical center of Berlin . From 1443 it served as the main residence of the Brandenburg electors , Prussian kings and German emperors and from 1918 as the seat of authorities, art and scientific institutions. Rebuilt on behalf of Frederick I according to plans by Andreas Schlüter and Johann Friedrich Eosander in the years 1698–1713, it was considered a major work of the North German Baroque . The palace was a central building in Berlin and also one of the largest structures in the city. From the beginning it shaped the cityscape through its starting position for various view and street axes with its facades, its dimensions and its 70 meter high dome, which was added in the 19th century.
In the Second World War in 1945 partially burned, the castle was in the German Democratic Republic blown up in 1950 to win an area for a demonstration space that later by the Palace of the Republic was built in part. Based on a resolution by the German Bundestag , a modern, functional building was built on the area of the palace from 2013 to 2020 according to plans by Franco Stella , which shows reconstructions of the palace facades on its outer sides and in two courtyards except for the Spree side. It is the seat of the Humboldt Forum . This presents the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin , the Stadtmuseum Berlin and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and at the same time aims to become a lively meeting place for people and world cultures. The Humboldt Forum is thus also building on the largely unknown history of the palace as a cultural and scientific center after the revolution of 1918.
Elector Friedrich II , called "Eisenzahn", chose the twin cities of Kölln and Berlin as his residence and seat of the court , as opposed to his predecessor Friedrich I , in whom the old Mark Castle Tangermünde and Brandenburg played a role as main towns this settlement on the Spree had developed into an economic and partly also a political center of the Mark Brandenburg . Before that, the Brandenburg margraves had been using the high house on Klosterstrasse for their stays in Berlin since the middle of the 13th century .
On July 31, 1443, Friedrich II laid the foundation stone for the first castle building, which was completed in 1451 (“the first stone was laid at the newen Sloss zu Cöln”) . The elector prevailed against provoked protests of the councilors, the indignation of Berlin ; the twin cities lost political and economic freedoms as a result of their refusal to build a palace. How far the restrictions for Kölln and Berlin really went is controversial, since all information about this comes from a single source, about 60 years later "in the best humanist style with visible glorification of patrician autonomy" from chronicler Albertus Cran (t) zius or Krantzius (several spellings of the name id literature) originate from the transcript. This first palace structure, erected on the site of the later Schlüterhof and Hof III, also served as an electoral residence as a defense system, from which the trade routes crossing on the Spree island were to be controlled. The appearance of the castle at that time is unknown.
The castle is named in several contemporary documents from 1431, in the Codex diplomaticus brandenburgensis alone twice: For the surrender of an area in Berlin by the monastery Lehnin to the elector in 1431 for the castle building "in our stat zu Colen [Kölln] by der Mure gein dem Closter itself is located on the Sprewe [Spree] because we have our Nuwe Sloß un wonunge to buwen [...] "and for the laying of the foundation stone for the castle:" After gots were born a thousand four hundred and in the thirtieth year of the twentieth century at Sand Peters evening ad vincula to vespertzeyt the first stone was laid on the newnn Sloß zu Cöln, and my gracious lord Marggrave Fridrich, elector etc., is doing his own thing [...] "
On December 15, 1451 - on the occasion of the granting of a castle loan - the elector spoke of having "fortified" the castle. The construction of the years 1443-1451 was a fortified castle and citadel against the cities of Berlin and Kölln with probably all the fortifications of a castle typical of the time. When the castle was rebuilt from 1537 onwards, the citadel-like castle was razed in order to build an unfortified residential castle on its foundation walls. In 1465 the palace complex was expanded to include the important late Gothic Erasmus Chapel .
In the 16th century, Elector Joachim II had the late medieval complex largely demolished and a Renaissance building built in its place based on the model of the castle in Torgau . Its architect Konrad Krebs provided the plans, which his student Caspar Theiss realized. The new building was connected to the first Berlin cathedral , which from then on served as the palace church. It was the result of renovations from a simple church of the Berlin Dominicans and stood immediately south of the electoral residence, roughly at the current confluence of Breite Straße with Schlossplatz .
Towards the end of the 16th century, Elector Johann Georg arranged for the court architect Rochus Graf zu Lynar to build the west wing and the courtyard as well as the courtyard pharmacy to the north . Elector Friedrich Wilhelm , the Great Elector , had the palace, which had fallen into disrepair after the Thirty Years' War, to restore it. In the late period of his reign, important interiors such as the Kugelkammer or the Braunschweigische Galerie were created. The latter was built into the gallery wing on the Spree designed by Johann Arnold Nering .
Under Elector Friedrich III. (from 1701: King Friedrich I in Prussia) the palace was expanded into a royal residence. After Arnold Nering and Martin Grünberg , Andreas Schlueter was given the position of construction manager at the armory in 1699 and was appointed palace builder in the same year. Schlueter had the castle converted into an important secular building of the Protestant Baroque . His design remained rather conservative, was determined by the old castle and was heavily influenced by Bernini's design for the Louvre . The four-wing system he intended did not come about. Under Schlüter, only the wings to the pleasure garden and the city as well as around the Schlüterhof , which was later named after him, could be completed. The facade of the Palazzo Madama in Rome , to which Schlüter added the monumental colossal portal I, was the model for the design of the palace square . He decorated the representative and private rooms of the castle with sculptures and ceiling paintings , among others by Augustin Terwesten . Because of its façades and interiors, mainly created by Andreas Schlüter, the castle was considered a major work of the Baroque era.
At the request of the king, the building called the Mint Tower on the north-west corner of the castle, with a carillon purchased for 12,000 guilders in Holland , was to be raised to a height of 94 meters. The foundations of the medieval building proved to be inadequate for this, although Schlüter tried to reinforce them with iron reinforcements, which were new at the time. Ultimately, the unfinished tower had to be laboriously demolished for structural reasons, and Schlüter was replaced as court architect in 1706, but remained in office as court sculptor. Schlüter's post was taken over by his competitor Johann Friedrich Eosander , who presented a new expansion plan for the palace. The plan could only be partially implemented, mainly around the later Eosanderhof and the Eosander portal (west portal).
Because of its association with Johann Sebastian Bach , the castle was also considered Bachort . In 1719 the composer met Margrave Christian Ludwig von Brandenburg here and dedicated the famous Brandenburg Concerts to him , which were probably performed in the palace in 1721.
After the death of Friedrich I, his successor Friedrich Wilhelm I brought artistic life at the Berlin court to a standstill in a programmatic act. He had the palace finished in a simplified form by the less important pupil of Schlüter, Martin Heinrich Böhme , but the state rooms, as far as they had started, were sumptuously furnished. A small dome tower was added to the south-east corner for the bells of the castle chapel . At the beginning of the 18th century, the Amber Room , which was commissioned by Frederick I, was part of the palace. Friedrich Wilhelm I gave it to the Russian Tsar Peter the Great in 1716 , who had it installed in the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg .
After his accession to the throne in 1840, Friedrich Wilhelm IV moved into a suite of rooms on the first floor along the Spree and the Lustgarten (east and north side). As Crown Prince he had his study set up in the choir and former parish room of the late Gothic Erasmus Chapel in 1826 . The book and drawing cabinets in the room were designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel . The medieval loop vault that Frederick II had overbuilt was exposed again under Frederick William IV. The portrait of Franz Krüger gives an impression of this ambience . The study was the room in the Berlin City Palace in which Friedrich Wilhelm IV not only spent most of the time and received guests, but also conducted his government affairs and planned building projects.
In addition to the study, three rooms in particular played an important role in the Berlin Palace: the star room as a ballroom , the adjoining dining room and the 100 square meter tea room as a lounge . The tea room as a former concert room of Frederick II was redesigned according to plans by Schinkel and designs by Friedrich Wilhelm in the classicism style. The room was furnished with two dozen armchairs and chairs, two Klinen modeled after ancient models, and a semicircular bench that took up space. Friedrich Wilhelm and his wife mainly invited scholars and artists to an informal intellectual exchange in this room. The natural scientist Alexander von Humboldt is said to have read the first volume of his work Kosmos to the crown prince couple.
With the exception of the central, 70-meter-high dome over the Eosander portal, only minor changes were made to the exterior in the 19th and 20th centuries. The architect Friedrich August Stüler and his site manager Albert Dietrich Schadow built the dome with an octagonal, pilaster-decorated drum in the years 1845–1853 . The construction was based on a design by Friedrich Wilhelm IV, edited by the classicist master builder Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The dome building, which was lit by 24 straight, high rectangular windows, housed the palace chapel, which was consecrated in January 1854 . The drum octagon was closed off by a balustrade, with eight statues accentuating the corners of the octagon. Another, drawn-in, round drum section began behind the balustrade. Around this drawn-in drum part ran a Prussian- blue writing band below the cornice with the text: “There is no other salvation, there is no other name given to the people, because the name of Jesus, in honor of the father, that in the name of Jesus should bow down of all those knees who are in heaven and on earth and below earth. ”The dome construction with a metal roof structure was divided by ribs vertically into 24 fields and horizontally by two rows of oculi . At its highest point, it was crowned by a lantern : eight angels with spread wings on a round baluster gallery carried an open dome construction made of eight palm branches, above which a cross rose centrally over a spherical knob.
When Wilhelm II ascended the throne, he chose the castle as his residence. For this purpose, he had it technically modernized and living spaces furnished for his family. A gallery was added to the redesigned White Hall at the expense of the Eosanderhof. Its continuation, which was supposed to allow visitors to circulate throughout the second floor, was left behind in 1914. The small domed tower of the soldier king was given a counterpart as a clock tower. It served to hide the view of the raised roof ridge of the White Hall. Renowned blacksmiths created glazed grilles for the castle portals, which were freely accessible until then. Eduard Puls supplied the gates for portals I and II as well as III (Eosander portal), Schulz and Holdefleiß the gate for portal IV and the Armbruster brothers the gate for portal V.
Although the Berlin palace area remained unfinished in the sense of Schlüter and Eosander's plans, where it was intended as part of a larger urban structure to be built, the surrounding buildings in the center of Berlin resulted in a representative urban ensemble , especially since the buildings are in the immediate vicinity of the In terms of size, proportion and orientation, the castle is based on the castle as a scale building.
As a significant baroque building and the largest building in Berlin's city center , the palace was also the end point of the Unter den Linden boulevard . Several streets were aligned with the city palace, which was also taken into account in the urban planning Hobrecht plan of 1862. Initially, not all facades were designed with a long-distance effect, the west facade remained hidden until 1894 by the freedom of the palace. From 1894 the row of houses was demolished for the construction of the Kaiser Wilhelm National Monument, which resulted in an unobstructed view of the west facade and the Eosander portal of the palace. The two rebuilding of the cathedral at Lustgarten, 1747 by Boumann the Elder and 1905 by Julius Carl Raschdorff , Schinkel's Castle Bridge and the Royal Museum from 1824 and 1830, the Neptune Fountain and the Kaiser Wilhelm National Monument, both by Reinhold Begas in 1891 and 1898, valued the urban position of the castle.
Monarchy: Hohenzollern residence
The castle was the scene and sometimes a symbol of important events in German history. From 1701 it served as a royal Prussian and from 1871 as an imperial German winter residence . Frederick the Great , whose politics caused the German dualism , was born in the building . The Prussian State Council met from 1817 to 1848 in the State Council Hall of the Berlin Palace. The premises designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel for this purpose served the President of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Promotion of Science from 1910 . The March Revolution in Prussia was triggered by a peaceful demonstration on the Palace Square on March 18, 1848. King Friedrich Wilhelm IV tried to calm the masses by making concessions from the balcony on Portal I, but then ordered the area to be vacated. A spontaneous barricade uprising developed , which turned into the revolution.
At the beginning of the First World War , on July 31, 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm II gave the first of his two balcony speeches to tens of thousands of Berliners gathered in the Lustgarten from the balcony of Portal V. The speech was supposed to get people in the mood for the upcoming war. It was followed on August 1st by a second one from the floor-to-ceiling window of the columned hall above Portal IV, in which Wilhelm Germany announced entry into the war and initiated the policy of the truce. This speech, which was widely distributed on August 6, 1914 through publication in the Reichsanzeiger and a record made in January 1918 , made Portal IV a historical place.
Weimar Republic: Culture and Science Center
At the beginning of the Weimar Republic there was an event of the November Revolution in the Berlin Palace. After Philipp Scheidemann announced the abdication of Wilhelm II at the Reichstag building and proclaimed the republic in the early afternoon of November 9, 1918 , the troops gathered around the palace left their posts at 2.30 p.m., pushed by a crowd of people. Only a few court officials and the castellans remained in the building, which the withdrawing troops handed over to the revolutionaries an hour later, and on which a red flag was now waving. Around 4.30 p.m., the Spartacus leader Karl Liebknecht appeared at the palace and proclaimed the “ free socialist republic of Germany ”. He then allowed himself to be led into the castle in order to once again proclaim the “free socialist republic of Germany” from the large window of portal IV, the place where the emperor spoke for the second time. Shortly afterwards, numerous people broke into the unguarded castle and began a looting . Liebknecht's proclamation of the Soviet republic had no consequences, but entered the tradition of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) as a symbolic act , of which he was to be one of the founders a few weeks later.
In the following years of the Weimar Republic, the castle developed into an important cultural center in the city. In addition to the Museum of Applied Arts , known as the Castle Museum , the representation rooms and the castle library were also open to visitors. In addition, during the Berlin Art Weeks , which were first organized in 1926 at the suggestion of Lord Mayor Gustav Böß , public concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic took place in the White Hall and in the Schlueterhof .
A directory from 1924 includes a good two dozen private tenants as well as numerous public institutions, authorities and associations in the castle, including: the crown estate administration , the welfare office for civil servants from the border area, the union of German administrative officials, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science , the emergency community of German science , the Austrian help for friends, the psychological institute of the Friedrich-Wilhelms-University , the palace building authorities I and II, the center for child feeding, the center for mediating home work for medium-sized companies, the state institute for hydrology, the German association for Art history and the phonogram archive . In the following years the Museum for Physical Education, the German Academic Exchange Service , the German Academy , the Atlas of German Folklore , the German Art Association, the student union cafeteria , the Helene Lange day care center for female students, the Japan Institute , the Mexico Library , the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes for Comparative Public Law and International Law as well as for Foreign and International Private Law . In 2021 the journalist Christian Walther presented a comprehensive account of the use of the Berlin Palace between revolution and demolition. It shows the complete functional change from the Hohenzollern Residence to the Center for Culture and Science using the example of nine women, including Lise Meitner , Marie-Elisabeth Lüders , Margarete Kühn and Eva Kemlein .
National Socialism: Continuity and Synchronization
The cultural and scientific use of the castle was largely preserved during the National Socialist era. With the “Museum of the Prussian State Theater” and a new rehearsal hall for the State Ballet, new users were added, while others such as the “Museum for Physical Exercise”, the DAAD and the DFG left the palace. The serenade concerts of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Staatskapelle Berlin as well as other orchestras in the Schlueterhof, which began in 1932, continued into the war years. The Reich Chamber of Fine Arts was temporarily housed in the palace, which had previously taken over the rooms used by the German Art Association. Art community, but also the DAAD, Kaiser Wilhelm Society and the other organizations were brought into line, Jewish employees were dismissed, including the head of the DAAD's academic department, Ingrid Dybwad, the custodian in the palace administration, Elisabeth Henschel-Simon, and the manager Consultant at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Marguerite Wolff.
Post-war period and GDR: art exhibitions and demolition decision
The castle was badly damaged in a bombing raid on February 3, 1945 and most of it burned out. Parts of the castle, however, remained intact, so that from 1946 to 1948 four exhibitions, mainly in the White Hall , could be shown. The building city councilor in the Berlin magistrate, Hans Scharoun , advocated securing the substance, since he considered the palace to be the “most outstanding building of the North German Baroque”, and received appropriate funds from the magistrate (securing work from October 1, 1945). Later, too, after leaving office, he wrote letters to Otto Grotewohl to help save the castle (August – September 1950).
Berlin Republic: Humboldt Forum
After German reunification and the move of the government to Berlin, the Humboldt Forum was built on the site of the old palace by the end of 2020 as a new building, with the facade and the dimensions of the Berlin palace. By using the building as a museum, it should fit into the overall concept of the Museum Island . For this purpose, the collections of non-European art of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation were relocated from the Museum Center Dahlem to the palace, so that, in combination with the holdings of European art on the Museum Island, they form a place of world culture. An event center called Agora is supposed to unite cultures of the world, which ties in with the scientific and cultural past of the place. In addition, a Berlin exhibition will be created on behalf of the State of Berlin as a co-production between Kulturprojekte Berlin and the Stadtmuseum Berlin . It is intended to thematically link the cultures of the world on the upper floors with the city of Berlin, with a focus on the international history of Berlin. In April 2015, Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters appointed the Briton Neil MacGregor as head of the founding directorship , which worked out key issues for the Humboldt Forum until 2017.
As the residence of the Hohenzollern family , the Berlin Palace basically had a different function than the Humboldt Forum. At that time, it formed a programmatic building ensemble with the Altes Museum (culture), Berlin Cathedral ( Evangelical Church ) and Zeughaus (military) in the center of the Prussian capital.
The Berlin Palace ultimately comprised a total of around 1200 interior rooms including the basement, ancillary rooms and the attic, including approx. 100 representative rooms for the Brandenburg electors , Prussian kings and German emperors . Most of the artistic equipment was directed by Andreas Schlüter and Johann Friedrich Eosander von Göthe . Other participating artists were: Hermann Rückwardt , Johann Friedrich Wentzel the Elder. Ä., Johann Heinrich Strack , Augustin Terwesten , Bernhard Rock, Jacques Vaillant , Eduard Gaertner .
The Polish Chambers were located in the pleasure garden wing east of Portal V and were named after Augustus the Strong , King of Poland. They were probably built by Andreas Schlueter around 1700. The most important rooms were the corridor and the bedroom.
The Mecklenburg chambers were located in the west wing north of Portal III and were named after Alexandrine von Mecklenburg , a sister of Wilhelm I. The most important rooms were the bedroom, the drawing room, the writing room and the drawing room of the petits apartments .
State Council room
The State Council rooms were located in the Schlossplatz wing west of Portal II and served as the seat of the authorities. The study of the President of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and the meeting room of the Prussian State Council were particularly noteworthy .
The royal chambers of Friedrich Wilhelm II were among the masterpieces of German classicism . Built 1787–1789 by Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff and Carl von Gontard , they were located in the pleasure garden wing west of Portal V. The garden-side sequence of rooms consisted of the Garde-du-Corps-Hall via Portal V, the Red Damask Chamber, the Green Damascus Chamber and the Throne Room , the great pillared room via Portal IV, the dining room, the Green French Chamber and the Blue French Chamber. The sequence of rooms facing the courtyard consisted of the colorful corridor, the parole hall (with the group of princesses by Johann Gottfried Schadow ), the white room and the concert room.
Parolesaal ( Schadowsaal ) with the group of princesses
Queen Friederike's apartment
Queen Friederike's apartment was another masterpiece of German classicism. It was built in the years 1789–1791 according to plans by Carl Gotthard Langhans and was located in the Schlossplatz wing west of Portal II. The most important rooms included the pillar hall via portal II, the red marble chamber, the drawing room and the marble hall.
Apartment of Friedrich Wilhelm IV.
Friedrich Wilhelm IV's apartment was also one of the masterpieces of German classicism . Built between 1824 and 1828 according to plans by Karl Friedrich Schinkel , it extended from the middle of the east wing to Portal I of the Schlossplatz wing. The most important rooms included the Erasmus Chapel (former palace chapel, originally laid out in 1465, reworked by Caspar Theiss from 1538 ), the writing room (former writing room of Frederick the Great ), the living room, the tea room, the dining room and the star room above Portal I.
The imperial apartment was located in the Schlossplatz wing west of Portal I and served as the apartment of Kaiser Wilhelm II . It consisted of the reception room (former audience room of Frederick the Great), the study (former study of Frederick the Great), the lecture room, the small dressing room, the anteroom of the empress, the marble staircase, the dining room, the library of the imperial couple, the large dressing room, the Fürstentreppe and the Joachimsaal, which was the only room in the apartment on the second floor above Portal II.
The Hohenzollern apartment was in the southern part of the west wing and served as the apartment of Karl Anton von Hohenzollern , the Prussian Prime Minister during the New Era . The most important rooms were the salon, the cabinet and the living room.
Wilhelm's apartment was in the north part of the west wing and served as Prince Wilhelm's apartment . The most important rooms included the Prince Wilhelm room, the first bedroom, the salon, the second bedroom, the bathroom and the guest bedroom (former library of Friedrich Wilhelm II.).
The house library was in the Spree wing of the palace. It was distributed in several library rooms in the tower of Elector Frederick II , in the gallery of the Great Elector , in the Duchess' House and in the Green Hat.
The parade chambers of Frederick I were among the masterpieces of European baroque . Built between 1698–1713 according to plans by Andreas Schlüter and Johann Friedrich Eosander , they extended from the middle of the east wing over the entire pleasure garden wing to the middle of the west wing. The Great Staircase (also known as the spiral staircase) behind the Schlüter portal served as the eastern entrance, while the White Hall staircase next to the Eosander portal served as the western entrance. The prelude to the parade chambers was the Swiss Hall, the first parade antechamber and the second parade antechamber in the east wing. In the Lustgarten wing, the King's Room, the Drap-d'or-Chamber, the Red-Eagle-Chamber, the Knight's Hall, the Black-Eagle-Chamber, the Red-Velvet-Chamber, the Chapter House, the Picture Gallery, the Green Salon and that followed Queen room. The White Hall and the Palace Chapel in the west wing formed the end of the parade chambers.
The highlight of the parade chambers was the particularly magnificent knight's hall above Portal V. It was 17 meters long, 13 meters wide, 9.75 meters high and was in the line of sight Unter den Linden . The door wall in the south was decorated with the trumpeter choir , the window wall in the north was decorated with a heraldic cartouche with the royal monogram "FR". The silver buffet (currently on display in Köpenick Castle ) stood on the east wall, and a royal throne on the west wall. The ceiling painting by Johann Friedrich Wentzel represented the glorification of the government of Frederick I, the sopra portals showed the four continents known at the time, America, Asia, Africa and Europe.
The most important part of the parade chambers was the White Hall , which was always used for representation. After its first redesign in 1898, it was completely redesigned at the instigation of the emperor in the course of 1902. The reliefs and statues made of stucco and other substitute materials such as paper mache and gilded, previously hastily executed , had now been completely renewed by various sculptors under the direction of Otto Lessing using noble materials such as marble and bronze. On December 28, 1902, around 50 invited guests were given a guided tour of the royal palace, where the changes were presented.
The Elisabeth chambers were named after Queen Elisabeth Christine and extended from the middle of the east wing to Portal I of the Schlossplatz wing . They were probably started by Andreas Schlüter around 1700 and included the anteroom accessible from the Swiss Hall of the Parade Chambers, the Red Room, the Velvet Room, the Corner Room, the Bluebeard Room and the Elisabeth Hall via Portal I.
Princess Marie chambers
The Prinzess-Marie-Kammern were named after a great niece of Friedrich Wilhelm IV and extended from portal I to portal II of the Schlossplatz wing. They followed the Elisabethsaal and consisted of the cabinet (former birth room of Frederick the Great ), the eastern room, the middle room and the western room (also called the Princess Marie Hall) via Portal II.
The Elector's Rooms were located in the northern part of the Spree wing and were named after the Great Elector , under whose rule their construction began. The most important rooms included the Small Gallery, the Kugelkammer, the Prayer Chamber, the Bridal Chamber, the Crown Cabinet and the Chinese Cabinet. They were used since Friedrich Wilhelm I for the wedding ceremony of the Prussian kings.
The Brunswick chambers were located in the southern part of the Spree wing and were named after the dukes of Brunswick who used them as guest rooms. The most important rooms included the Braunschweigische Galerie and the former chapel of the Electress, which was considered the first baroque room in northern Germany.
On the third floor there were mostly ancillary rooms, but also inter-storey interiors. These included the Elisabeth Hall above Portal I, the Joachim Hall above Portal II, the Palace Chapel above the Eosander Portal, the White Hall, the picture gallery, the Chapter Hall, the Knight's Hall above Portal V and the Swiss Hall of the parade chambers.
Historic outdoor spaces
On the north side of the Lustgarten , the palace terrace was built in 1844–1846. It compensated for the height difference in the area and shielded the castle from traffic. The terrace consisted of a shorter eastern section, which stretched from Portal V to Portal IV, and a longer western section, which stretched from Portal IV to the corner of Schloßfreiheit . In the middle of the terrace ran a six-meter-wide paved path, lined with two six-meter wide lawns with plants and flowers. The horse tamers were erected on the balustrade in front of Portal IV in 1846 and the eagle column at the corner of Schloss Freiheit . The horse tamers were masterpieces by the Saint Petersburg sculptor Peter Clodt von Jürgensburg . At the Adler pillar of the famous French sculptor worked Christophe Fratin with. In 1907 the Orange Princes joined the balustrade .
The Kaiser Wilhelm National Monument created by the sculptor Reinhold Begas was unveiled in 1897 on the west side of the Schloss Freiheit . A whole row of houses had to give way for the construction of the monumental complex. In 1898, the adjacent green areas were given a similarly representative design as the Schlossplatz.
On the south side of the palace square , the palace fountain created by the sculptor Reinhold Begas was unveiled in 1891 . It was a gift from Berlin to the Kaiser and was located in front of Portal II on the axis of the Breite Strasse . The idea of building a fountain at this point came from Karl Friedrich Schinkel . In 1901, the Schlossplatz was redesigned into a contemporary jewelry square with carpeted beds, mosaic paving and iron candelabra. The equestrian statue of the Great Elector on the Kurfürstenbrücke, created in 1703 by Andreas Schlüter and considered a masterpiece of baroque art, was closely related to the palace .
Horse tamer on the palace terrace, 1933
Eagle column on the palace terrace, 1950
Kaiser Wilhelm National Monument at the Schloss Freiheit, around 1900
Equestrian statue of the Great Elector on the Kurfürstenbrücke, 1938
Second World War
During the Second World War , the palace burned down in the heavy air raid on Berlin city center on February 3, 1945, except for the northwest wing. The fire had destroyed almost all of the state rooms in the north and south wings. Further damage to the Schlossplatz facade was caused by artillery fire at the end of April during the Battle of Berlin .
The outer walls including the sculptural decoration, the load-bearing walls and most of the main stairwells have been preserved. The slightly damaged wing with the White Hall continued to serve as a warehouse and administrative headquarters for the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin even after the war . In other parts of the palace, which were only slightly damaged, there were departments of the State Monuments Office and the former Prussian administration of the state palaces and gardens . In the undamaged ground floor of the Schlossplatz wing with Schinkel's State Council Hall , a construction company was located, which carried out security and rescue work in the castle and its surroundings.
City planning officer Hans Scharoun immediately applied for measures to maintain the castle. But Magistrate Werner , who had been installed by the Soviet military government in May 1945 and was dominated by the KPD , only grudgingly and partially agreed to this. That is why further damage was caused by the weather. In December 1946, Karl Bonatz Scharoun was succeeded in the democratically elected Magistrate Ostrowski . In his Bonatz plan for the reconstruction of Berlin, he also provided for the preservation of the palace. Four well-attended exhibitions took place in the White Hall between August 1946 and March 1948, including the reconstruction show Berlin plans - first report , directed by Scharoun .
Since the division of Berlin in the summer and autumn of 1948, the SED- led East Berlin magistrate , which was now responsible for the palace, gradually prevented further use, security work and heating. In October 1948, the People's Police announced the evacuation of the institutions housed in the castle. After their protests had no effect, they moved their offices to West Berlin . In March 1949, the building inspectorate closed the castle, although an expert commission had declared it not to be in danger of collapsing.
In October 1949, while shooting the Soviet film The Battle of Berlin , Soviet soldiers destroyed several sculptures and pieces of furniture that were still preserved, as well as hundreds of glass windows in the palace.
German Democratic Republic
After the Berlin public had discussed the signs of the apparently imminent demolition of the palace in the winter of 1948/1949, the SED- controlled press initially spread disinformation in February 1950 . While the leadership of the SED unanimously rejected the reconstruction of the palace, it initially did not question the official reconstruction plan and tolerated internal discussions of the Kulturbund about the redesign of the center of Berlin.
With the founding of the GDR , responsibility for the reconstruction of the Berlin city center was transferred to a department of the Ministry of Construction . On the III. On July 23, 1950, Walter Ulbricht , the new General Secretary of the Central Committee of the SED, announced the imminent demolition of the palace at the SED party congress . At the place of the palace itself, as well as the pleasure garden , the palace freedom and the palace square , a rally should be built, "on which our people's will to fight and to build up can find expression". Ulbricht announced this without any previous discussions or agreements in the Politburo, in the Council of Ministers or with the Lord Mayor.
In the weeks that followed, Ulbricht's ideas were given legal form. The relevant Council of Ministers decision was published at the end of August 1950. He planned to leave the Altes Museum and the Berlin Cathedral at the rally site in the north and to build a grandstand on the Spree side in the east, which was to be connected by a bridge to a "representative high-rise" on the other side of the Spree. In the south, next to the New Marstall, a new opera house was to rise and in the west a FIAPP memorial was to take the place of the Kaiser Wilhelm national monument to be removed . In addition to the destruction of the palace, the plan also envisaged the extensive clearing of the only partially destroyed center of Old Berlin and northern Alt-Kölln in favor of a central traffic axis from Stalinallee via Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburg Gate, as well as wider approach routes for demonstrators.
Leading representatives of Berlin's cultural life unanimously rejected the plan at an event organized by the Ministry of Construction on August 30, 1950 and tried to initiate a public discussion in view of the Volkskammer vote scheduled for September 6 . Richard Hamann called the palace "named and depicted in all the art histories of the world [...] a representative of a specifically North German baroque, which is worthy of Michelangelo's St. Peter in Rome and the Louvre in Paris ", Walter Hentschel "one of the most important architectural monuments Germany, yes the whole world ”. Walter Friedrich wrote that it is “one of the most important creations of German architecture”, for Ragnar Josephson it was “in a large, powerful entirety [...] a monument of sovereign Baroque art in Europe”, for Ernst Gall “one of the most creative architectural works of art, ours World [...] to call your own ". For Johannes Stroux , the palace was “one of the most important monuments of national art and the late Baroque in general” and for Horst-Wolf Schubert (1903–1977), art historian and state curator of Saxony-Anhalt, “one of the most important creations of German architecture; it has world renown ”. Hans Scharoun said specifically about the Schlueterhof: "of unique importance ... [achieved] world fame". The responsible SED politicians did not respond to the numerous protests based on art history or historical policy or cited cost arguments. The answer that Ulbricht gave to a protesting SED comrade was exemplary. His "statement" was "already known from West Berlin newspapers", he recommended that he "organize a protest movement against those who destroyed the castle with their bombing terror" and announced that "architecturally important parts of the interior of the castle, so far they survived the American bombing terror ”, will be transferred to a museum.
On September 7, 1950, the day after the decision of the People's Chamber, the castle began to be demolished in sections. This destruction of unique cultural assets has been criticized worldwide. Accompanied by unsuccessful protests, they ended on December 30, 1950 with the closing of the Eosander portal. Comminution blasting of capitals , other larger plastic parts and cellars ended in March 1951.
Without sufficient planning, a scientific activity had recovered around 2000 artistically valuable sculptural works and architectural parts and could only unsystematically document the building before it was destroyed in a hurry. As the future proved, this was done to reassure the public. The scientific processing of the documentation did not materialize and the preserved parts were neglected in a storage area, where their trace was lost after 1965. The debris from the blown up castle ended up on rubble railways and Spreekähnen to mountains of rubble on the edge of the Friedrichsfelde zoo and in the Friedrichshain park , in former gravel pits on the grounds of the Köpenick municipal forest not far from Lake Seddin and on private property in Berlin-Schmöckwitz .
Although the SED organ Neues Deutschland had announced the demolition in August 1950 under the motto “nothing should remind us of the inglorious past”, there was no official discussion of the historical and cultural significance of the palace in the GDR. A corresponding publication with arguments for the demolition was withdrawn in 1952. In the following decades of SED rule in the GDR, the topic of the Berlin Palace was taboo. The files required for scientific research were kept under lock and key.
By the celebration on May 1, 1951 , the square had been cleared, leveled and covered with red brick chippings. On its east side a grandstand rose with its back to the Spree . The square, which was expanded around the previous Schlossplatz and the Lustgarten, was named Marx-Engels-Platz in honor of the theorists of communism Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels . The plans for the redesign of Marx-Engels-Platz worked out in the following years were not carried out for 20 years. Apart from occasional use by demonstrations, military parades and mass events, the square remained unused until the 1970s.
The State Council building erected on its southern edge in 1963 received the salvaged Portal IV as an entrance as an “important memorial of the labor movement”. It was only after Walter Ulbricht 's dismissal that his successor Erich Honecker initiated the construction of a multi-purpose building on Marx-Engels-Platz in 1971 as a programmatic gesture.
The decisive plans are set out in a book. From 1973 to 1976 the Palace of the Republic was built on the eastern castle grounds . Among other things, the building served as the seat of the People's Chamber and contained numerous facilities that were accessible to the entire population.
People's Palace : construction and demolition
After the political turnaround , archaeological excavations were carried out in the undeveloped area of the castle area , with part of the castle foundations and cellar areas being exposed. A metal fence surrounded the foundations and explanatory panels made clear the heating system in the basement area. In 1991, the northern part of the Marx-Engels Square got its original name Lustgarten back, while in 1994 to rename the rest of Marx-Engels-Platz Schlossplatz came. After its asbestos removal from 1997 to 2002, the Palace of the Republic was demolished between 2006 and 2008. To compensate for the removed building mass, the foundation was given a concrete tub, into which wet gravel was placed as a counterweight, depending on the material used. This measure prevented the remaining foundations from floating up. Between 2009 and 2012 the palace area was designed as a public open space according to a concept by relais landscape architects. The excavation fields were opened up by wooden walkways and the palace tub was staged as an open green space.
After the foundation of the Friends of the Berlin Palace in 1992 under the direction of Wilhelm von Boddiens , an international commission of experts in the historic center of Berlin was set up in November 2000 . In 2002 the German Bundestag decided to rebuild the Berlin Palace . A visitor center at the Lustgarten provided information about the project and the history of the building .
The Italian architect Franco Stella emerged as the winner of the international design competition in 2008 . According to his plans, three of the four facades, the dome with the cross, a round corner on the east facade, three of four sides of the Schlüterhof, the inside of the Eosander portal and the inside portals of the Stellahof (palace forum) were reconstructed according to historical models. The interior design was contemporary - white, simple and purely functional - as was the east facade to the Spree (a concrete wall with simple but large windows) and one side of the Schlüterhof. The two flanking secondary domes over the west facade and the historic castle complex on the Spree were not reconstructed. The interiors will also not be restored for the time being. In the long term, however, the reconstruction of the giant baroque staircase at the Schlüterhof is planned. In addition, the interior of the Lustgarten wing is built in such a way that it will be possible to restore individual castle rooms.
On June 12, 2013, Federal President Joachim Gauck laid the foundation stone . Exactly two years later, on June 12, 2015, the topping-out ceremony for the completed shell of the palace including the roof structure was celebrated. The opening of the Humboldt Forum, which was planned for September 2020, was initially symbolically virtual in late autumn; the actual opening had to be postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic . On May 29, 2020, the lantern of the palace dome, reconstructed based on historical photos and designs by Andreas Hoferick , was put on top.
Around 45,000 citizens from Berlin, Germany and around the world donated a total of 105 million euros for the reconstruction of the baroque facades . In November 2020, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters thanked the donors for their commitment. A further twelve million euros in donations are required for the balustrade figures, of which 7.5 million euros had already been received by the friends' association by April 2021. The total costs for the construction project amount to 677 million euros. Construction began in 2012 and was completed in November 2020. The gross floor area is around 93,600 square meters, the usable area around 44,300 square meters. Including the courtyards, the castle has a floor area of around 20,500 square meters.
On the importance of the castle
“And then the Schlueterhof! In the whole world I cannot name anything comparable in terms of idiosyncratic originality: not very large in terms of dimensions, but full of great design in the powerful structure and density of its fronts, which are built in the most daring contrasts and thus formed into a space-binding structure, which again have the portals with their massive column positions and richly windowed risalits as well as the crowning decoration of their figures give rhythmic order full of unforgettable solemnity. "
“Berlin is poor in monuments of the past, but it has a work that is worthy of the greatest of the past and is named and depicted in all the art histories of the world: the Berlin Palace. Its creator is the greatest sculptor and architect in Northern Germany, Andreas Schlueter. There it stands, with a fascinating force and monumentality, a representative of the specifically North German Baroque, which Michelangelo's St. Peter in Rome and the Louvre in Paris are worthy of side. It dominates the center of Berlin, the square that it helps to create, the street that leads to it, the old Berlin that defines the term Berlin for those who want to see Berlin's past embodied. "
“Powerful seriousness speaks from the city side, while relaxed solemnity and cosmopolitan grace rule over the garden side. After Eosander's extension, the palace now turned its front to the west instead of to the south; With the former armory and the Unter den Linden opera house, the palace formed a monumental center that few capitals have. "
To the destruction of the castle
“If you destroy the Berlin Palace, you destroy one of the most creative architectural works of art that our world can still call its own after so many losses. From this time around the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries there is little in Europe that could surpass this building in terms of strength and the emphatically plastic clarity of its facade structure. "
“The rulers of eastern Berlin perceive the fame of the palace as a discord in a long-forgotten prince cult. These have irritated their sensitive eardrums and should now be silenced. They prefer to hear their own sounds on the parade area that they are setting up on the grounds of the demolished castle. Also this barren place will one day be a monument again, a monument of irreverence, narrow-mindedness and intellectual poverty. "
“The Berlin Palace is closely related to the cityscape, and the enlarged palace took on the task of connecting the two urban organisms, the old Berlin-Cölln and the new foundations in the west. Together with the monumental linden trees, the palace formed the most important urban complex in Berlin. The castle has become the crystallization point of a force field that could not be removed from the structure of the city without shaking the order of the whole. There is only one thing to do: to restore the building of Schlüters and Eosander in its place and with it the great moral strength that emanated from Andreas Schlüter's art. "
- The Amber Room by Johann Friedrich Eosander was originally located in the castle. It was commissioned by Friedrich I in 1701 and installed in the north-western corner room of the second floor in 1712 before Friedrich Wilhelm I gave it away in 1716.
- Johann Sebastian Bach met Margrave Christian Ludwig von Brandenburg in the palace in 1719. He dedicated the Brandenburg Concerts to him , which were probably performed there in 1721, which is why the castle is considered a Bach place.
- Frederick the Great was born in the palace in 1712. His birth room was on the second floor of the south wing, behind the third window west of the inner portal I to the Schlüterhof, and remained unchanged until the Second World War.
- The group of princesses von Schadow originally stood in the parole room of the castle. It was on the first floor of the north wing, behind the three windows of the interior portal IV to the Eosanderhof, which today forms the narrow northern side of the passage.
- Prince Karl von Hardenberg worked as a Prussian reformer in the State Council chamber of the palace. The room designed by Schinkel was on the ground floor of the south wing, behind the third to sixth window west of the outer portal II.
- Alexander von Humboldt regularly read from his work Kosmos in the palace's tea room . The room, also designed by Schinkel, was located on the first floor of the south wing, behind the third and fourth windows east of the outer portal I.
- (sorted chronologically in ascending order)
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- The building - originally a cannon tower - housed a water art with which the reservoir of the water features in the pleasure garden was filled. From 1680, water power also powered the minting machine, hence the name.
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- Bernhard Schulz: Where Humboldt chats with the king . ( tagesspiegel.de [accessed on August 2, 2017]).
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- Architecture dossier of the Humboldt Forum Foundation in the Berlin Palace ( PDF )
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- For the conversions of Wilhelm II. See Albert Geyer : Geschichte des Schloss zu Berlin. 2nd vol. From the royal palace to the palace of the emperor (1698–1918). Edited by Sepp-Gustav Gröschel. Issued from the estate. With an introduction by Jürgen Julier . Nicolai, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-87584-431-9 , pp. 122-131.
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- The emperor's new tenant. Retrieved October 13, 2019 .
- Peschken, pp. 117–124.
- Christian Walther: The Emperor's New Tenant - The Berlin Palace Between Revolution and Demolition Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin 2021, ISBN 978-3-947215-28-7
- Christian Walther: The emperor's new tenant - The Berlin Palace between revolution and demolition . Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin 2021, ISBN 978-3-947215-28-7
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- Petras: The castle in Berlin. 1992, p. 110.
- On the tactics of the SED: Maether: The destruction of the Berlin city palace. 2000, pp. 56-63.
- Petras: The castle in Berlin. 1992, p. 113.
- On the protests: Maether: The destruction of the Berlin city palace. 2000, p. 82; Petras: The castle in Berlin. 1992, p. 114.
- Petras (Lit.), p. 137.
- Petras (Lit.), p. 144.
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- Petras (Lit.), p. 138.
- Petras (Lit.), p. 135.
- Wording: Maether: The Destruction of the Berlin City Palace. 2000, p. 279.
- The lock must fall . In: Der Spiegel . No. 42 , 1950, pp. 37-38 ( online ).
- Destruction in the war in 1945 and demolition in 1950. At: Förderverein Berliner Schloß e. V.
- For example, pieces that were recovered in the public eye were later removed with the remaining rubble and the recovered metal grids were melted down. On the rescue activity and its consequences: Maether: The destruction of the Berlin City Palace. 2000, pp. 121-133.
- Overview in Maether, p. 135 f.
- Maether: The Destruction of the Berlin City Palace. 2000, p. 119 f.
- Petras (Lit.), p. 6.
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