Kaiser Wilhelm Monument at Porta Westfalica
|Kaiser Wilhelm Monument at Porta Westfalica|
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial 2006
|Client||Province of Westphalia|
|Architectural style||Cyclops style of late Wilhelminism|
The Kaiser Wilhelm monument at Porta Westfalica is a Kaiser Wilhelm monument that stands above the Porta Westfalica breakthrough , the "gateway to Westphalia ", in the area of the city of Porta Westfalica in the Minden-Lübbecke district in North Rhine-Westphalia . It was built by the Prussian province of Westphalia from 1892 to 1896 and was created against the background of national ideas in the German Empire . The monument, which is around 88 m high, is one of the German national monuments .
The architect of the monument that shaped the landscape was Bruno Schmitz , the statue of the emperor was designed by the sculptor Caspar von Zumbusch . Since 2008 the monument has been part of the street of monuments . Due to its outstanding geographical location, it is the most important landmark of the city of Porta Westfalica and of northern East Westphalia .
From 2013 to 2018 the monument was restored and rebuilt according to a new visitor concept by the architect Peter Bastian from Münster. A restaurant and an exhibition room were created in the ring terrace of the monument. After the renovation, the monument was reopened on July 8, 2018.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial is located in the region of East Westphalia-Lippe in North Rhine-Westphalia south of the district town of Minden . Here the Wiehengebirge ridge stretches in an east-west direction as a low mountain range threshold from the North German Plain into the low mountain range to the south. The monument stands on the extreme eastern end of the Wiehengebirge on the eastern slope of the Wittekindsberg ( ). Here is the striking Weser breakthrough Porta Westfalica , in which the Weser between the Wiehengebirge in the west and Wesergebirge in the east as well as between the cities of Porta Westfalica in the south and Minden in the north paves its way to the North German lowlands on the low mountain range threshold. The location of the monument was deliberately placed on the eastern border of the former province of Westphalia to Porta Westfalica. The monument belongs to the Barkhausen district of the city of Porta Westfalica.
Directly below the southeastern staircase of the large monument pedestal located in the east a Bundesstraße 61 ( ) there is a difference in altitude of about 170 m.high and slightly above the building to the west, a high place. From the foot of the monument at a height of to the height of the Weser at the bridge of
Contemporary history background
After the death of Kaiser Wilhelm I , Kaiser Wilhelm monuments were commissioned in many places in Prussia . As one of the last major monuments, the personal and national monument places the emperor at the center of the nationally shaped culture of remembrance of the late 19th century, which placed the national community in the foreground. At Porta Westfalica as a place that shapes the landscape, an educational program for national standardization was implemented with the Kaiser Wilhelm monument. The unification of the German Empire as a result of the Franco-Prussian War was celebrated here in the person of the Emperor.
Planning and awarding of contracts
The monument was built on behalf of the state parliament of the Westphalia province, which on March 15, 1889, with a narrow majority, determined the location for the Kaiser Wilhelm monument to be at Porta Westfalica. The location was proposed by the MP Hösch in April 1888, one month after the death of Kaiser Wilhelm I. The Minden city council accepted this proposal immediately. The initiative for the monument construction came from the district administrator of the Minden district, Alexander von Oheimb , the owner of the nearby Oheimb estate in Holzhausen , who promoted the local site as chairman of the monument committee.
The Hohensyburg near the Dortmund district of Syburg was discussed as an alternative location. The location in East Westphalia was able to assert itself as more suitable despite the smaller population compared to the Ruhr area: the monument is visible from afar - by rail, road and river. The exact location was determined by a state parliament commission under the direction of Upper President Stutz during an inspection on June 5, 1889.
Caspar von Zumbusch , from Herzebrock , was won as the sculptor for the bronze figure of Wilhelm I. For the architectural design, the province announced an architectural competition for which 58 designs were submitted. The jury, to which von Zumbusch also belonged, awarded a prize to the young Berlin architect Bruno Schmitz , who a year earlier had already won the competition for the Kyffhäuser monument and later the monument at the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz (1897) and the Leipzig Völkerschlachtdenkmal ( 1913) designed. His design was selected for implementation. The Dresden architects Richard Reuter and Theodor Fischer received another first prize .
Construction of the monument
Preparations for the construction began in the summer of 1892. The construction of the monument took five years from 1892 to 1896. The project gave work to around 200 people, from bricklayers and stone cutters to blacksmiths, locksmiths and road builders.
It was built with Porta sandstone broken in the region . Around 13,000 cubic meters of masonry were laid and 3,000 meters of stairs were laid.
The construction costs for the entire monument including land acquisition and access road were estimated at around 800,000 gold marks ; in the end it cost 833,000 gold marks, according to other sources even 1,000,000 gold marks.
On October 18, 1896, the monument was inaugurated in the presence of Emperor Wilhelm II and Empress Auguste Viktoria as part of a celebration attended by between 15,000 and 20,000 people. District Administrator Alexander von Oheimb emphasized in his address "the services of Emperor Wilhelm I to the unification of the empire."
In 1921 a memorial plaque was put up in honor of those who died in World War I (see section Fallen in World Wars ). In 1926, Minden's monarchist and “patriotic” associations called for a “German Day” to be celebrated at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial.
Dimensions and ground
The facility rises above the site in two platforms. The lower ring terrace opens the square to the east and provides the basis for the monument built into the slope to the west. With a diameter of 120 meters, it is supported by a wall with a simple battlement and thirty supporting pillars. The domed structure of the monument rises above it, surrounded by a staircase to the north and south, which leads to the upper terrace. The upper terrace limits the space to the west.
The monument is 88 meters high. This makes it the second highest monument in Germany after the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig. The statue of the emperor made by Caspar von Zumbusch is 7 meters high and stands on a 5.5 meter high stone plinth. The canopy with the imperial crown is 50 meters high and is supported by six columns.
The monument itself stands on solid rock. By blowing up the monument tunnel after the war, the end of 1947 parts of the ring terrace are crashed, and the rest had supported and the cavities had to be filled. Here the building ground was severely impaired in its stability. As part of extensive renovation work , the ring terrace was reconstructed between 2014 and 2017 and its stability was restored.
The Kaiser Wilhelm monument is designed in the Cyclops style of the late Wilhelmine era and can be seen from a great distance. It is thus characteristic of the landscape around the Porta Westfalica breakthrough valley.
The building rises above a ring terrace that was partly carved out of the rock and partly artificially created. The limestone obtained when carving out the terrace was immediately used again to build the rest of the part and for the back walling of the actual monument. During the building of the platform were in the ground subsidence , which led to be solved that stones and sometimes even crashed. Schmitz arranged a twelve-meter-high substructure above the platform with a raised terrace to which a stately staircase leads. Behind this is the inscription "Wilhelm the Great - the Province of Westphalia" between two coats of arms . This inscription has been discussed for a long time, as a decorative plaque with the coat of arms of the German Empire and the Province of Westphalia should first be attached. The domed building with the canopy protecting the imperial statue rises up from the high terrace and rests on six relatively narrow pillars to ensure the best possible view of the statue.
Porta sandstone from the nearby “Wolfsschlucht” quarry was used for all visible architectural parts. This material was cheaper than the Ibbenbüren sandstone initially envisaged . The stones made of porta sandstone have a coarse grain with a gray-brown, slightly greenish shimmering color. Often there are also dark stripes due to the high iron content . The sandstone surfaces exposed to the rain were soaked with testalin for better weather resistance .
The dome, a canopy supported on six buttresses, has the shape of an imperial crown with a ball and cross on the top. The buttresses also end with a crown. The canopy contains the statue, which is made of cast bronze. The statue of Wilhelm I shows him in the uniform of the Garde du Corps with high boots, tunic and cuirass . The coronation mantle billows from the shoulders . Wilhelm I raised his right hand and leaned his left on Pallasch . He wears a laurel wreath on his head .
Memorial and information boards
Kaiser Wilhelm Monument
At the northern entrance to the monument there is a bronze plaque with the heading "Kaiser Wilhelm Monument" on a stone plinth with some information and data on the building and the emperor as an inscription - for example:
- Wilhelm I (March 22, 1797, † March 9, 1888)
- King of Prussia (1858 / 61–1888)
- German Emperor (1871–1888)
“The memorial was erected on the decision of the Provincial Parliament of the former Province of Westphalia between 1892 and 1896 according to plans by the Berlin architect Bruno Schmitz . The statue of the emperor was designed by the sculptor Caspar von Zumbusch , who was born in Herzebrock / Westphalia and who works in Vienna ”.
The “total height of the monument” is “88 m ” and the “ canopy with the imperial crown” is “51 m” high. Consisting of bronze cast "statue of Emperor" has "7 m" height. The stone pedestal on which the statue stands, not mentioned in the inscription, is estimated to be around 5 m high. The building was built from "Portasandstein" and the construction costs amounted to "833,000 Goldmarks " .
Fallen of the world wars
On July 30, 1921, the Academic Gymnastics Association had a memorial plaque placed on the northern pedestal for members of the Bund who died in World War I , and in 1953 added a torch for members who died in World War II .
Numerous tunnels and underground caverns were created in the Wittekindsberg to extract iron ore from underground. The ore was exploited and then many of the tunnels were closed because the rock was exhausted or the mining was no longer economically viable.
In the so-called memorial tunnel below the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial in Wittekindsberg, after the iron ore mining was stopped in March 1944, the caves were expanded with the help of concentration camp inmates . Here, in the program of the U relocation, companies and production facilities were to be relocated underground so that armaments-important products were manufactured in an enemy-safe manner during the Second World War. Armaments factories moved into the tunnel under the Kaiser Wilhelm monument. The up to 1,300 concentration camp prisoners were housed in Barkhausen in the Porta Westfalica satellite camp under inhumane conditions.
When the British Army had brought the area under their administration after the end of the war, the memorial tunnel was blown up on April 23, 1946 on the orders of the Allied Control Council under strict security measures to make it unusable. The population feared that the monument would collapse, the base of which had previously been slightly damaged in an artillery fire. At the monument, part of the forecourt had crashed after the demolition; the memorial remained undamaged. The damaged forecourt had not been restored until construction work began in 2016. At the crash site, the fence was moved back and secured with a grid. As a result of the renovation work, the square was completely restored in summer 2018.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Monument is a major attraction in the region and has around 100,000 to 200,000 visitors annually. The site and the monument can be visited free of charge and approached by car (see section #Parking concept ). The Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL), the owner of the monument and the site, had a new panorama café with an information center built at the monument from 2013 to 2018. (see section History: Maintenance measures at the monument )
Hikers can reach the monument on two routes from the Porta Westfalica train station , on the one hand via the direct route via the Goethe open-air theater in Porta Westfalica on the European long-distance hiking trail E11 , and on the other via the Wolfsschlucht with the steeper southern slope to the Weser.
The monument became a well-known excursion destination via the Porta Westfalica station on the Cologne-Mindener Railway , which was specially equipped with a large entrance building, and attracted guests not only regionally but also nationwide. The Porta Westfalica with the monument on one side and the Jakobsberg telecommunications tower on the other was a popular destination in the 1950s and 1960s. Accommodation and hotels developed on both sides of the Weser. The number of visitors has decreased noticeably since the 1990s, and many hotels in the immediate vicinity had to close.
Before the renovation, the ring terrace at the monument was used for several types of events, from the performance of the opera Carmen to so-called re - enactments with a representation of Kaiser Wilhelm I in autumn 2013.
For the 100th anniversary of the monument in 1996, the Association for the Promotion of the Kaiser Wilhelm Monument e. V. founded. Since 2008 the memorial has belonged to the Street of Monuments , a network of German monuments and places of remembrance founded on the initiative of the Leipzig City History Museum . The aim of the network is "to network the places of remembrance as former focal points of the past more closely and to make them more tangible as a whole through joint marketing measures".
With the reopening of the memorial in the summer of 2018, shuttle buses run from Porta train station to the memorial at the weekend and the number of visitors is rising again, the memorial attracts noticeably more tourists.
Matthias Gräbner, managing director of the Westliches Weserbergland tourism center, who is responsible for guided tours, states that the number of tours booked is increasing: in 2017 it was 573, in 2018 (the year the monument was reopened) 3,239 and in 2019 7,146.
Opportunities for viewing
From the Kaiser Wilhelm Monument there are often good prospects of the city of Porta Westfalica , the North German lowlands and, among other things, over to the Weser Mountains beyond the breakthrough valley .
A restoration was always part of the concept of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial at Porta Westfalica. The historic half-timbered restaurant, originally built below the monument, was replaced in 1966 by a new stone building designed by the Minden architect Wilhelm Hempel with more space. Here the road from the valley ended in a parking lot. The last few meters to the monument had to be overcome on foot.
The monument economy stood empty for a long time in the 1990s, was subject to vandalism and was demolished in the week before Easter 2015 in order to create a new building site for the renovation work on the monument. A new kiosk building with a toilet facility was then built here, which was opened in December 2017. The new access to the parking lot with a turning loop and bus stop was created on the area of the old monument restaurant. Since the renovation, the actual restoration has taken place directly at the monument in a panorama restaurant in the reconstructed ring terrace of the monument.
Maintenance measures at the monument in the 21st century
At the beginning of the 21st century, the stability of the monument was ensured through extensive construction work. The stairs at the monument entrance were renewed (55,000 euros) and a barrier-free path from the parking lot to the monument was set up (85,000 euros). When British soldiers blew up an important war production tunnel for the U-relocation , which was located in the mountain below the monument, by British soldiers in 1946, the terrace had partially collapsed. The space in front of the monument was only poorly repaired and was no longer fully usable. A building report showed that the stability of the ring base is no longer given due to the weather. If the base is not renovated, the space threatens to slip.
On October 11, 2013, the landscape committee of the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association (LWL), as the owner of the Kaiser Wilhelm monument, decided to provide 2.8 million euros for the renovation and reconstruction of the ring terrace; the federal government is contributing 300,000 euros. The declining attractiveness and the lack of time visitors spend at the memorial were also reacted to with a new visitor concept. The new visitor concept is intended to increase the statistical length of time visitors spend at the monument from around 15 minutes to over an hour.
In the run-up to the renovations, the LWL had acquired the old monument management at the parking lot below the monument in order to tear down this aging restoration, for which no leaseholder could be found. An architectural competition began , which the office of Peter Bastian Architekten BDA from Münster won in spring 2014. Accordingly, a memorial café and an information center were built into the base below the forecourt, which is located in the basement of the ring terrace, creating a new level. The terrace, which was partially blown up after the war, was rebuilt in its original size. Construction work began in summer 2014.
First of all, the masonry was secured and, from summer 2014, two arches of the retaining wall on the east side of the forecourt were dug up and loose stones were secured. In spring 2016 the platform under the memorial was closed; The earthworks began in the summer of 2016, during which 25,000 cubic meters of earth were removed. In order to firmly establish the restored ring terrace with the restaurant located in it, 270 small bored piles were driven into the rock for the stability of the building and the monument. The shell work was completed in December 2017. Porta sandstone could no longer be used as building material for the restored curtain wall , because the quarries are exhausted or closed, and neither is Ibbenbüren sandstone . It was Obernkirchener sandstone used the lighter looks.
The Federal Ministry of Construction supported the redesign of the monument, which is considered a nationally valuable cultural asset, with 5.5 million euros. The total costs were calculated at 12.4 million euros.
In the redesigned ring terrace, a restaurant and the visitor center were created under the flat surface. Here the history of the monument and that of Porta Westfalica are told in a media-supported exhibition. The Prussian Museum in Minden is responsible for this in terms of content ; this cooperation is to be expanded significantly in the following years.
Instead of the old monument management, a turning area was created here with two stops for buses and the access to the parking lot. There are around 170 parking spaces available in the car park. They are managed and cost at least three euros for three hours. Since the number of parking spaces is very limited up here, an additional parking lot with a further 140 spaces has been built in the valley near the southern entrance to the Weserauentunnel . Another parking space in the valley is being planned. On weekends, visitors take a shuttle bus from Porta Westfalica train station via the parking lot in Barkhausen (Porta Westfalica) up to the mountain and to the monument every half hour. The bus can be used free of charge from spring 2019. This is intended to encourage visitors not to drive to the monument in their own car, but to use the bus. There is no parking space for buses in the parking lot directly at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial. The public order office of the city of Porta Westfalica has been controlling the access on weekends with employees since spring 2019 and closes the mountain road in the event of overload.
The choice of parking space is supported by a parking guidance system that shows the free spaces in the three parking spaces.
In the summer of 2018, a shuttle bus also ran at the weekend from the nearby Kanzlers Weide large car park in Minden , which also went to the local central bus station on the way back to Minden. On September 30, 2018, the "Kaiser Wilhelm Bus" from Minden was stopped again.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Monument can also be reached on foot via the E 11 long-distance hiking trail. At times it was also accessible from the parking lot in Barkhausen via the Wolf Gorge, but this trail has now been closed.
At the beginning of October 2018, it was noticed that someone had secretly attached a yo-yo to the emperor's outstretched hand. The LWL announced that it wanted to remove the toy; "for security reasons," as it was said.
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