Spandau Citadel

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Spandau Citadel
Spandau Citadel, aerial view

Spandau Citadel, aerial view

Creation time : 1557-1594
Conservation status: restored
Place: Berlin-Spandau
Geographical location 52 ° 32 '28 "  N , 13 ° 12' 46"  E Coordinates: 52 ° 32 '28 "  N , 13 ° 12' 46"  E
Spandau Citadel (Berlin)
Spandau Citadel

The Spandau Citadel is one of the most important and best-preserved fortresses of the High Renaissance in Europe. It is located northeast of Spandau's old town on the opposite bank of the Havel in the Berlin district of Haselhorst and is a well-known attraction in the Berlin district of Spandau . The core of the complex is a medieval castle, of which the keep and the palace are still preserved. A fortress was built around it in the years 1559–1594 according to the then current state of the art.

In Spandau there are other structures belonging to the Spandau Fortress, such as Fort Hahneberg in the Staaken district , built in 1886 , the Burgwallschanze and the remains of the Teltower Brückschanze at Schanzenwald / Elsgraben .

History of the Citadel

“Lynarplan” draft for the construction of the citadel, approx. 1578

Archaeological finds show that there was a Slavic fortification on the site of today's citadel in the 11th century.

To protect the nearby residential city of Berlin, the Brandenburg electors had a fortress built near the city of Spandau. In 1557, the preparatory work for construction began. A reinforcement design for the fortress is known from 1560, the year construction began . In 1580 the first occupation with teams took place, in 1594 the fortress construction was completed. In 1620 the rebuilding of the city of Spandau began with ramparts. The fortress was now a citadel. In 1636, Count Adam zu Schwarzenberg , the governor of Brandenburg's Elector Georg Wilhelm , moved the war chancellery to the citadel.

Swedish troops were in 1675 during the Swedish invasion front of the citadel. In 1691 there was an explosion on the Kronprinz bastion, after which it was rebuilt in 1692.

During the war with France the commander of the citadel surrendered on October 25, 1806 without attempting to defend it. Napoleon Bonaparte visited them the next day. At the beginning of the Wars of Liberation in April 1813, when the fortress occupied by French and Polish troops was besieged by an artillery hit by the Prussians, the powder magazine on the Queen's bastion exploded. On April 26, 1813, the French occupation handed the fortress over to the Prussian General August von Thümen for free withdrawal .

The Queen Bastion was restored in 1821. The exterior masonry was faced in its present form in 1885. From 1874 to 1919 parts of the Imperial War Treasure were stored in the citadel.

In 1935 an army gas protection laboratory was set up, in which extensive research was carried out on tabun nerve gas . At the end of World War II , on May 1, 1945, the citadel was handed over to the Soviet troops without a fight . A memorial plaque in the entrance hall of the citadel reminds of this.

Between 1945 and 1948, the British administration of its sector in Berlin was the landlord of the citadel, in which the Spandau Heimatmuseum was opened in the Palas in 1960 . From 1962 to 1976 extensive restoration work took place in the citadel, during which ordnance was searched for and cleared.

The Otto-Bartning-Schule (vocational school for the building trade, later Otto-Bartning-Oberschule as a technical college for building trade, construction and surveying technology) moved to the citadel in 1950. The school stayed here until 1986.

Plans for housing the Berlin Museum of Prehistory and Early History on the Citadel came to nothing when the Wall came down. The Spandau City History Museum has been located in the former armory since 1992. The ground floor houses a permanent exhibition on the history of Spandau; there is room for temporary exhibitions on the upper floor.

The “ Foundation for Conservative Education and Research ” awarded its Gerhard Löwenthal Prize annually from 2004 to 2009 and every two years since 2009 in the citadel at the beginning of December .

Concerts, festivals and other events take place regularly in the Spandau Citadel, for example an annual Medieval Festival , the Citadel Music Festival , which has been held annually since 2005, and a regular historical Christmas market. There are additional exhibition areas and a house with 40 studios for artists and other creative professionals on the site . The Gothic Hall, rooms in the Italian Courtyards and the Old Barracks can be rented as event locations. The registry office also offers weddings in the prince's room of the commandant's house.

Permanent exhibition Unveiled - Berlin and its monuments

An important part of the use since 2016 has been the permanent exhibition Unveiled - Berlin and its Monuments , which was preceded by renovation measures in the former provisions store. In 2009, the Berlin cultural administration approved funding of around six million euros from funds from the Berlin cultural investment program . A similarly high contribution came from the German Lottery Foundation . While the construction work had been decided in advance through a competition in 2010, 26 statues and 40 busts of the former Siegesallee were moved from the Lapidarium in Berlin-Kreuzberg to the citadel in May 2009 . After careful restoration , they have been part of the new permanent exhibition in the warehouse (House 8) since April 29, 2016 (see for details on the Victory Avenue figures in the citadel: List of Figures ). The exhibits in the exhibition also include the head of the East Berlin Lenin memorial , which was demolished in 1991/1992 and was buried in a sand pit on the outskirts of Berlin for 23 years.



Schematic map of the Spandau Citadel:
01 Gatehouse
0 2 Juliusturm
0 3 Palas
0 4 Crown Prince Bastion
05 Brandenburg Bastion
06 Queen Bastion
0 7 King Bastion
08 Cannon Tower
09 Former Barracks
10 Water Gate
11 Italian Courtyards
12 Former Administration
Building 13 Magazine
14 Former Officer's House
15 Former Parade Hall
16 Former Armory
17 Ravelin “Pig's head”
18 Dam and bridge
19 Moat
20 Havel
21 Spandauer See / Krienecke

The architect of the citadel was the Italian Francesco Chiaramella de Gandino , who was replaced in 1578 by Rochus Graf zu Lynar  - also from Italy. Structurally, the citadel corresponded to the ideal of the time. The symmetrically constructed fortress has four bastions that are connected by curtains . The square curtain wall has an edge length of 208 × 195 meters. The arrangement of the bastions meant that there were no blind spots in which attackers could hide.


The gatehouse is in the south curtain and has a drawbridge . It has been moved from the center to the west for the sake of better defense. So it was possible to secure from the left flank of the “König” bastion. In return, the poor subsoil was accepted. In order to master this problem, the method of floating foundation was used for edification. Demolition material and rubble were poured into the digested sludge. Large pieces settled on the bottom and soaked up the moisture. Wooden posts - mostly made of oak  - were rammed onto it, cut square and between 2 and 3.5 meters long. The gatehouse was built on this prepared foundation.

Francesco Chiaramella is credited with designing the gatehouse. As a Venetian , he knew the Porta Nuova city gate in Verona , built by Michele Sanmicheli . The gatehouse in Spandau was a splendid gate that was intended to show those passing by how open-minded the Spandau people were to art.

The current facade on the field side of the gatehouse dates from 1839. The Renaissance facade from the 16th century was damaged when the citadel was bombarded in 1813 and - probably no longer in keeping with the times - removed during renovation work. The new facade was structured in the forms of classicism . For this purpose, the risalit-like extension of the hall from the 16th century was used and a 25 cm thick facade made of Rathenow bricks was placed in front of it. It is emphasized by an arched field with the Brandenburg coat of arms from the time it was built. Having become king in Prussia , Frederick I had the electoral hat over the coat of arms replaced by a royal crown in 1701 . The coat of arms is framed by a band with a buckle, the two black eagles is held and the words Honi soit qui mal y pense carries (the motto of the Order of the Garter ; translated from the Old French : Shamed be he that bad thinking about it 'or' A Rogue, who thinks evil by it '). The royal Prussian eagle is located in the lunette of the entrance .


The plaque at the entrance of the Juliusturm in the Spandau Citadel

The Juliusturm, one of Spandau's landmarks, is 30 meters high. The famous spiral staircase , which was reconstructed in 1964 based on the model of the neo-Gothic staircase from 1843, leads to its top . When you have climbed the 153 steps, you have a panoramic view of Spandau and the surrounding area, as far as Tegel , downtown Berlin and the Grunewald . The time of edification is unknown. According to the building findings, the building material of the base belongs to the 13th century. The wall thickness is 3.6 meters in the basement and 2.3 meters in the upper floor. Serious consequences for the tower were the bombardment of the citadel, which was occupied by Napoleonic troops at that time , by Prussian artillery in 1813 - it burned out. As a result, the top of the wall fell down in 1822. The tower remained without a battlement for 16 years . In 1836 Karl Friedrich Schinkel received the royal order to design a new crenellated wreath. His design, the wreath with 24 battlements, adapts harmoniously to the Gothic building. Due to the inclination of the tower by around 81 cm, the builder Schinkel had to raise the shaft of the wreath on the west side to compensate.

When it was built, the structure was a defensive tower and a watchtower and served as a refuge in the event of danger. At the same time, it could be used as a residential tower . The dungeon was in his basement .

Close up of the vault door of the Juliusturm

The name of the Juliusturm has not yet been clearly identified. On the one hand, the name could be due to a visit by Duke Julius von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1528–1589). On the other hand, in 1356 , Margrave Ludwig the Romans gave his valet Fritz the Thurm office of Spandau. Since Fritz was a Jew , the tower was henceforth called the 'Judenturm'. The name 'Juliusturm', as it has been called since 1400, could have developed from this name.

After the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870/1871, the tower was designated as a storage location for part of the Imperial war treasure from the French war compensation . On July 3rd and 10th, 1874, the portion was packed in 1200 boxes to Spandau and stored there until it was returned in 1919. Because thieves had come through the current entrance in 1842, a safe door was built in in 1910 to protect the Reich War Treasure . It weighs three tons and is one of the thickest safe doors in Berlin.

The hall

When walking through the gatehouse, the Gothic hall building ( Palas ) becomes visible on the left (west) , which was redesigned in Renaissance forms from 1520 to 1523. A conversion to the officers' mess destroyed old structures in 1936. Since 1977 the building has been reconstructed in neo-Gothic forms .

The Palas was the residence of the castle. The sovereigns lived here when they were in Spandau. The interior of the hall was unplastered. The joints between the bricks in the monastery format were incised.

Bastion queen

Over 70 medieval Jewish gravestones dating from the period 1244 to 1474 are exhibited in the Queen's Bastion . These were discovered during excavations in the foundations of the palace and the west building. It is believed that the stones were brought to the citadel in the course of the expulsion of the Jews from Brandenburg and the associated desecration of Jewish cemeteries around 1510. Due to the age of the tombstones, the inscriptions provided important information about Jewish life in the Berlin-Brandenburg region and the construction of the palace. The find is called a collection of European standing . The Queen's Bastion was originally built in the 16th century, after being destroyed in 1813 it was rebuilt in the 19th century.

Bastion King

From the 16th century; oldest component designed by Chiaramella de Gandini. The archaeological window through which the original Spandau Castle is visible is located in the König bastion.

Old barracks

built in 1861, today the Center for Contemporary Art (ZAK)

Italian courts

built in the 16th century, today function rooms for private and other events

Provision magazine

Built in the 16th century, reconstruction from 1814 to 1817. Today the location of the permanent exhibition has been unveiled. Berlin and its monuments . You can see the figures of Siegesallee , the head of the Lenin monument from Berlin-Friedrichshain, as well as other monuments removed from the public.

Parade hall

from the 19th century, today permanent exhibition with guns


The armory dates from the 19th century and was used to store uniforms and weapons. Today permanent exhibition on the history of Spandau. Next to the armory are the remains of an older armory that was destroyed during the Wars of Liberation in 1813.

Use as a prison

The citadel has repeatedly served as a prison for Prussian state prisoners. Some famous prisoners were:

The Spandau Citadel is occasionally mentioned in the media as the prison of Albert Speer and Rudolf Hess , but this is a common mistake. Like other convicted National Socialists , both were not imprisoned in the citadel, but in the Spandau war crimes prison.


Source: Otto Kuntzemüller : Documented history of the city and fortress Spandau , Berlin-Spandau 1928

Habitat for bats

The citadel is one of the most important winter quarters for bats in Europe. In the basement of House 4 you can see Egyptian bats and spectacle-shaped noses in a show enclosure of around 300 m² . Vampire bats that used to be in the catacombs were relocated to the Berlin Zoo . The NABU and the staff of the opened in 2003 bat cellar again organize a yearly bat hard , guided tours are offered.

The citadel in cinema and television films

The citadel was used several times as a backdrop for filming. Among other things, the following films were partly shot on the citadel: The Edgar Wallace films The Avenger (1960), The Witcher (1964) and The Hunchback of Soho (1966). Furthermore, the SFB television film Der Tambour in the early 1980s and the action comedy Gotcha! - A crazy trip from 1984. Konrad Wolf shot the scenes of the citadel's surrender in 1945 in his film I Was Nineteen (1968), but in the GDR . In 2013 parts of the fairy tale film The Girl with the Woods of Suit were shot in the Citadel and in 2017 the fairy tale film The Swineherd . In spring 2019, the Berlin band Rammstein used the “Unveiled” exhibition in the citadel and the Kronprinz bastion to shoot their video Germany .

Surroundings of the citadel

Immediately in front of the south-eastern Queen Bastion, on the other bank, there is the Citadel open-air theater in Berlin Spandau . You can get there by turning right from the path to the citadel before the bridge.

On the right on the way to the citadel, there has been a bronze cast of Ares Ludovisi , a Roman marble copy of a lost, late classical Greek sculpture , since 1964 . The cast had belonged to Hermann Göring's Kunsthort in Carinhall . The figure, of which Frederick the Great also set up a marble copy in the entrance hall of his Sanssouci Palace , is therefore - if by no means unambiguously - associated with Prussian- National Socialist militarism .

See also


  • Thomas Biller: The "Lynar Plan" and the emergence of the Spandau Citadel in the 16th century. (= Historical floor plans, plans and views of Spandau. Vol. 3). Berlin 1981, DNB 820786969 .
  • Daniel Burger : The state fortresses of the Hohenzollern in Franconia and Brandenburg in the Renaissance era (= series of publications on Bavarian regional history, vol. 128), Munich 2000.
  • Daniel Burger: The castles in the Renaissance fortresses of the Electors and Margraves of Brandenburg. In: Stefan Breitling, Christof Krauskopf, Franz Schopper (eds.): Burgenlandschaft Brandenburg (= Berlin contributions to building research and monument preservation. Vol. 10). Petersberg 2013, pp. 164-181.
  • Jürgen Grothe: The Spandau Citadel. Berlin-Edition, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-8148-0097-4 .
  • GSE, Ingenieur-Gesellschaft mbH Saar, Enseleit and Partner (Ed.), Regina Jost (Red.): The Spandau Citadel - Construction and Building. The preservation of a renaissance fortress. Junius, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-88506-472-5 .
  • Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Spandau (Ed.): From Vestungen. The Brandenburg-Prussian fortresses. Spandau, Peitz, Küstrin . Museum Education Service Berlin, Berlin 2001 (Editors: Ralf Gebuhr, Andrea Theissen, Martin Winter).
  • Andrea Theissen, Arnold Wirtgen : Military town of Spandau. Center for Prussian arms production 1722 to 1918. Brandenburg, Berlin 1998.
  • Johann L. Dilschmann: Diplomatic history and description of the city and fortress Spandow. 1784, full view in Google Book Search

Web links

Commons : Zitadelle Spandau  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

References and comments

  1. Citadel Spandau 1813. on
  2. ^ The polite surrender in Spandau. In: Der Tagesspiegel , May 1, 2005
  3. Citadel Spandau - Rockinberlin. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .
  4. Christmas market 2018 in the Spandau Citadel , accessed on January 6, 2019.
  5. ^ Official website of the Citadel Music Festival ; accessed on February 10, 2018
  6. Citadel Berlin
  7. ^ Atelier house
  8. Citadel as a location
  9. ^ Spandau registry office - wedding ceremony in the citadel
  10. Revealed. Berlin and its monuments. on
  11. This is how the Lenin monument is excavated. In: Der Tagesspiegel , September 7, 2015
  12. Coat of arms above the gatehouse
  13. a b Juliusturm & Palas on
  14. ^ Jewish History, Timeline.
  15. Description of the museum parts of the citadel. ( Memento from March 26, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  16. Alois Kaulen, Joachim Pohl: Jews in Spandau - From the Middle Ages to 1945. Berlin 1988.
  17. Citadel Spandau: capital of bats ready for approach. In: Der Tagesspiegel . August 14, 2001.
  18. Fledermauskeller , Berliner Artenschutz Team BAT e. V.
  19. ^ Information from the zoo database. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
  20. ^ Website with details on the bat festival in 2008. Accessed April 2, 2010.
  21. Filming Locations - The Girl with the Brimstone . ( Memento from December 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  22. The Swineherd (D 2017): The longing for the happy ending. Retrieved June 15, 2020 .
  23. Rammstein is now rocking with Lenin on March 22, 2019. At: , accessed on March 30, 2019
  24. Cool when Rammstein discovers Spandau. At: , March 21, 2019, accessed on March 30, 2019
  25. [1] Retrieved March 10, 2018
  26. ^ Information from the Spandauer Volksblatt of April 12, 1964.
  27. A marble copy was again in the possession of Frederick the Great at Sanssouci Palace (see: [2] visa March 21, 2018). The figure is thus linked to the militarism of Prussia and the National Socialists , especially since Hitler was known to be an ardent admirer of the war hero Friedrich II (portrait in the Führerbunker ; further see The old Fritz hung in Hitler's office. In: BZ , March 21, 2018). Friedrich, who suffered traumatically from the cruelty of his wars, and a. that is why he had his retreat "sans souci" (= 'worry-free') built, but must also have addressed the statue's "resting", "thoughtful", "melancholy", that is by no means bellicose attitude, which contemporaries and archaeologists describe in a descriptive manner ( See, for example, on the "thoughtful, melancholy expression" of Ares Ludovisi: Wolfgang Helbig: Guide through the public collections of classical antiquities in Rome (Volume 1): The Vatican Sculpture Collection . The Capitoline and Lateran Museum - Leipzig, 1891. p. 60). On the “Repos” of Ares see: “that characteristic 'Repos' of Ludovisian Mars, that calm posture that was particularly praised by contemporaries - above all Winckelmann ...”, Janzig, Godehard: Art autonomy and defense. On the iconography of Mars in Prussia , in: Mars and the Muses - the interplay between the military, war and art ... , Ed .: Jutta Nowosadtko et al. , Münster 2008, p. 205