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Palace of Charlottenburg

Palace of Charlottenburg (34)

This is the biggest and most beautiful palace building in Berlin. 

It was designed by Johan Arnold Nering and built as a summer palace for Sophie Charlotte of Hannover. However, later, after her husband’s coronation in 1701, it was developed further and converted into the great Versailles-style building you see today. This was carried out by Johan Friedrich Eosander.   

This baroque-style palace contained what was described as the ´eighth wonder of the world`: the Bernsteinzimmer, a room with amber covered walls. But with the death of Frederick I, the Palace of Charlottenburg passed into the hands of King Frederick William I, who gave the amber room to Tsar Peter the Great. The latter wished to make it even larger and this resulted in the central tower and beautiful 48 metre high cupola being added to it.

The design you see today was incorporated in 1790, under the orders of Frederick William II. The building also contained a theatre, which is now a museum, and it was actually this monarch who put it to use most, organising theatrical representations of German classics. 

The castle was the residence of the Prussian kings until the reign of Frederick William IV. When he died in 1861 it was abandoned and became a part of state heritage. During the Second World War it was damaged and underwent restoration work until 1966. 

The sections which make up the Palace of Charlottenburg can be divided into three: the Altes Schloss is the oldest part and contains various rooms and the private quarters of Frederick I and Sophie Charlotte, as well as the library and royal chapel. Then there is the Neuer Flugel, the new wing which houses sections that belonged to Frederick the Great, luxurious rococo style bedrooms like the red chamber and golden gallery, and a ballroom measuring 42 metres in length. Lastly, there is the Schlossgarten, a set of gardens which comprises of 55 hectares of green space surrounding the palace. 

These gardens are English in style and truly spectacular. It really is worth taking the time to stroll through them and discover their small ponds and lakes. As it is free to enter, the inhabitants of Berlin use them in summer to sunbathe and ride their bikes and in winter to walk and ice skate on the main pond. 

But your visit is not finished there, there are more surprises in store.

Among various other buildings to visit we recommend: the “Belvedere” Teahouse, a delicate three-floor tower from 1788 where past monarchs used to read and enjoy music and stimulating conversation. Today it is home to the Porcelain Museum. There is also the Neuer Pavillon, the new pavilion which is a restrained building housing an interesting collection of paintings and 19th century sculptures. Lastly, there is the Mausoleum, the mausoleum of Queen Louise, a Doric-style temple where you can see the marble, Rauch designed sarcophagus of the queen, as well as those of other monarchs. 

You really should not miss out on visiting neither this palace nor its magnificent gardens. And there are so many things to see that we recommend you spend at least a day here.

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