What is Berlin Cathedral

Berlin Cathedral – Tourist Information

On the river Spree, which flows in Berlin, there is an island Spreeinsel, which in the Middle Ages was an ordinary swampy meadow, today it is called the Museum. Here are built the popular museums of the capital, as well as the Berlin Cathedral, the largest Protestant church in Germany. It is what we will talk about in our today’s review.

Berlin Cathedral

Photo: Berlin Cathedral

Basic information

If you’ve been to Berlin before, you’ve probably seen the majestic structure with domes of green. The architecture and decoration of the church is reminiscent of St. Peter’s Church, built in the Vatican, and the interior decoration of the religious landmark was worked on by skilled Prussian craftsmen.

Interesting fact! The cathedral in the capital of Germany – is the main residence of the German Evangelical Church, and at the same time the tomb of the royal dynasty.

A visit to the church can be combined with a tour of the capital’s museums, because there are five interesting Berlin sights within walking distance of the cathedral.

View of Berlin Cathedral

The building of the Berlin Cathedral is well known and recognized around the world, largely because of its austere, elegant and green roof. According to the church’s founders and architects, it was meant to be a gathering place for all European Lutherans. Despite Protestant teachings preaching restraint and asceticism, the exterior and interior decoration of the cathedral turned out to be luxurious and rich.

Cathedral hall

  • The construction lasted 11 years, and was completed in 1905;
  • the site where another church in the neoclassical style had previously been located was chosen for the landmark, but since Emperor Wilhelm did not like it, the authorities decided to demolish the building and then build a new cathedral;
  • two German specialists, Otto and Julius Raschdorff, worked on the project;
  • Many tourists note that the rich decoration does not leave a feeling of pressure, every detail wants to be carefully studied and left in memory;
  • Before World War II, the Berlin Cathedral was the tallest building in the capital of Germany – its height was 114 meters, unfortunately, during the war the structure was damaged and today its height is 98 meters;
  • an interesting attraction of the church – the organ, designed by the local master Wilhelm Sauer;
  • the tomb of the Hohenzollern dynasty is located here, so it is asked to be quiet inside;
  • Under the dome there is a platform with one of the best views of the capital;
  • After sightseeing you can take a walk and relax in the Lustgarten Park.

Historical insight

Cathedral facade

If we talk about the history of the Cathedral in Berlin, it is necessary to remember the eternal confrontation between Protestants and Catholics. The irreconcilable rivalry between the two religions was transformed into a real war. That was the main reason for the construction of the Berlin Cathedral – Protestants wanted to outdo the Catholics and build something larger and more monumental than St. Peter’s Church (Vatican).

Interesting fact! The Berlin Cathedral is rightfully considered one of the best Protestant buildings in the world. This fact is recognized by Protestants, as well as representatives of other religions. Today the temple is called a pearl of world architecture.

It should be noted that this cathedral was not, since the capital of Germany had never had representatives of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1930 the first Catholic diocese appeared in the capital.

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Construction work was carried out from 1895 to 1905. After the Second World War the building was badly damaged and after the reconstruction it was reopened only in 1993.

Decoration

Berlin Cathedral Altar

In many historical documents, there is evidence of the fact that King William II liked the cathedral in the capital of Germany very much. The sights are decorated in Baroque style and Silesian granite was used for its construction. A total of 270 steps lead up to the observation deck and on both sides of the main dome are chapels with smaller domes.

The facade of the building with its rich decorations attracts attention; it is decorated with stucco, columns, arches, statues of evangelists made of bronze – such rich architecture evokes a feeling of lightness. Inside, there are many stained-glass windows and pictures on religious themes. Sermons are preached to citizens and guests of Berlin from the pulpit, decorated with carvings.

Words are difficult to convey the splendor of the cathedral. One thing is clear – such rich decoration in no way corresponds to the appearance of traditional Protestant churches. The cathedral in Germany is decorated with marble columns, skilled carving, a gilded altar, a throne of onyx and marble, and polychrome mosaics. The vault is painted with images of the Sermon on the Mount.

Organ in a cathedral

Interesting fact! Above the external and internal appearance of the cathedral worked distinguished German masters – the organ is the creation of Sauer, the mosaics and stained-glass windows created by Anton von Werner, and the main marble altar was preserved from the original cathedral, its author – Frederick Avgst Stuller.

Many visitors to the temple note that the stained glass windows, depicting scenes from the Old Testament, seem as if they are alive. Believers and art lovers will appreciate the beauty of the temple’s decorations, as the paintings adorning the cathedral are rightly considered masterpieces of fine art.

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The organ is more like an entire musical house, admirable in size and design. Its 7,269 pipes provide a deep, beautiful sound. The instrument was created in 1903, and in 1993 it was restored together with the building.

Interesting fact! The Berlin Cathedral organ is the largest church organ in Germany and is mounted on marble pillars for extra strength and sturdiness.

Dome in the Cathedral

Separately it should be noted that the cathedral is the family tomb of the Hohenzollern dynasty. To date, 89 members of the monastic family have been buried in the crypt, but unfortunately, only 70 of them have been preserved. The most magnificent one is the sarcophagus of the Elector of Brandenburg Friedrich Wilhelm I. His wife Dorothea is buried next to him. Also in the crypt are the burials of the Prussian royal families. The sarcophagi for them was created by Andreas Schlueter.

Another amazing detail of the cathedral in Berlin is the observation deck, from here you can enjoy a picturesque view of the boulevard “Under the Limes”, as well as the capital and the park near the temple. The appearance of the park corresponds to the idea of the monarch Karl Friedrich Schinkel – it is a huge lawn, its heart is the fountain.

Interesting fact! Berlin has another historical and architectural landmark associated with the monarchical dynasty – Charlottenburg Palace. Earlier the castle was the royal residence.

Practical information

The temple is open daily:

  • Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m;
  • On Sundays and holidays – from 12-00 to 20-00;
  • From October to April – from 9-00 to 19-00 (on Sundays and holidays – from 12-00 to 19-00).
  • Adult ticket – 7 euros.
  • Tickets for pupils and students – 5 euros.
  • Family ticket – 14 euros.

Berlin Underground scheme

The Cathedral is located at Am Lustgarten, 10178 Berlin. You can reach by public transport:

  • streetcar number M4, M5, M6;
  • bus №100, 200, 248, M4, M48 (stop Alexanderplatz);
  • Subway – lines U2, U5, U8;
  • Suburban electric trains S5, S7, S75.

Official website: berlinerdom.de.

Useful tips

Berlin WelcomeCard

  1. Be sure to listen to the organ, but first, check the schedule on the official website.
  2. In the cathedral there are storage rooms.
  3. Holders of the Berlin Wellcom Card receive a discount on admission ticket.
  4. Ticket offices are not available, to sell tickets there are special machines. You can pay in cash and with bank card.
  5. Toilet in the temple is paid (1 euro), but opposite the Historical Museum, there is a free toilet.
  6. The ascent to the observation deck is quite tiring, so stock up on water and count your strength.
  7. The ticket includes a tour of the cathedral, a visit to the crypt, and an ascent to the observation deck.
  8. To admire the cathedral from all sides, you can take a ride on the river streetcar.
  9. There is an audio guide in Russian.
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In Berlin Cathedral reviews raves, but some opinions are that this attraction is undeserved popularity, it looks too pompous and even bulky. Nevertheless, the temple was loved by the German Kaiser, and about the tastes of the ruler is not worth arguing. In any case, the cathedral is worthy of tourists’ attention, because it is an important religious relic, an historical and architectural monument of Germany.

Detailed tour of Berlin Cathedral.

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Berlin Cathedral

Berlin Cathedral in Germany is a beautiful attraction that attracts thousands of tourists. It is the current and largest Protestant church, which is characterized by beautiful architecture and interior decoration. The Protestant Cathedral itself is a notion incongruous and astonishing. It illustrates the irrepressible ambitions of the last ruler of Germany – Wilhelm II. Located in a very picturesque place in central Berlin, on Museum Island. Its facade overlooks a spacious park with an unusual fountain, where it is possible to make a beautiful photo against the background of the Cathedral.

Construction history

The idea to build a majestic cathedral, which in beauty would surpass the Roman St. Peter’s Church, came even to Kaiser Wilhelm I. The competition, announced in 1867, received 51 works, but the ruler did not like any of them. The plans were frozen for two decades, and in 1888 the architect Karl Raschdorff was commissioned to design and build the memorial structure.

The architect intended to construct a building of three crossed naves, its roof was to be decorated with a huge dome. An elegant bridge was intended to connect the cathedral with the Hohenzollern Palace. This project was completely rejected by William II. The next plan seemed more attractive and after several modifications was approved. The German government allocated 10 million marks for the construction.

In 1893, workers began dismantling the old church and clearing the site, and a year later the construction itself began. As was the custom at the time, a solemn ceremony of laying the first stone was held. The construction was very intense, but still it lasted longer than expected. Officially the construction was completed in 1905. The press applauded the event. Newspapers were full of articles about the magnificent Renaissance and Baroque cathedral.

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The period of the Second World War was fatal for many buildings in Germany. Fate did not spare the Berlin Cathedral either. After the large-scale bombings most of the gravestones and walls were badly damaged. The restoration work lasted almost half a century and was completed by 1993. Since then, services and ceremonies have been held in the cathedral, as well as guided tours for tourists.

Architecture

Although Protestantism is based on simplicity and asceticism, the Cathedral emphasizes monumentality and luxury. The majestic 116 meter tall building makes one feel insignificant before God. Even non-believers are in awe of the cathedral. The natural complement to such a majestic building is its 85 meter dome.

The central and only facade of the cathedral faces south, toward the Lustgarten. Its main place is occupied by a huge arched portal with an 80 meter long portico. The entire surface of the facade is lined with statues, moldings and carvings. Between the columns one can see statues of evangelists and other biblical characters. The sculptures above the portal are by Wilhelm Wiedemann. Allegorical symbols of Truth and Mercy as well as the signs of the alpha and omega (symbols of Jesus Christ) appear before the visitors here. Jesus himself, by Fritz Schaper, is depicted from the doomsday pictures.

On both sides of the facade towers rise above the building. The western peaks are slightly higher than the eastern peaks. The bell tower is to the northwest and consists of new and very old bells. The oldest bell (Vilsnak) was cast as early as 1471. The three doors of the Cathedral are made of bronze and are decorated with reliefs depicting Christ in life and after the resurrection.

The architecture of the Berlin Cathedral is interesting in all seasons and times of day. During the day, the lush greenery of the lawns and the park invites one to relax in nature. And the walls, covered with a patina of antiquity, breathe nobility. If you have an opportunity, it is worth to admire the building at night. Pleasant dim lighting brings the ancient images and mysterious shadows to life.

Interiors

After such a powerful exterior, tourists expect the premises of the Berlin Cathedral to be particularly pompous. But the first thing that strikes is the mass of free space and a sense of lightness. The dome in the main hall gives the impression of floating. Although precious decorations abound, everything is designed in moderation and every detail is in its place.

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On the sides of the benches for the congregation is a colonnade with carved pilasters. The main altar is in the eastern part of the cathedral. It is made of marble by Frederick Augustus Spuller back in 1850. And it is distinguished by its luxurious decoration with gilding.

At the top is the Cathedral’s pride and joy: the organ. It resembles an entire house. The structure of 7,269 pipes spews out beautiful music that caresses the ear and makes the soul tremble. To either side of the organ are the choirs. Above the congregation are sculptures of famous Protestants, fixed on the top of the walls. The majority of elements of the interior are made of white marble and trimmed with gold.

The apses are decorated with skilled mosaics with images of saints. Numerous stained-glass windows fill the light with colors and create a sense of solemnity. Art lovers will enjoy the beautiful pictures on religious themes.

Tourists can climb the long staircase to the roof of the cathedral after seeing all the decorations. From the spacious observation deck offers a surprisingly bright panorama of central Berlin and the river Spree. From this point it is worth taking a few more photos to complete the story of the educational journey.

The Berlin Cathedral also serves as the tomb of the Hohenzollern dynasty. The crypt contains almost one hundred burials of adults and children, so tourists are asked to be quiet and respectful. Some of the sarcophagi are decorated with unusual sculptures with symbolic meaning, which are striking in their artistic value.

Visiting the Cathedral

Every Sunday and on religious holidays, services are held in the cathedral and are open to all comers. Tourists can come here on their own or as part of a group tour. The Cathedral is open according to the following schedule:

  • 9:00-20:00 (Monday through Saturday);
  • 12:00-20:00 (Sundays and holidays).

From October to March, the opening hours are reduced by one hour. Entrance to the main areas of the cathedral costs 7 euros, for privileged categories of citizens – 4 euros. Entrance to the museum, crypt and viewing platform is for a fee. For a small fee, you can use the service “audio guide” in several languages. Check the official website (www.berlinerdom.de) for more details and to track any changes.

How to get there

To reach the Berlin Cathedral, arrive at Am Lustgarten, Berlin. In addition to a car and cab, you can use public transportation:

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