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The earliest view of Nikolskoe after the construction of the church and free school
(watercolor, Johann Heinrich Hintze , April 1837)

Nikolskoe ( Russian : Никольское / Nikolskoje , but mostly pronounced Nikolskö by the Berliners ) is a location in the Berlin district of Wannsee in the Steglitz-Zehlendorf district . It is located on the lower Havel in the Düppeler Forest north of Königstrasse between the Klein-Glienicke Park and the Pfaueninsel . Nikolskoe is an ensemble of four - all listed - structures: the eponymous log house with ancillary building, the Protestant church of St. Peter and Paul on Nikolskoe, the former royal free school and the cemetery on Peacock Island. The surrounding forest is a registered garden monument.

The place was the branch of the Pfaueninsel, which since the end of the 18th century was next to Paretz the favorite summer residence of King Friedrich Wilhelm III. was. Nikolskoe and the surrounding forest between the Forsthaus / Gasthaus Moorlake and the Pfaueninsel ferry station have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage " Palaces and Gardens of Potsdam and Berlin " since January 1, 1991 and, since 1992, part of the EU bird sanctuary Western Düppeler Forest .

Nikolskoe log cabin

The Blockhaus, 1832
(colored steel engraving after W. Loeillot)

In 1817 the eldest daughter of King Friedrich Wilhelm III. married the third oldest son of the Tsar, Grand Duke Nikolai . This was the most important dynastic union of the king's generation of children for the Hohenzollern . During a visit to Pavlovsk in 1818, the king had learned of his daughter's enthusiasm for a “Russian House” built by Carlo Rossi and had the corresponding building plans sent to him.

In 1819 he had a corresponding Russian log house built in honor of his daughter and his son-in-law near Pfaueninsel, which he gave to them with the name (Nikolskoe = belonging to Nikolai). Before the construction of the Alexandrowka colony near Potsdam, Nikolskoe was the most important evidence of Russia's devotion in Prussia .

It was built in 1819/1820 by soldiers of the Guard Pioneer Battalion under the direction of Captain Adolf Snethlage according to Rossi's modified plans. In contrast to the Alexandrowka, it is a real log house, i.e. a building constructed from solid round timber.

Nikolskoe log cabin as a restaurant
(picture postcard around 1900)

The interior contained a royal “tea room” on the upper floor as the most important space. Otherwise there were official apartments inside, downstairs for the sailors of the ships on Pfaueninsel and upstairs for the overseer, the personal coachman Ivan Bockow. The construction as an artificial farmhouse is in the tradition of the late 18th century, in which the apparently original and natural country life was celebrated as a playful alternative world for a society of high civilization, like Marie Antoinette with her "Hameau" (hamlet) near Versailles- Trianon .

The log cabin as an excursion restaurant today

For Berliners, who flocked to the Pfaueninsel in their thousands on opening days, the building was known as the “Russian House” and a well-known attraction. Bockow made it a pioneer in the restaurant landscape of the area, disregarding the king's ban on serving and selling the then proverbial “licked” and “unlicked” bread in a hard Russian accent. (For more see main article Blockhaus Nikolskoe )

After the death of King Friedrich Wilhelm III. In 1840 the Peacock Island was only occasionally used by the royal family and - despite the relocation of the menagerie to Berlin in 1844 - it continued to be a popular excursion destination for Berliners. The log cabin has now developed into a professional excursion restaurant that became so successful that it became a must - see tourist attraction in West Berlin after the Wall was built .

The log house, which became state property after the First World War , was destroyed by an arson attack in 1984, one of which was killed. The roof and gable were completely burned. From 1985 the house was rebuilt true to the original and has served as a restaurant again since then.

Evangelical Church of St. Peter and Paul

The Church of St. Peter and Paul on Nikolskoe
( lithograph by Xaver Sandmann around 1850)

Main article St. Peter and Paul (Berlin-Wannsee)

According to tradition, the king's daughter Charlotte (since 1825: Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna) wanted the sound of bells above the Pfaueninsel on the occasion of a visit in 1819. Since the inhabitants of the island had neither a church nor a school in their vicinity, the king had the need for such buildings for the island and Klein-Glienicke determined by cabinet order of May 22, 1832 , so that the buildings could be built at state expense.

As a result, a parish consisting of the Pfaueninsel and the villages of Klein Glienicke and Sacrow was planned to legitimize the building of a church in the middle of the forest . The planned church for the places was about halfway. It was planned to include Stolpe in this parish, which still had its own church, even if it was in great need of renovation. Klein-Glienicke was a parish in Potsdam's Nikolaigemeinde, Sacrow's Church was demolished in 1822 because it was in disrepair and the village was parish off to Fahrland. Both villages were very interested in a nearby place of worship. But the Sacrow patron saint, the banker Magnus, prevented his village from being included.

First sketch of the location of the buildings near / on Nikolskoe, Gustav Kloeber after Lenné 1832/1833

On June 19, 1837, Nikolskoe became an independent parish for the residents of the Pfaueninsel, von Klein-Glienicke and Stolpe. The community was named Parochie Kleinglienicke . In addition to the new church, she owned the old dilapidated church in Stolpe and, in addition to the new Nikolsko cemetery, also the two old village cemeteries.

The first plans were made from 1833 on, but these have only been handed down in fragments. Friedrich August Stüler supplied the essential designs , from which the king chose a design with only one tower (there were apparently alternative plans with five domes). According to his inclination, the Crown Prince designed a multifaceted assembly with a school and parsonage. However, this was rejected after a dispute with the community.

For the construction site, Stüler had indicated that it should not stand too close to the log house so as not to impair the monumentality of the church and that it should not stand on the same level, but rather be positioned a little below so that it is completely covered with greenery in the distance be embraced. The king then personally determined the building site from a boat (with the help of flag bearers at the height).

Construction planning

First draft for the church by Albert Dietrich Schadow, 1833
Sketches of the Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm IV.

The church design was essentially based on Schinkel's model design for a Protestant "normal church" with a tower (1827), ie a rectangular hall with a semicircular apse. The Crown Prince and Schinkel provided conceptual sketches for the transom-like entrance building with a tower.

The interior is the only unchanged church interior from the Schinkel period in Berlin. Although not designed by Schinkel, it is of great importance in terms of monument preservation. It conveys the spatial impression that Schinkel's numerous new churches (e.g. Nazareth Church, St. Paul, St. Johannis, St. Elisabeth) had before the war destruction .

It is a light red brick building under a flat zinc gable roof , which was built in a north-south direction according to the terrain . The entrance side has a frame structure with sound arcades for bells and an octagonal tower, the onion dome of which was supposed to add a stylistic “Russian” accent, this accentuating function had the shape of the wooden entrance canopy.

Execution and inauguration

The construction work was entrusted to Albert Dietrich Schadow , who started it in 1834. However, the details of the plans dragged on until 1836.

The building and the surrounding facilities were completed on schedule on August 1, 1837. The king determined Sunday on August 13, 1837 for the inauguration, the date being based on the king's travel plan, the return from the cure in Teplitz . The king commissioned Superintendent Daniel Amadeus Neander , who had been holding the honorary title of “bishop” since 1830, to carry out the “ consecration ” on this day , which in turn was to express great importance.

Julius Fintelmann - offspring of the long-established gardening family who left extensive traces on the Pfaueninsel - was appointed the first pastor of the community, and he moved into the new rectory in the village of Klein-Glienicke on March 31, 1837.

Equipment of the church

St. Peter and Paul from the Havel from

The liturgical furnishings of the church are still uniformly preserved from the construction time. On the wooden altar table are an alabaster - crucifix and two candlesticks Angels, before the plain font . The two large candelabra to the side of the altar come from Prince Carl's crypt under the church, like the Christ Head Tondo by Thorvaldsen . The four silver candlesticks are the foundation of an East Prussian refugee family in 1945.

The unusual seeming height of the pulpit is explained by the not particularly excellent box of the royal family on the gallery. On the pulpit there are two mosaic tondi with portraits of the titular saints . These mosaic pictures were a gift from Pope Clement XIII. to Frederick the Great and hung in the Sanssouci picture gallery before Friedrich Wilhelm III. referred them to the new church. The third picture was created by the teacher and sexton Fischer in the 1850s. It is a Christ head after Guido Reni .

The church received one of the latest fittings in 1884 through a testamentary decree of Princess Marie. She had commissioned two copies of statuettes from the Nuremberg grave of Sebaldus . These were the figures of St. Peter and St. Paul in the form that Peter Kaufmann had modeled in 1821 after the Sebaldus grave for the barriers of Schinkel's Berlin Cathedral . Today they are in two niches at the altar.

Bells and chimes

The church received two bells for the inauguration, they were the actual reason for the construction of the church in the forest. The two bells hung in the outer axes of the loggias. While the bell on the left has been preserved, the bell on the right became a victim of the non-ferrous metal collection for the First World War. In 1966 two larger bronze bells were cast. The idea behind this was to be acoustically connected, so to speak, across the Berlin Wall .

The famous carillon of the Potsdam Garrison Church , the only carillon in the Berlin area next to the Berlin Parochial Tower carillon , was destroyed like the Berlin one in the Second World War. In St. Peter and Paul the thought arose to let the carillon sound at least as a can of sound. Alfred Braun arranged for a corresponding recording and so melodies such as Üb 'Always Faithful and honesty sounded over the Havel landscape using a loudspeaker system that was modern at the time .

Even then, this tape recording was not considered appropriate. However, the offer made in 1965 for a modern carillon with costs of over 100,000  marks (adjusted for purchasing power in today's currency: around 203,000 euros) made implementation seem impossible. The tape recording was therefore - technically upgraded - played for another two decades.

In 1984 a new financing model for a corresponding carillon could be designed, half of which was based on donations and the lottery funds. Amazingly, the costs had not increased since 1965. In 1985 the bells were cast in the Netherlands and after the complicated installation in the left loggia the carillon was inaugurated on the 1st of Advent 1985. Since there was no carillon at the Tiergarten at that time and the French Cathedral did not have one, public interest was very high at the time.

History since 1837

In addition to their function as parish church, St. Peter and Paul have served as a kind of court chapel for the von Klein-Glienicke couple since their consecration. This was personally related to the fact that Prince Carl's birthday was on June 29th, Peter and Paul’s Day. During the summer season, the gentlemen regularly attended church services on Sundays and after the king's death in 1840 they felt themselves to be patrons of the church.

After the death of Princess Marie in 1877, Prince Carl had Franz Haeberlin build a crypt under the church based on a design by Reinhold Persius , which had a small access building with a round arched portal from the west side. Princess Marie was buried in the vaulted crypt in 1877, Prince Carl in 1883 and their son Prince Friedrich Karl in 1885. Friedrich Karl's sister Luise followed in 1901, and his wife Maria Anna in 1906.

This crypt was walled up as a result of the looting after the Second World War and multiple break-ins in 1955, but the bars are still visible in the church floor. The two gilded candelabra, which are now placed on the side of the altar, come from the crypt. On the outside of the church, instead of the entrance building of the crypt, there has been the simple extension of the Küsterei (church office) since 1955. Since the chapel in Klein-Glienicke was inaugurated in 1881, the services in St. Peter and Paul have lost significant groups of visitors. Motorization brought more and more excursionists to Nikolskoe after the First World War. The pastors now turned their attention to them: in 1931 the first day-trippers church service was held, and in 1932 the first day-trippers church concert.

Today the evangelical residents of the Pfaueninsel are part of the evangelical parish of Berlin-Wannsee with its two churches, while the evangelical residents of the Potsdam district of Klein-Glienicke receive pastoral care from Babelsberg. St. Peter and Paul, on the other hand, has completely become a “day-trippers church”, which members of other parishes like to use for weddings and baptisms.

Free school and rectory


The free school was part of a small ensemble financed by the government on behalf of the king, which consisted of a school and a rectory. Both buildings were designed by Albert Dietrich Schadow and served both the residents of Klein-Glienicke and the Pfaueninsel. While the church and school were set up halfway between the villages on Nikolskoe, the rectory was built in the village of Klein-Glienicke so that the villagers could celebrate the service in the rectory in extreme weather.

The free school was built as a three-part, light red brick building in the form of an Italianizing fabbrica on the Chaussee to Pfaueninsel and thus set a stylistically southern accent in the Potsdam park landscape.

The teacher on Nikolskoe had to take over the duties of a sexton, for example he was responsible for the tower clock and the chime.

After the last five students had been transferred into the care of the Wannsee Conrad School, the free school was rededicated as a forester's house in 1931. The listed building has been used as a residential building for a long time.


The rectory on Dorfstrasse in Klein-Glienicke (later: Karlstrasse 4, today: Wilhelm Leuschner-Strasse 4) was stylistically similar by Schadow. It is only one-story, but characterized by segment-arched closed windows.



Sketch of the location of the cemetery with the curved access road that has not been laid out, Gustav Kloeber to Lenné, 1837

A few months after the consecration of St. Peter and Paul, the Pfaueninsel cemetery was laid out behind the school property. It is a simple rectangular complex of 72 square rods (1021 m²), which was accessed by a crossroads. It was inaugurated by the sad event of a toddler funeral, that of the one and a half year old son of the servant Mewes in December.

It is a rectangular complex that is accessed by a crossroad. A solitary lime tree was planted in the center. In 1945 the facility was devastated and then only poorly repaired. The modest facility was recently repaired by the garden monument maintenance department and is under the forest administration. The right to be buried in the cemetery is still achieved today by living on Pfaueninsel for 25 years.

Buried people

The Pfaueninsel has symbolized an exotic island since the time of Friedrich Wilhelm II. In the northern tower of the “castle”, for example, an “Othaheitisches cabinet” was set up, which was supposed to simulate a reed hut on Tahiti . Accordingly, the idea of ​​a menagerie made up of exotic animals first came up and this was supplemented by “exotic” people such as “dwarfs”, “giants” and dark-skinned people. These found their final resting place between the "normal" servants of the island.

Grave of Harry Maitey : inscription for himself and his wife

The most prominent grave is the one with the inscription dedicated to the Sandwich Islander Maiteÿ . Harry Maitey was the first Hawaiian to come to Prussia in 1824 and from August 1830 he was assistant to the engineer Franciscus Joseph Friedrich (1790–1873) on Pfaueninsel.

Friedrich, who was honored in detail by Fontane in the Pfaueninsel chapter of the walks through the Mark Brandenburg , was an important engineer as the operator of the first large steam engine in the royal gardens. At 83 he was one of the younger people to be buried in the Pfaueninsel cemetery.

Reinhard Rösner, who initially looked after the palm house on the island as a gardener's assistant for ten years and almost died in the fire in 1880, died at the same age. When he died in 1933, Rösner had worked on the island for 63 years. As a district gardener, Hugo Neubert dedicated 73 years of his life to the Pfaueninsel. He died on May 24, 1983 on his 97th birthday.

The artistically most important gardener who was buried in the cemetery was Gustav Adolph Fintelmann, who died in 1871 at the age of 68 as a young gardener. The Potsdam park landscape owes to him, in addition to the maintenance of older facilities, the artistic advancement of garden art refinements.

Landscaping systems

Site plan of the installations carried out, Lenné, 1837

The area around the site of the church consisted of forest used for forestry. As part of the developing Potsdam park landscape, this was decorated in a park-like manner with clearings and inter-planting. The planning was carried out by Peter Joseph Lenné and was probably implemented by the gardeners of the Pfaueninsel. The horticultural care was continued artistically until the beginning of the 20th century and was most recently carried out by Fritz Weigoldt from Pfaueninsel. Then the plants overran and were only maintained in terms of forestry. Since the 1980s, Lenné's plans have been gradually implemented again.

The decorations included the layout of Chausseen, i.e. the roads on the bank, today's Nikolskoer Weg, Moorlakestrasse and Pfaueninselchaussee.

Site plan of the Nikolskoer Weg, Gustav Meyer, 1848


  • Fritz Schmidt (Ed.): 100 years of Peter and Paul on Nikolskoe . Paul Koch, Berlin 1937.
  • Horst Behrend: St. Peter and Paul on Nikolskoe . Christian magazine publisher, Berlin 1976.
  • Karl Wolff, Wannsee and the surrounding area, Klein-Glienicke's palaces and park, Pfaueninsel, Nikolskoe . Elwert and Meurer, Berlin 1977, pp. 79-85
  • Erika Müller-Lauter, tombs in Berlin IV. Example: The cemeteries in the Zehlendorf district . (Berliner Forum 9/85), Berlin 1985, pp. 77-80.
  • Wilfried Michael Heidemann (Ed.): Evangelical Church of St. Peter and Paul on Nikolskoe 1837–1987. Festschrift for the 150th anniversary . Wichern, Berlin 1987.
  • Andreas Kitschke: Planning and building history of the church . In: Heidemann (ed.): Evangelical Church of St. Peter and Paul on Nikolskoe 1837–1987 , pp. 19–36.
  • Michael Seiler: The landscaping of the area around Nikolskoe . In: Heidemann (Hg): Evangelical Church of St. Peter and Paul on Nikolskoe 1837–1987 , pp. 37–48.
  • Michael Seiler: The Nikolskoe churchyard and the Pfaueninsel . In: Heidemann (Hg): Evangelical Church of St. Peter and Paul on Nikolskoe 1837–1987 , pp. 49–61.
  • Jürgen Wetzel: Zehlendorf . Colloquium, Berlin 1988, p. 108 f.
  • Michael Seiler, Jörg Wacker: Insel Potsdam A cultural and historical companion through the Potsdam park landscape . Nishen, Berlin 1990, pp. 94-100.
  • Eva Börsch-Supan, Dietrich Müller-Stüler: Friedrich August Stüler 1800-1865 . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 1997, pp. 336–338.

Individual evidence

  1. Wilfried M. Heidemann: "Always practice faithfulness and honesty" The Glockenspiel . In: Wilfried M. Heidemann (Ed.): Evangelical Church of St. Peter and Paul on Nikolskoe 1837–1987 . Kirchenkreis Zehlendorf, Berlin 1987, pp. 151–171
  2. ^ Moore, Anneliese: Harry Maitey: From Polynesia to Prussia . In: Hawaiian Journal of History 11 (1977): 125-161

Coordinates: 52 ° 25 ′ 28.2 "  N , 13 ° 6 ′ 58.5"  E