Charlottenburg Palace - the largest Hohenzollern residence in Berlin
Location show on map
Luisenplatz 1, Berlin-Charlottenburg, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin, Germany
Date of build
Charlottenburg Palace - the largest Hohenzollern residence in Berlin. The palace is a two-storey structure in the Baroque style with a beautiful façade 505 metres long.
The original building was constructed from 1695 to 1699 by order of Friedrich I Hohenzollern, who gave it as a gift to his wife Sophie Charlotte of Henowitz. Initially the palace was called Lietzenburg, because of the village of Lietzow, where it was built. After Sophie's death, Frederick gave the building a new name - Charlottenburg.
The original version of the palace was completed in just 4 years and consisted of only 1 wing with 2 floors and an ornate dome in the middle. The original façade was also decorated with Corinthian pilasters. The palace was inaugurated on exactly 12 July 1699, Frederick I's 42nd birthday.
The architect drew much of his inspiration from his visit to the famous Palace of Versailles, as he worked to add two massive side wings that ended up enclosing a central courtyard, identical to that of the architect-inspired Palace of Versailles.
The building is a veritable mausoleum for the royal family; it is here that many members of the Prussian royal family are buried. When Charlottenburg became the royal seat of the Hohenzollerns, construction began on a mausoleum for the family in the palace in the 19th century. Eventually, Friedrich Wilhelm III, his wife Queen Louise, his son Prince Albert, his son and first German Emperor Wilhelm I and Wilhelm's wife Queen Augusta were laid to rest here.
In the years that followed, Charlottenburg Palace was used variously by the rulers of Prussia and later Germany. Frederick II the Great extended the building, but after the completion of a similar building in Charlottenburg he visited only occasionally. Friedrich Wilhelm III made the Berlin palace his main residence.
During the expansion of the palace after Frederick's coronation as king, a room with fanciful decorations was designed to be called the 'Amber Chamber'. The room was designed by the architect and sculptor Andreas Schlüter, while the best amber masters from the state were employed to create the decorations. The decorations were mostly made of rather expensive pieces of amber (about 6 tonnes in total) and gold. Although the hall was originally made for the Charlottenburg Palace, it was later moved to the City Palace in Berlin. After a short period, Friedrich Wilhelm's son donated the room to the Russian Tsar Peter the Great, who installed it in the Catherine Palace near St Petersburg.
The orangery was built to grow more than 500 exotic types of plants. After a few years, the baroque garden was decorated with more than 500 citrus trees and sour oranges.
The Orangery was one of the buildings that was destroyed during the Second World War, but it has been completely restored and today houses a restaurant and café.
The original small statue at the top of the building was replaced in the 18th century by a tower with an ornate, gilded statue depicting the goddess Fortuna.
In the courtyard of the palace you can admire the equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm I made by Andreas Schlüter.
During the Second World War, the palace was severely damaged. After reconstruction between 2004 and 2006, it was the temporary seat of the German President.
Today, Charlottenburg is the largest palace in the city and one of the more frequently visited sights in Germany.
The palace is a unique example of Prussian architecture and brilliantly showcases the culture and art of Prussia. Charlottenburg Palace is a must-see for any tourist or visitor to Berlin, admiring its interiors and spectacular Baroque-style architecture.