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Charlottenburg Palace

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Title: Charlottenburg Palace  
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Subject: Featured picture candidates/Charlottenburg Palace, Prince Albert of Prussia (1809–1872), Alexandra Feodorovna (Charlotte of Prussia), William I, German Emperor, Monbijou Palace
Collection: 17Th-Century Architecture, 18Th-Century Architecture, Baroque Architecture in Berlin, Buildings and Structures in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Decorative Arts Museums in Germany, Gardens in Berlin, Historic House Museums in Germany, Houses Completed in 1713, Museums in Berlin, Palaces in Berlin, Prussian Cultural Sites, Rebuilt Buildings and Structures in Berlin, Rococo Architecture of Germany, Royal Residences in Berlin
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Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace
Schloss Charlottenburg
Charlottenburg Palace, front view
Charlottenburg Palace is located in Berlin
Location within Berlin
General information
Status Still standing
Architectural style Baroque, Rococo
Location Berlin, Germany
Construction started 1695
Completed 1713
Design and construction
Architect Johann Arnold Nering

Charlottenburg Palace (German: Schloss Charlottenburg) is the largest palace in Berlin,[1] Germany.[2] It is located in the Charlottenburg district of the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf borough.

The palace was built at the end of the 17th century and was greatly expanded during the 18th century. It includes much exotic internal decoration in baroque and rococo styles. A large formal garden surrounded by woodland was added behind the palace, including a belvedere, a mausoleum, a theatre and a pavilion. During the Second World War, the palace was badly damaged but has since been reconstructed. The palace with its gardens are a major tourist attraction.


  • History 1
    • Palace 1.1
    • Grounds 1.2
    • Burials 1.3
  • Today 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Sources 5
  • External links 6



Statue Friedrich Wilhelm I (der Große Kurfürst) elector of Brandenburg in the cour d'honneur of the palace

The original palace was commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg in what was then the village of Lietzow. Originally named Lietzenburg, the palace was designed by Johann Arnold Nering in baroque style. It consisted of one wing and was built in 2 12 storeys with a central cupola. The façade was decorated with Corinthian pilasters. On the top was a cornice on which were statues. At the rear in the centre of the palace were two oval halls, the upper one being a ceremonial hall and the lower giving access to the gardens. Nering died during the construction of the palace and the work was completed by Martin Grünberg and Andreas Schlüter. The inauguration of the palace was celebrated on 11 July 1699, Frederick's 42nd birthday.[3]

Tea house "Belvedere" in palace garden

Friedrich crowned himself as King Friedrich I in Prussia in 1701 (Friedrich II, known as Frederick the Great, would later achieve the title King of Prussia). Two years previously, he had appointed Johann Friedrich von Eosander (also known as Eosander von Göthe) as the royal architect and sent him to study architectural developments in Italy and France, particularly the Palace of Versailles. On his return in 1702, Eosander began to extend the palace, starting with two side wings to enclose a large courtyard, and the main palace was extended on both sides. Sophie Charlotte died in 1705 and Friedrich named the palace and its estate Charlottenburg in her memory. In the following years, the Orangery was built on the west of the palace and the central area was extended with a large domed tower and a larger vestibule. On top of the dome is a wind vane in the form of a gilded statue representing Fortune designed by Andreas Heidt. The Orangery was originally used to overwinter rare plants. During the summer months, when over 500 orange, citrus and sour orange trees decorated the baroque garden, the Orangery regularly was the gorgeous scene of courtly festivities.

Inside the palace, was a room described as "the eighth wonder of the world", the Amber Room (Bernsteinzimmer), a room with its walls surfaced in decorative amber. It was designed by Andreas Schlüter and its construction by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram started in 1701. Friedrich Wilhelm I gave the Amber Room to Tsar Peter the Great as a present in 1716.[4]

Charlottenburg Palace, Orangerie

When Friedrich I died in 1713, he was succeeded by his son, Elisabeth Christine, who, preferring Schönhausen Palace, was only an occasional visitor. The decoration of the upper floor, which included the White Hall, the Banqueting Hall, the Throne Room and the Golden Gallery, was lavish and was designed mainly by Johann August Nahl. In 1747, a second apartment for the king was prepared in the distant eastern part of the wing. During this time, Sanssouci was being built at Potsdam and once this was completed Frederick was only an occasional visitor to Charlottenburg.[5]

In 1786, Frederick was succeeded by his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm II who transformed five rooms on the ground floor of the east wing into his summer quarters and part of the upper floor into Winter Chambers, although he did not live long enough to use them. His son, Friedrich Wilhelm III came to the throne in 1797 and reigned with his wife, Queen Luise for 43 years. They spent much of this time living in the east wing of Charlottenburg. Their eldest son, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who reigned from 1840 to 1861, lived in the upper storey of the central palace building. After Friedrich Wilhelm IV died, the only other royal resident of the palace was Friedrich III who reigned for 99 days in 1888.[6]

The palace was badly damaged in 1943 during the Second World War.[7] In 1951, the war-damaged Stadtschloss in East Berlin was demolished and, as the damage to Charlottenburg was at least as serious, it was feared that it would also be demolished. However, following the efforts of Margarete Kühn, the Director of the State Palaces and Gardens, it was rebuilt to its former condition,[8] with gigantic modern ceiling paintings by Hann Trier. From 2004 till early 2006, Charlottenburg Palace was the seat of the President of Germany, whilst Schloss Bellevue was being renovated.


Gardens of Charlottenburg Palace

The garden was designed in 1697 in baroque style by Simeon Godeau who had been influenced by English landscape style for Friedrich Wilhelm II, the work being directed by Peter Joseph Lenné. After the Second World War, the centre of the garden was restored to its previous baroque style.[9]

In 1788, Friedrich Wilhelm II arranged for the building of the Belvedere, designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans, in the grounds beyond the Carp Pond. The building was used as a teahouse and as a viewing-tower. Langhans also designed the Palace Theatre, which was built between 1788 and 1791 to the west of the Orangery wing.[10] The Mausoleum was built as a tomb for Queen Luise between 1810 and 1812 in neoclassical style to a design by Heinrich Gentz. After the death of Friedrich Wilhelm III, it was extended; this design being by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. It was extended again in 1890–91 by Albert Geyer to accommodate the graves of Wilhelm I and his wife Augusta.[11] In 1825, Friedrich Wilhelm III added the Neuer Pavilion, an Italianate villa designed by Schinkel, to the north of the palace. This was damaged in the war in 1943 and was reconstructed between 1957 and 1970.[12]



Charlottenburg Palace entrance at night

The palace and grounds are a major visitor attraction. For an admission charge, parts of the interior of the palace are open to visitors, including the Old Palace (Alte Schloss) and the New Wing (Neuer Flügel). The Old Palace contains many rooms with baroque decoration, and includes a room called the Porcelain Cabinet, which holds thousands of porcelain objects. On special display are the crown jewels and the royal silver and fine porcelain tableware. The New Wing includes the opulent rococo State Apartments of Frederick the Great and the more modest Winter Chambers of Friedrich Wilhelm II. The formal and informal gardens are freely open to the public. For an admission charge, the Mausoleum, the Belvedere and the Neue Pavilion are open to visitors.[13] The Mausoleum contains the graves of, and memorials to, members of the Hohenzollern family. The memorial to Queen Luise includes her reclining effigy, which is made from Carrara marble and was designed by Christian Daniel Rauch. Also open to the public are the Belvedere, which contains a collection of Berlin porcelain,[14] and the Neue Pavilion, which houses a collection of arts and crafts of the period when Schinkel was active. The former Palace Theatre is now the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, which is a museum of prehistoric archaeology. The former Orangery houses a restaurant and café.[13] Destroyed during World War II, the Great Orangery was reconstructed on the model of the baroque building. Today, it shines in its old brilliance again. The light-flooded festival room provides a pleasant framework for cultural events, concerts and banquets.

A large equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm I is the focus of the palace courtyard. This was designed by Andreas Schlüter and made between 1696 and 1700. From 1703, it stood on the Langen Brücke (now the Rathausbrücke) but was moved to a place of safety in the Second World War. On its return after the war, the barge carrying it sunk and it was not salvaged until 1949. In 1952, it was erected on its present site.[15] Across the street of the palace are two more museums, the Bröhan Museum, which contains art nouveau and art deco articles, and the Berggruen Museum, which houses modern art, in particular works by Picasso and Klee.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Schloss Charlottenburg". Berlin Tourismus Marketing. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  2. ^ Editorial Fisa Escudo de Oro, S. A. (2006). All Berlin and Potsdam. Barcelona: Editorial Fisa Escudo de Oro, S. A. pp. 67–69.  
  3. ^ Hertzsch 1998, pp. 7–8.
  4. ^ Blumberg, Jess (1 August 2007). "A Brief History of the Amber Room". Smithsonian ( 
  5. ^ Hertzsch 1998, pp. 19–21.
  6. ^ Hertzsch 1998, pp. 22–26.
  7. ^ "Charlottenburg Palace". A View on Cities. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  8. ^ Hertzsch 1998, p. 26.
  9. ^ Hertzsch 1998, pp. 13–17.
  10. ^ Hertzsch 1998, pp. 22–24.
  11. ^ Hertzsch 1998, pp. 25–26.
  12. ^ Hertzsch 1998, p. 27.
  13. ^ a b c Rimmer, Dave, ed. (2006). Time Out: Berlin. London: Ebury Publishing. pp. 109–112.  
  14. ^ "KPM - Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin I Manufacture | Philosophy | Belvedere Palace". Archived from the original on 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  15. ^ Hertzsch 1998, p. 18.


  • Hertzsch, Raimund (1998). Charlottenburg Palace. Peter B. Best (translator). Berlin: Kai Homilius Verlag.  

External links

  • Foundation of Prussian Palaces and Gardens
  • Interactive Panorama: Charlottenburg Palace
  • 360° Interactive Panorama pictures: Great Orangery Charlottenburg Palace
  • Images of Charlottenburg Castle
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