A grand church in ruins and a Prussian Palace

Berlin Travel Blog

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This was our last morning in Berlin. Rob had meetings until mid-day and then we drove to Heidelberg. So, I had the morning to enjoy.


I decided to see a totally different side of Berlin and Germany. I went to the Prussian Palace of Charlottenburg, the largest former residence of the Hohenzollern dynasty, in Berlin.


First I must get some cash and then off to the U-bahn.

I walked past the Ulandstrasse station to the kurfendamertasse station. There is a very large intersection there many shops and cafes. I walked and walked to find a bank. I took a moment as I have ended up at Kaiser-Wilhelm Gedächniskirche. It was built in the 1891 and was badly damaged in the bombing raids of 1943. Its attached chapel was constructed between 1959 and 1963. It has an unusual Cross of Nails which was made from nails in the roof timbers of Coventry Cathedral. This cathedral had been severely damaged in a German air raid in 1940 It is obviously was grand at tome time. It is now a reminder to all, what happened here. There are still magnificent details left. There are bits of mosaics and frescoes but, only just a few spots. There are no windows left that are original to the building. The massive stained glass round area is enormous. The style is neo-romanesque, but from the look you might assume that it was medieval. All but the tower was demolished. The tower was left as a memorial to the fallen. There are 2 concrete block towers. One is tall and slender and the other is shorter and a larger diameter.
They are nicknamed “lipstick and powder box by Berliners. Each has a outer concrete block with an inner glass design. The structures are lit at night for more dramatic effect .


I found an ATM while looking for angles for shots. I rushed over and took out cash. I was then on a mad dash to the U-bahn. Even though it seemed like short distances, the U-ban took 35 minutes.


I got my bearings and started down a street with a center park area that stretched all the way to the Palace.


It was the jewel of the former court of Brandenburg-Prussia. The original name for the original building, before all of the additions, was Leitzenburg and built near the city of Leitzow.

between 1695-1699. It was commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Frederick III of Brandenburg, who in 1701 declared himself “King Frederick I of Prussia. The original structure was seen as insufficient one Charlotte had become Queen. She had fancy French tastes and wanted everyone to know it. So, she hired the foremost Swedish architect to design a three wing palace baroque place showcasing the latest in French taste. She even hired the garden architect that designed the grounds of Versailles.


There was much that was great, coming out of Charolottenburg. Once such example is Frederick III who married Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland. The monarchy and the excistence Prussia would cease to exist in 1918, with the end of World WarII.


I reach the end of the park leading up to the front gate. From a distance, I can tell this is someplace with special feeling and meaning. I rush to make may way in. I’m not sure that I have to be there at a certain time or guided tour or not. I rush in and the answer was no. There is an audio tour for no additional charge (10 euro ticket).


I could talk and talk about the different rooms. I was unable to take pictures, other than the two before I was told to stop. I did buy their guide and will take a couple of the pictures so that you have some samples of the interior. The main house is the essence of Baroque. There were two wings added later. These were not open for viewing at this time but, in the pictures in the book, it looks like she styled the wings in what was in fashion at the time, which was Rococo.

If you are a fan of that style, there are some wow rooms. She added some unique design details for it’s day. The house has an oval room in which half of it projects out into the garden and is all French doors. On the opposing walls mock French doors were fashioned with glass panels in them. It creates and expanded view of the impressive gardens.


The palace was severely damaged in World War II. The roofs were destroyed along with many fireplaces and wall details. There are a few left but, most of the reconstruction was re-apportioned spaces that are used more for a museum like purpose and less maintaining a historic home. This is in sharp contrast with the bottom floor which suffered less damage and has much of its original detail. In many ways the details are impressive, however, there are better examples of Baroque splendor but, I had never seen a Prussian palace. I’m glad that I did and I recommend that, if you enjoy historical homes, you should visit, as well.


After the tour, my time was limited but, I wanted to see the gardens and take a few pictures. There is no passageway between the wings and the rear of the house as in some other grand homes. You have to walk all the way to the end of the wings to get around to the garden. These wings are very long. It takes a good 10 minutes to walk from the front around to the garden center in the back. The garden closest to the house is small by palace standards but uses colored sand to add baroque details to the garden. It’s striking. My time is running out so, I work my way back around to the front but, I take the opposite way around the other wing. It revealed a nice little courtyard garden on that side in the front. I continued around to the front gate, taking a few detail shots along the way. There is a little guard house at the edge of the courtyard garden rich with Baroque design elements.


 I start may walk back to the U-bahn, stopping to take a few wide angle shots of Charlottenburg.

I’m glad I made the effort. I have now seen a Prussian palace, something new for me.


On my way to the U-bahn, I pass a strip of businesses that have closed and the front windows have been painted over with art. It is all loud statements by the artist. The subject matter can be a bit rough. It is thought provoking and isn’t that what art is supposed to do.


I get back to the hotel, get the luggage, and check out. I have to wait in the lobby for awhile. Rob meeting has run long and he has the car key. So, we get a late start to the drive which is 5 ½ hours plus stops.

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photo by: CFD