S: Europe June 2012
1: Berlin | Prague | Dresden | Potsdam
2: Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic and fourteenth largest city in the European Union. Situated in the northwest of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus then also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important city to the Hapsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire and after World War I became the capital of Czechoslovakia. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in modern history generally as the principal region in Bohemia and Moravia. Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, most of which survived the violence and destruction of twentieth century Europe.
6: Work on Prazsky hrad (Prague Castle) began in the year 870 and is where the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. It is the biggest ancient castle in the world (according to Guinness Book of Records) at about 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide.
8: Katedrála svatého Víta (Saint Vitus' Cathedral) is a Roman Catholic cathedral and the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. The full name of the cathedral is St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral. Located within Prague Castle and containing the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors, this cathedral is an excellent example of Gothic architecture and is the biggest and most important church in the country. The current cathedral is the third of a series of religious buildings at the site, all dedicated to St. Vitus. The first church was an early Romanesque rotunda founded by Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia in 925. The present day Gothic Cathedral was founded in 1344 but not completely finished until 1929.
14: Tomb of Saint John Nepomucene (1345-1393)
15: Perhaps the most outstanding place in the cathedral is the Chapel of St. Wenceslas, where the relics of the saint are kept. The room was built between 1344 and 1364 and has a ribbed vault. The lower part of the walls are decorated with over 1300 semi-precious stones and paintings about the Passion of Christ dating from the original decoration of the chapel in 1372-1373. The upper part of the walls have paintings about the life of St Wenceslas, created between 1506 and 1509. In the middle of the wall there is a Gothic statue of St. Wenceslas created in 1373. The Chapel is not accessible by members of the public, but it can be viewed from the doorways. Wenceslas I, was the duke of Bohemia from 921 until his assassination in 935, purportedly in a plot by his own brother, Boleslav the Cruel. His martyrdom, and the popularity of several biographies, quickly gave rise to a cult, the Catholic term for a group devoted to someone as a holy person, and a reputation for heroic goodness, resulting in his being elevated to Sainthood, posthumously declared king, and seen as the patron saint of the Czech state.
18: View from the bell tower
22: Golden Lane is a small street in Prague Castle lined by 11 historic houses, dating from the 15th century
23: St. George's Basilica is the oldest surviving church building within Prague Castle. The basilica was founded in 920 and substantially enlarged in 973 with the addition of the Benedictine St. George's Abbey. It was rebuilt following a major fire in 1142. The Baroque facade dates from the late 17th century.
24: Schwarzenberg Palace, built 1567
25: Archbishop's Palace, built 1694
28: Karluv most (The Charles Bridge) is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river. Its construction started in 1357 under King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town and adjacent areas. This "solid-land" connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side.
32: The Lesser Town Bridge Tower (above) was built in the second half of the 15th century. It is connected by a walkway to a smaller tower, Judith's Tower, which is the only remaining part of the original Prague bridge built around 1170 and destroyed by floods in 1342. The Old Town Bridge Tower (Right) is a Gothic tower heralding entrance to the Old Town. It was completed in 1380 and was partially damaged by the failed attempt of marauding Swedes to occupy the Old Town in 1648.
34: The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700.
37: Novy Svet is a picturesque, winding little alley, with facades from the 17th and 18th centuries. It once housed Prague's poorest residents, but now many of the homes are used as artists' studios.
38: The Church of Saint Nicholas is a monumental Baroque church, standing in the center of the Lesser Town Square. It is considered one of the jewels of Baroque architecture in Central Europe. Its construction started in 1703. Completion of the building was delayed for another 50 years due to insufficient funds, the Black Death (1713), and to war events between 1741 and 1744. The bell tower was in the past occupied by a watchman, who observed the surrounding areas watching out for fire. During the communist regime the tower was a secret observatory point for the State police. From this point they could monitor entrances and gardens of neighboring embassies of western countries.
43: Staromestské námestí (Old Town Square) is a historic square in the Old Town quarter of Prague. It Features various architectural styles including the gothic Tyn Church and baroque St. Nicholas Church (one of three St. Nicholas Churches in Prague). In addition to its many churches,the square contains the Astronomical Clock and the Old Town Hall.
46: Prazsk orloj (The Prague Astronomical Clock) was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still working. It is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square. The clock mechanism itself is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; "The Walk of the Apostles", a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months. The background represents the Earth and the local view of the sky. The blue circle directly in the center represents the Earth, and the upper blue is the portion of the sky which is above the horizon. The red and black areas indicate portions of the sky below the horizon. During the daytime, the Sun sits over the blue part of the background and at night it sits over the black. Inside the large black outer circle lies another movable circle marked with the signs of the zodiac which indicates the location of the Sun on the ecliptic. The four figures flanking the clock are set in motion at the hour, these represent four things that were despised at the time of the clock's making. From left to right in the photographs, the first is Vanity, represented by a figure admiring himself in a mirror. Next, the miser holding a bag of gold represents greed or usury. Across the clock stands Death, a skeleton that strikes the time upon the hour. Finally, the Turk tells pleasure and entertainment. There is also a presentation of statues of the Apostles at the doorways above the clock, with all twelve presented every hour.
50: Kostel Matky Bozí pred Tynem (The Church of Mother of God before Tyn) is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.
52: Loreta is a large pilgrimage destination. It consists of a cloister, the church of the Lord’s Birth, a Holy Hut and the clock tower with a famous chime. The construction started in 1626 and the Holy Hut was blessed on March 25, 1631. The chapel is most known for its peal, heard since August 15, 1695. It was constructed during 1694 from thirty smaller and larger bells. Today the building also hosts large collection of liturgical tools, mainly monstrances.
54: Kostel Panny Marie Vítezné (The Church of Our Lady Victorious) was built in 1584. It houses the famous child-Jesus statue, a 16th century Roman Catholic wax-coated wooden statue. Pious legends claim that the statue once belonged to Saint Teresa of Avila and allegedly holds miraculous powers, especially among expectant mothers.
55: Strahovsky kláster (Strahov Monastery),founded in 1149.
56: Josefov is the historic Jewish quarter of Prague. Settled as early as the 10th century it eventually became a walled "ghetto" until Jews were allowed to settle outside the area in 1781. Most of the quarter was demolished between 1893 and 1913 as part of an initiative to model the city on Paris. What was left were only six synagogues, the old cemetery, and the Old Jewish Town Hall. With only six synagogues, the old cemetery, and the Old Jewish Town Hall. After the Nazi German occupation the area was preserved in order to provide a site for a planned "exotic museum of an extinct race" and the Nazis gathered Jewish artifacts from all over central Europe for display in Josefov.
57: Stary zidovsky hrbitov (The Old Jewish Cemetery) lies in Josefov, the Jewish Quarter of Prague. It was in use from the early 15th century (the oldest preserved tombstone dates back to 1439) until 1787. According to Jewish law, Jews must not destroy Jewish graves and in particular it is not allowed to remove the tombstone. This meant that when the cemetery ran out of space and purchasing extra land was impossible, more layers of soil were placed on the existing graves, the old tombstones taken out and placed upon the new layer of soil. This resulted in the cemetery having 12 layers of graves. The numbers of grave stones and numbers of people buried there are uncertain, because there are layers of tombs. However, it has been estimated that there are approximately 12,000 tombstones presently visible, and there may be as many as 100,000 burials.
58: The Spanish Synagogue is a Moorish Revival synagogue built in Prague in 1868. The facade copies the form of the Leopoldstadter Tempel, built in Vienna, Austria, in 1853, a tripartite facade with a tall central section flanked by lower wings on each side. As in Vienna, the central section is topped by a pair of domed turrets. The synagogue is most remarkable for the elaborate style of the interior, every surface is covered by elaborate Islamic-style polychrome and gilded patterns, some painted and some carved or molded. During the Second World War, the Germans used the building as a repository for property taken from the Jews. The building underwent a restoration in the late 1990s.
59: Praha hlavní nádraí (Prague main railway station) is the largest and most important railway station in the Czech Republic. It was originally opened in 1871 and named Franz Josef Station after Franz Joseph I of Austria. During the First Republic and from 1945 to 1953 the station was called Wilson station after former President of the United States Woodrow Wilson. His statue stood in the park in front of the station before being torn down by German authorities when the U.S. entered the war in 1941. In 2010, the station served 132,560 trains and 22 million passengers. The Art Nouveau station building and station hall were built between 1901 and 1909 on the site of old dismantled Neo-Renaissance station. The station was extended by a new terminal building, built between 1972 and 1979, including an underground station and a main road on the roof of the terminal. The new terminal building claimed a large part of the park, and the construction of the road cut off the neo-renaissance station hall from the town. In 2011 a refurbishment of the station was completed which has leased retail space for 30 years from 2002.
63: Národní divadlo (The National Theatre) was opened in 1881 to honor the visit of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. Another 11 performances were presented after that. Then it was closed down to complete the finishing touches. While this work was under way a fire broke out which destroyed the copper dome, the auditorium and the stage of the theater. It was reopened in 1883 after a massive fund-raising campaign.
66: Václavské námestí (Wenceslas Square) is the center of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague. Many historical events occurred there, and it is a traditional setting for demonstrations, celebrations, and other public gatherings. In 1989, during the Velvet Revolution, large demonstrations (with hundreds of thousands of people or more) were held here. Formerly known as Horse Market for its periodic accommodation of horse markets during the Middle Ages, it was renamed in 1848. The square houses the National Museum and Wenceslas Monument.
68: RIGHT: Since the 1980s the John Lennon Wall has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs. The wall was a source of irritation for the communist regime as Young Czechs would write grievances on the wall leading to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on the nearby Charles Bridge. The students' movement was described ironically as "Lennonism" and Czech authorities described these people variously as alcoholics, mentally deranged, sociopathic, and agents of Western capitalism. The wall continuously undergoes change and the original portrait of Lennon is long lost under layers of new paint. Today, the wall represents a symbol of youth ideals such as love and peace. | LEFT: The Dancing House was designed by architect Frank Gehry and built on a vacant riverfront plot (where the previous building had been destroyed during the Bombing of Prague in 1945). The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996. The very non-traditional design was controversial at the time. Czech president Václav Havel, who lived for decades next to the site, had supported it, hoping that the building would become a center of cultural activity. Originally named Fred and Ginger (after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – the house resembles a pair of dancers) the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which Prague is famous.
70: Karlstejn Castle is a large Gothic castle founded 1348 by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor-elect and King of Bohemia. The castle served as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia as well as the Bohemian/Czech crown jewels, holy relics, and other royal treasures. Located about 30 km southwest of Prague above the village of the same name, it is one of the most famous and most frequently visited castles in the Czech Republic.
72: Beef Tartar Kolkovna | Kolkovna Traditional Bohemian Platter - 1/4 duck, Moravian "sparrow”, smoked meat, beer sausage, red and white cabbage, bread, bacon and potato dumplings | Moravian "Sparrow”- Pieces of roast pork with garlic and onion, served with bread and bacon dumpling, red and white cabbage
73: The original Budweiser Bier or Budweiser Bürgerbru, was founded in 1785 in eské Budjovice (Budweis), Bohemia, which at the time (until 1918) was part of the Hapsburg Monarchy. The company began exporting to the US in 1871. In the U.S., Anheuser-Busch started using the Budweiser brand in 1876 and registered it two years later. In most European countries American Budweiser is not labeled as Budweiser but as Bud, and the name Budweiser refers to the original Czech beer
74: Originally a family business, U Fleku was founded in 1499, and therefore celebrated its fifth centenary in 1999. It has been referred to as the oldest brewery in Prague. In 1762 the brewery was bought by Jakub Flekovsk, which gave its current name : U Fleku means in Czech "At the Fleks'".
79: Absinthe is historically described as a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage. It is an anise-flavored spirit derived from botanicals, including the flowers and leaves of grand wormwood, together with green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs. Absinthe traditionally has a natural green color but may also be colorless. It is commonly referred to in historical literature as "la fée verte" (the green fairy).Absinthe originated in Switzerland in the late 18th century. It arose to great popularity in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among Parisian artists and writers. Owing in part to its association with bohemian culture, the consumption of absinthe was opposed by social conservatives and prohibitionists.The Czechs are credited with inventing the fire ritual in the 1990s, possibly due to the fact that Czech absinthe does not louche, which renders the traditional French preparation method useless.
84: Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city center. A controversial Allied aerial bombing towards the end of World War II killed thousands of civilians and destroyed the entire city center. The impact of the bombing and 40 years of urban development during the East German communist era have considerably changed the face of the city. Some restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city. Since the German reunification in 1990, Dresden has regained importance as one of the cultural, educational, political and economic centers of Germany.
86: The first Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) was built in the 11th century in Romanesque architecture. It was outside the city walls and surrounded by a grave yard. This church was torn down in 1727 and replaced by a new church due to capacity requests. The modern Frauenkirche was built as a Lutheran parish church. The original Baroque church was built between 1726 and 1743. In 1736, famed organ maker Gottfried Silbermann built a three-manual, 43-stop instrument for the church. On 13 February 1945, Anglo-American allied forces began the bombing of Dresden. The church withstood two days and nights of the attacks and the eight interior sandstone pillars supporting the large dome held up long enough for the evacuation of 300 people who had sought shelter in the church crypt, before succumbing to the heat generated by some 650,000 incendiary bombs that were dropped on the city. The temperature surrounding and inside the church eventually reached 1,000 degrees Celsius. The dome finally collapsed at 10 a.m. on 15 February. The pillars glowed bright red and exploded; the outer walls shattered and nearly 6,000 tons of stone plunged to earth, penetrating the massive floor as it fell. | 1880 | Stored and catalogued fragments, 1999 | 1945
87: The blackened stones laid in a pile at the center of the city for the next 45 years as Communist rule enveloped what was now East Germany. Shortly after the end of World War II, residents of Dresden had already begun salvaging unique stone fragments from the church and numbering them for future use in reconstruction. Using original plans used in the 1720s, reconstruction finally began in January 1993. The foundation stone was laid in 1994, the crypt was completed in 1996 and the inner cupola in 2000. As far as possible, the church – except for its dome – was rebuilt using original material and plans, with the help of modern technology. The heap of rubble was documented and carried off stone by stone. The approximate original position of each stone could be determined from its position in the heap. Every usable piece was measured and cataloged. A computer imaging program that could move the stones three-dimensionally around the screen in various configurations was used to help architects find where the original stones sat and how they fit together.
88: The altar, a relief depiction of Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives was only partially damaged during the bombing raid and fire that destroyed the church. The altar and the structure behind it, the chancel, were among the remnants left standing.
90: The church was badly damaged during the bombing of Dresden in World War II and was restored during the mid-1980s under the East German regime. Today it is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dresden-Meissen. The cathedral features a carefully restored organ and a Rococo pulpit. | The Katholische Hofkirche (Catholic Church of the Royal Court of Saxony) is a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Dresden. Previously the most important Catholic parish church of the city, it was elevated to cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dresden-Meissen in 1964. It is located near the Elbe River in the historic center. The Hofkirche stands as one of Dresden's foremost landmarks. It was built from 1738 to 1751. The church was commissioned by Frederick Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland while the Protestant city of Dresden built the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) between 1726 and 1743. The Elector decided that a catholic church was needed in order to counterbalance the Protestant Frauenkirche. In the crypt the heart of King August the Strong is buried along with the last King of Saxony and the remains of 49 other members of the Wettin family as well as people who married into the family, such as Princess Maria Carolina of Savoy, wife of Anthony of Saxony.
95: Dresden Castle is one of the oldest buildings in Dresden. For almost 400 years, it has been the residence of the electors (1547–1806) and kings (1806–1918) of Saxony. It is known for the different architectural styles employed, from Baroque to Neo-renaissance. Most of the castle was reduced to a roofless shell during the bombing of Dresden in World War II. However, the collections survived, having been moved to safety at Konigstein Fortress in the early years of the war. For the first 15 years after the end of the Second World War, no attempt was made to rebuild the castle, except to install a temporary roof in 1946. Restoration began in the 1960s with the installation of new windows and has occurred rapidly since then. The castle's restoration is due to be completed in 2013. | 1980 | 1896 | 1550
98: The Fürstenzug (Procession of Princes) is a large mural of a mounted procession of the rulers of Saxony. It was originally painted between 1871 and 1876 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Wettin Dynasty, Saxony's ruling family. In order to make the work weather proof, it was replaced with about 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles between 1904 and 1907. With a length of 335 feet, it is known as the largest porcelain artwork in the world. The mural displays the ancestral portraits of the 35 margraves, electors, dukes and kings of the House of Wettin between 1127 and 1904. The Fürstenzug is located on the outer wall of the Stallhof (Stables Courtyard) of Dresden Castle. Only minimal damage to the tiles resulted from the February 13, 1945 bombing of Dresden.
99: The first opera house at the location of today's Semperoper was built in 1841. The building style itself is debated among many, as it has features that appear in three styles; Early Renaissance and Baroque, with Corinthian style pillars typical of Greek classical revival. Perhaps the most suitable label for this style would be eclecticism, where influences from many styles are used, a practice most common during this period. Following a devastating fire in 1869, the citizens of Dresden immediately set about rebuilding their opera house. They demanded that Gottfried Semper do the reconstruction, even though he was then in exile because of his involvement in the May 1849 uprising in Dresden. Completed in 1878, it was built in Neo-Renaissance style. The building is considered to be a prime example of "Dresden Baroque" architecture. It is situated on the Theater Square in central Dresden on the bank of the Elbe River. On top of the portal there is a Panther quadriga with a statue of Dionysos. Monuments on the portal depict artists, such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, William Shakespeare, Sophocles, Molire and Euripides. In the pre-war years, the Semperoper premiered many of the works of Richard Strauss. In 1945, during the last months of World War II, the building was destroyed again, this time by the bombing of Dresden and subsequent firestorm. Exactly 40 years later, on February 13, 1985, the opera's reconstruction was completed. It was rebuilt to be almost identical to its appearance before the war. The Semperoper reopened with the opera that was performed just before the building's destruction in 1945, Carl Maria von Weber's "Der Freischütz".
100: Augustus the Strong, elector of Saxony, returned from France just at the moment that Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles. On his return to Dresden, he wanted something similarly spectacular for himself. The Zwinger Palace was constructed in stages from 1710 to 1728 and was formally inaugurated in 1719, on the occasion of the electoral prince Frederick August’s marriage to the daughter of the Habsburg emperor, the Archduchess Maria Josepha. At the time, the outer shells of the buildings had already been erected, but it was not until the completion of the interiors in 1728, however, that they could serve their intended functions as exhibition galleries and library halls. The building was mostly destroyed in the bombing of February 13 - 15, 1945. The art collection had been previously evacuated, however. After the war, in a referendum, the people of Dresden voted to restore the building and generally preferred to rebuild the glories of the city, instead of having the ruins razed to make way for the architecture of socialist realism then prevalent in the German Democratic Republic. | 1900 | 2012 | 1945
104: The Kreuzkirche (Church of the Cross) in Dresden, of the Evangelical Church in Germany, is the largest church in Saxony, and home to the Dresdner Kreuzchor boys choir. Known since the early 12th century, it was officially dedicated on 10 June 1388 to the Holy Cross. Since 1491, it has burned down five times. In its current form, it was re-opened in 1955.
109: Dresden Hauptbahnhof is part of the railway system that provides direct connections to Berlin, Prague and Nuremberg. Opening in 1897, it replaced three stations in the south of the city. The station was damaged by the bombing of Dresden starting in February 1945. This was limited in extent until April 1945. The station was repaired after the war. It had suffered significant damage to the train sheds and the glazing that had previously covered the train sheds was replaced by timber. In the postwar era Dresden Hauptbahnhof became one of the important railway stations in East Germany. However, the legacy of wartime damage subsequently compounded by poor maintenance saw the structure deteriorate to the point where remedial conservation was required. Assessments of the structure during its 1997-2006 refurbishment project further revealed that the steel arches of the train shed had even been distorted out of alignment by wartime damage. It was also discovered that the structure had been damaged by corrosion since the war, rendering it unsuitable to carry the weight of a glazed roof and leading architects to use lightweight fabric instead.
110: Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, 15 miles southwest of Berlin city center. It was the residence of the Prussian kings and German Kaisers, until 1918. Around the city there are a series of interconnected lakes and unique cultural landmarks, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany. The Potsdam Conference, the major post-World War II conference between the victorious Allies, was held at another palace in the area. Babelsberg, in the south-eastern part of Potsdam, was a major film production studio before the war and has enjoyed increased success as a major center of European film production since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Filmstudio Babelsberg is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world. Potsdam developed into a center of science in Germany from the 19th century. Today, there are three public colleges and more than 30 research institutes in the city.
112: Sanssouci is the name of the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Potsdam, near Berlin. It is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park. The palace was built between 1745 and 1747 to fulfill King Frederick's need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court. Frederick regularly occupied the palace each summer throughout his lifetime. Frederick died in an armchair in his study in the palace of Sanssouci on August 17, 1786.
116: The New Palace (Neues Palais) is a palace situated on the western side of the Sanssouci royal park. The building was begun in 1763, after the end of the Seven Years' War, under Frederick the Great and was completed in 1769. It is considered to be the last great Prussian baroque palace. In an architectural form, Frederick the Great sought to demonstrate the power and glories of Prussia attributing it as fanfaronade, an excess of splendor in marble, stone and gilt.
117: For the King, the New Palace was not a principal residence, but a display for the reception of important royals and dignitaries. Of the over 200 rooms, four principal gathering rooms and a theater were available for royal functions, balls and state occasions. After the death of Frederick the Great in 1786, the New Palace fell into disuse and was rarely occupied as a residence or entertainment venue.
118: The Chinese House is a garden pavilion in Sanssouci Park. Frederick the Great had it built to adorn his flower and vegetable garden. The garden architect designed the pavilion in the then-popular style of Chinoiserie, a mixture of ornamental rococo elements and parts of Chinese architecture between 1755 and 1764 .
119: The unusually long building time of nine years is attributed to the Seven Years' War, during which Prussia's economic and financial situation suffered significantly.
123: St. Nicholas' Church is an Evangelical church on the Old Market Square. It was built in the years 1830 to 1837. Towards the end of the Second World War the church was hit during the air raid on Potsdam and subsequently badly damaged by Soviet artillery fire. After many years of rebuilding the church was re-consecrated in 1981.
124: Berlin is the capital city of Germany and the country's largest city, with a population of 3.5 million people. Around one third of the city's area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes. First documented in the 13th century, Berlin was the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the Third Reich (1933–1945). Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II, the city became divided into East Berlin—the capital of East Germany—and West Berlin, a West German exclave surrounded by the Berlin Wall (1961–1989). Following German reunification in 1990, the city regained its status as the capital of Germany. The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts, public transportation networks and a high quality of living.
126: The first written records of towns in the area of present-day Berlin date from the late 12th century. The central part of Berlin can be traced back to two towns. Colln is first mentioned in a 1237 document and Berlin, across the Spree, is referenced in a document from 1244. The former (1237) is considered to be the founding date of the city. The two towns over time formed close economic and social ties and eventually merged in 1307 and came to be known as Berlin. In 1435, Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. His successor, Frederick II Irontooth, established Berlin as capital of the margraviate, and subsequent members of the Hohenzollern family ruled until 1918 in | Berlin, first as electors of Brandenburg, then as kings of Prussia, and eventually as German emperors. In 1451 Berlin became the royal residence of the Brandenburg electors, and Berlin had to give up its status as a free Hanseatic city. In 1539, the electors and the city officially became Lutheran. The Thirty Years' War between 1618 and 1648 devastated Berlin. One third of its houses were damaged or destroyed, and the city lost half of its population. Frederick William, known as the "Great Elector", who had succeeded his father George William as ruler in 1640, initiated a policy of promoting immigration and religious tolerance. With the Edict of Potsdam in 1685, Frederick William offered asylum to the French Huguenots. More than 15,000 Huguenots went to Brandenburg, of whom 6,000 settled in Berlin. By 1700, approximately 20 percent of Berlin's residents were | French, and their cultural influence on the city was immense. Many other immigrants came from Bohemia, Poland,and Salzburg. With the coronation of Frederick I in 1701 as king, Berlin became the new capital of the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1740, Frederick II, known as Frederick the Great (1740–1786), came to power. Under the rule of Frederick II Berlin became a center of the Enlightenment. Following France's victory in the War of the Fourth Coalition, Napoleon Bonaparte marched into Berlin in 1806, but granted self-government to the city. The Industrial Revolution transformed Berlin during the 19th century; the city's economy and population expanded dramatically, and it became the main rail hub and economic center of Germany. In 1871, Berlin became capital of the newly founded German Empire. | 1912
127: Along with the Nikolaikirche, the Marienkirche is the oldest church in Berlin. The oldest parts of the church are made from granite, but most of it is built of brick, giving it its characteristic bright red appearance. This was deliberately copied in the construction of the nearby Berlin City Hall, the Rotes Rathaus. Its exact age is not known, but it was first mentioned in German chronicles in 1292 and is presumed to date from earlier in the 13th century. It was originally a Roman Catholic church, but has been a Lutheran Protestant church since the Protestant Reformation. During World War II, it was heavily damaged by Allied bombs. After the war the church was in East Berlin, and in the 1950s it was restored by the East German authorities. Before World War II, the Marienkirche was in the middle of a densely populated part of the district of Mitte, and was in regular use as a parish church. After the war, this area was cleared of ruined buildings and today the church stands in the open spaces around the Alexanderplatz.
128: The original Charlottenburg Palace was commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg. The inauguration of the palace was celebrated on 11 July 1699, Frederick's 42nd birthday. Friedrich crowned himself as King Friedrich I in Prussia in 1701 (Friedrich II - Frederick the Great - would later achieve the title King of Prussia). Two years previously, he sent the royal architect to study architectural developments in Italy and France, particularly the Palace of Versailles. On his return in 1702, work 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. Inside the palace, was a room described as "the eighth wonder of the world", the Amber Room, a room with its walls surfaced in decorative amber. Friedrich Wilhelm I gave the Amber Room to Tsar Peter the Great as a present in 1716. During the Second World War, the palace was badly damaged but has since been reconstructed.
130: The Gendarmenmarkt is a square in Berlin, and the site of the Konzerthaus and the French and German Cathedrals. The center of the Gendarmenmarkt is crowned by a statue of Germany's poet Friedrich Schiller. The square was created by at the end of the seventeenth century as the Linden-Markt and reconstructed in 1773. The Gendarmenmarkt is named after the cuirassier regiment Gens d'Armes, which was deployed at this square until 1773. The Franzsischer Dom (French Cathedral) is the older of the two cathedrals on the Gendarmenmarkt and was built by the Huguenot community between 1701 and 1705. The tower and porticos were added to the building in 1785. | The Deutscher Dom (German Cathedral) has a pentagonal structure which was built in 1708. In 1785 it was modified with the domed tower. The German cathedral was completely destroyed during World War II through fire in 1945. After the German reunification the cathedral was rebuilt and re-opened in 1996 as a museum of German history. The Konzerthaus Berlin is the most recent building on the Gendarmenmarkt. It was built in 1821 and based on the ruins of the National Theater, which was destroyed by fire in 1817. Parts of the building contain columns and some outside walls from the destroyed National Theater. Like the other buildings on this square, it was also badly damaged during World War II. The reconstruction, finished in 1984, turned the theater into a concert hall. | 1900 | 1945
132: The French Cathedral | The German Cathedral
133: Konzerthaus Berlin
134: The Brandenburg Gate is the only remaining gate of a series through which Berlin was once entered. It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace and built from 1788 to 1791. During the post-war Partition of Germany the gate was isolated and inaccessible immediately next to the Berlin Wall, and the area around the gate featured most prominently in the media coverage of the opening of the wall in 1989. | President Kennedy's Visit, 1963 | 1945 | Napoleon in Berlin, 1810 | Pariser Platz, 1945 | Closed off by the Berlin Wall
136: Once a hunting ground of the Electors of Brandenburg the Tiergarten park of today was designed in the 1830s. The beginnings of the Tiergarten can be traced back to 1527. Friedrich I, king from 1657 until 1713, feeling the need to bring change to the hunting grounds, built many structures that are still visible today. As the King was expanding Unter den Linden, a roadway that connected the Berlin Stadtschloss and the Tiergarten, he had a swath of forest removed in order to connect his castle to the newly build Charlottenburg Palace. Up until 1881, the Tiergarten was owned by the monarchy, and came under the direct control of the king. Soon after the king abolished his rights to the forest, he added the boundaries to the district of Berlin, so that the people may use and uphold it.After 1944 the park was largely deforested because it served as a source of firewood for the devastated city. Replanting began in 1949, requiring trees to be flown in during the Berlin Blockade.
138: The Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall) was built between 1861 and 1869 in the style of the north Italian High Renaissance. It replaced several individual buildings dating from the Middle Ages and now occupies an entire city block. The building was heavily damaged by Allied bombing in World War II and rebuilt to the original plans between 1951 and 1956. The Neues Stadthaus, which survived the bombing and had formerly been the head office of Berlin's municipal fire insurance Feuersoziett in Parochialstrae served as the temporary city hall for the post-war city government for all the sectors of Berlin until September 1948. Following that time, it housed only those of the Soviet sector. The reconstructed Rotes Rathaus, then located in the Soviet sector, served as the town hall of East Berlin. After German reunification, the administration of reunified Berlin officially moved into the Rotes Rathaus on October 1, 1991.
139: The Neptune Fountain was built in 1891. The Roman god Neptune is in the center. The four women around him represent the four main rivers of Prussia: Elbe, Rhine, Vistula, and Oder. The fountain was removed from its original location at the Schlossplatz in 1951, when the former Berliner Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace) there was demolished. Eventually, after being restored, the fountain was moved in 1969 to its present location between the St Mary's Church and the Rotes Rathaus.
140: The Berlin Siegessule (Victory Column) is a monument designed after 1864 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War. By the time it was inaugurated on September 2, 1873, Prussia had also defeated Austria in the Austro-Prussian War (1866) and France in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), giving the statue a new purpose. Different from the original plans, these later victories in the so-called unification wars inspired the addition of the bronze sculpture of Victoria, 8.3 metres high and weighing 35 tonnes. Berliners, with their fondness for giving nicknames to buildings, call the statue Goldelse, meaning something like "Golden Lizzy".
141: The Oberbaum Bridge is a double-deck bridge crossing Berlin's River Spree built in 1896. It links Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, former boroughs that were divided by the Berlin Wall. The lower deck of the bridge carries a roadway, which connects Oberbaum Strasse to the south of the river with Warschauer Strasse to the north. The upper deck of the bridge carries Berlin U-Bahn line U1. In April 1945 the Wehrmacht blew up the middle section of the bridge in an attempt to stop the Red Army from crossing it. After the opening of the Wall in 1989, and German reunification the following year, the bridge was restored to its former appearance, albeit with a new steel middle section.
142: One block to the north of the Brandenburg Gate stands the Reichstag building. It was opened in 1894 and housed the parliament of the German Empire until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. This gave a pretext for the Nazis to suspend most rights provided for by the 1919 Weimar Constitution. After World War II, the building fell into disuse, since the parliament of the German Democratic Republic met in the Palace of the Republic in East Berlin and the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany met in the Bundeshaus in Bonn. The ruined building was made safe against the elements and partially refurbished in the 1960s, but no attempt at full restoration was made until after German reunification when it underwent a reconstruction. After its completion in 1999, it once again became the meeting place of the German parliament. | 1945 | 1900
144: Museum Island is the name of the northern half of an island in the Spree river in the central Mitte district of Berlin, Germany, the site of the old city of Colln. It is so called for the complex of five internationally significant museums, all part of the Berlin State Museums, that occupy the island's northern part. | The Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) shows a collection of Neoclassical, Romantic, Biedermeier, Impressionist and early Modernist artwork. Opened in 1886, it is the original building of the National Gallery. It was heavily damaged in Allied air raids. It was partly reopened in 1949, but reconstruction continued until 1969. Between 1998 and 2001, the museum was renovated thoroughly.
145: The Bode Museum was completed in 1904. Closed for repairs since 1997, the museum was reopened on October 18, 2006. It is now the home for a collection of sculptures, Byzantine art, and coins and medals. | The Altes Museum (Old Museum) was built between 1823 and 1830 by the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the neoclassical style to house the Prussian royal family's art collection. Just before the end of World War Two, the museum was badly damaged when a tank truck exploded in front of the museum. The building was the first museum of Museum Island to undergo reconstruction and restoration, which was carried out from 1951 to 1966. | The Pergamon Museum was constructed in twenty years, from 1910 to 1930. The Pergamon houses original-sized, reconstructed monumental buildings such as the Pergamon Altar and the Market Gate of Miletus. The Pergamon Museum was severely damaged during the air attack on Berlin at the end of the Second World War. MIn 1945, the Red Army collected all of the loose museum items, either as war booty or, ostensibly, to rescue them from looting and fires then raging in Berlin. Not until 1958 were most of the objects returned to East Germany. Significant parts of the collection remain in Russia. The return of these items has been arranged in a treaty between Germany and Russia but, as of June 2003, is blocked by Russian restitution laws.
146: The Berliner Dom was built in the Neo-Renaissance style after the original was demolished in 1893. A new building had long been discussed, but the post-Napoleonic poverty made its realization impossible. With no separation of Protestant church and state of Prussia, William II officiated as the summus episcopus (Supreme Governor of the Evangelical State Church of Prussia's older Provinces, as it was named since 1875) and the state paid the complete construction cost of 11.5 million Marks. At 374 feet long, 240 feet wide and 381 feet tall, it was much larger than any of the previous buildings and was considered a Protestant counterweight to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. On February 27, 1905 the present building was inaugurated. In 1940 the blast waves of Allied bombing blew part of the windows away. On May 24, 1944, a bomb of combustible liquids entered the roof lantern of the dome. The fire could not be extinguished at that unreachable section of the dome. So the lantern burnt out and collapsed into the main floor. Between 1949 and 1953 a temporary roof was built to enclose the building. On May 9, 1967 the then still undivided Evangelical Church of the Union decided a committee for the reconstruction of the Supreme Parish and Cathedral Church, then located in East Berlin. The government of the Eastern German Democratic Republic did not oppose the work of the committee due to the concomitant inflow of Deutsche Marks. In 1975 reconstruction started, simplifying the building's original design and tearing down the northern wing (the memorial hall). In 1980 the baptistery and wedding church was reopened for services. The restoration of the main prayer hall was begun in 1984. On June 6, 1993 the big prayer hall was reinaugurated in an event attended by Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and televised nationwide in Germany. | 1900 | 1945 | 1964
151: The Hohenzollern Crypt in the Cathedral of Berlin contains 94 entombments from the end of the 16th century until the beginning of the 20th century. Together with the stately sarcophagi and burial monuments in the sermon church, these document five hundred years of Brandenburg-Prussian burial culture. | During World War II, the Hohenzollern Crypt was damaged by the collapse of the main dome, which was struck by a bomb, and by the ensuing fire. Some coffins were almost completely destroyed.
152: The Humboldt Box houses a model of the city of Berlin around 1900, before more than 70% of the city was destroyed during World War II. After the war most of the city was rebuilt in a vastly different modernist style.
154: Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was built in the 1890s. It was badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1943. The present building, which consists of a church with an attached foyer and a separate belfry with an attached chapel, was built between 1959 and 1963. The damaged spire of the old church has been retained and its ground floor has been made into a memorial hall. | 1953 | 2006 | 1945 | 1906
157: In 1931, the International Olympic Committee made Berlin the host city of the 11th Summer Olympics. Originally, the German government decided merely to restore the earlier Olympiastadion (German Stadium) of 1916, with Werner March again retained to do this. When the Nazis came to power in Germany (1933), they decided to use the Olympic Games for propaganda purposes. With these plans in mind, Hitler ordered the construction of a great sports complex in Grunewald named the "Reichssportfeld" with a totally new Olympiastadion. The Olympiastadion was one of the few buildings that survived not just in a recognizable form, but almost untouched after the Second World War. It only suffered the impact of machine gun shots. The most significant battle around the Olympiastadion was in April 1945 when the Soviet army fought to capture it. This was during the great final battle of the Second World War in Europe, with the total invasion of Berlin as the Allies' target.
158: Sachsenhausen was a German concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany, used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May, 1945. The camp was established in 1936. It was located 35 km north of Berlin, which gave it a primary position among the German concentration camps: the administrative center of all concentration camps was located in Oranienburg, and Sachsenhausen became a training ground for SS officers who would often be sent to oversee other camps afterwards. About 200,000 people passed through Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945. Anchoring the base of the triangular shaped thousand-acre site was an area where tens of thousands of prisoners would line up for morning and evening roll call. Some 30,000 inmates died from exhaustion, disease, malnutrition or pneumonia from the freezing winter cold. Many were executed or died as the result of brutal medical experimentation.
160: The perimeter consisted of a three meter high stone wall on the outside. Within that there was a space which was patrolled by guards and dogs; it was bordered on the inside by a lethal electric fence; inside that was a gravel "death strip" forbidden to the prisoners. Any prisoner venturing onto the "death strip" would be shot by the guards without warning.
161: The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial consists of a 4.7 acres site in Berlin covered with 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. According to the project's text, the slabs are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason.
163: Two hundred meters of the Berlin Wall now forms part of the Topography of Terror Documentation Center. It is one of the few surviving sectors of the Wall in the city. It is the longest standing portion of the outside (West Berlin facing) part of the Berlin Wall. The museum is housed in the remains of the SS and Gestapo buildings and details the history of repression under the Nazi regime.
164: The Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall) was a barrier constructed by East Germany starting on August 13, 1961 that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. Before the Wall's erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin, from where they could then travel to West Germany and other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989, the wall prevented almost all such emigration. During this period, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the wall, with estimates of the resulting death toll varying between 100 and 200. In 1989, a radical series of political changes occurred in the Eastern Bloc, associated with the liberalization of the Eastern Bloc's authoritarian systems and the erosion of political power in the pro-Soviet governments in nearby Poland and Hungary. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on November 9, 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, a euphoric public and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of the rest. The physical Wall itself was primarily destroyed in 1990. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on October 3, 1990. | Fall of the wall, 1989 | 1986 | 1961
166: A row of double bricks marks the former route of the Berlin Wall.
168: Berlin Crisis, 1961 | 1963 | Soviet Watch Tower, 1984 | Fall of the Wall, 1989
169: Checkpoint Charlie was a crossing point in the Berlin Wall located at the junction of Friedrichstrasse with Zimmerstrasse and Mauerstrasse. It is in the Friedrichstadt neighborhood. Checkpoint Charlie was designated as the single crossing point (by foot or by car) for foreigners and members of the Allied forces. During its 28-year active life, the infrastructure on the Eastern side was expanded to include not only the wall, watchtower and zig-zag barriers, but a multi-lane shed where cars and their occupants were checked. However the Allied authority never erected any permanent buildings, and made do with the well-known wooden shed, which was replaced during the 1980s by a larger metal structure, now displayed at the Allied Museum in western Berlin. Their reason was that they did not consider the inner Berlin sector boundary an international border and did not treat it as such.
170: The East Side Gallery is a 1.3 km long section of the Berlin Wall located near the center of Berlin. The Gallery consists of 105 paintings by artists from all over the world, painted in 1990 on the east side of the Berlin Wall. It is the longest contiguous segment of the wall remaining
172: In 1964, Walter Ulbricht, leader of the Socialist Unity Party which governed East Germany, decided to allow the construction of a television tower on Alexanderplatz. It was intended as a show of the GDR's strength and its location is thought to have been deliberately chosen so that it would impose on views of West Berlin's Reichstag building. The Fernsehturm (television tower) was constructed between 1965 and 1969 by the former German Democratic Republic administration who intended it as a symbol of Berlin, which it remains today, as it is easily visible throughout the central and some suburban districts of Berlin. With its height of 368 meters, it is the tallest structure in Germany.
174: Karl-Marx-Allee is a monumental socialist boulevard built by East Germany between 1952 and 1960. Today the boulevard is named after Karl Marx but was originally named Stalinallee between 1949 and 1961. It was a flagship building project of East Germany's reconstruction program after World War II. It was designed to contain spacious and luxurious apartments for plain workers, as well as shops, restaurants, cafés, a tourist hotel and an enormous cinema. The avenue, which is 89 m wide and nearly 2 km long, is lined with monumental eight-story buildings designed in the so-called wedding-cake style, the socialist classicism of the Soviet Union. At each end are dual towers. The buildings differ in the revetments of the facades which contain often equally, traditional Berlin motifs. Most of the buildings are covered by architectural ceramics. On June 17, 1953 the Stalinallee became the focus of a worker uprising in which builders and construction workers demonstrated against the communist government, leading to a national uprising. The rebellion was quashed with Soviet tanks and troops. Later the street was used for East Germany's annual May Day parade, featuring thousands of soldiers along with tanks and other military vehicles to showcase the power and the glory of the communist government. De-Stalinization led to the renaming of the street, after the uncontroversial (in the GDR) founder of Marxism, in late 1961.
175: After World War II Bonn became the capital of West Germany, while East Berlin became the capital of East Germany. After reunification, Berlin once again became the capital of Germany - although it took until 1999 to complete the move. | German Chancellery, built 2001 | Paul Lobe House, built in 2001 for parliamentary offices | Schloss Bellevue, built in 1786 became the president's official residence in 2006
176: Potsdamer Platz developed within the space of little over a century from an intersection of rural thoroughfares into the most bustling traffic intersection in Europe. It has often been stated that the first traffic lights in Continental Europe were erected at Potsdamer Platz in 1924, in an attempt to control the extraordinary level of traffic passing through. Even in 1900, more than 100,000 people, 20,000 cars, horse-drawn vehicles and handcarts, plus many thousands of bicycles, passed through the square daily. By the 1920s the number of cars had soared to 60,000. The trams added greatly to this. | Potsdamer Platz was totally laid to waste during World War II and then left desolate during the Cold War era when the Berlin Wall bisected its former location. After 1990, the square became the focus of attention again, as a large, attractive location which had suddenly become available in the center of a major European city. It was widely seen as one of the hottest, most exciting building sites in Europe, and the subject of much debate amongst architects and planners. | 1920 | 1920 | 1932 | 1945 | 1982
177: The 19 building Daimler-Benz complex opened in Potsdamer Platz in 1998. The Sony center opened next in 2000. Other developments gradually followed.
178: The Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace), was a royal palace in the center of Berlin. The palace bore features of the Baroque style, and its shape was finalized by the mid 18th century, though the palace incorporated earlier parts seen in 1688 by Nicodemus Tessin. It was the principal residence of the Hohenzollern Kings of Prussia from 1701 to 1918 (the German Emperors from 1871 to 1918) and a museum following the fall of the German Empire in 1918. | The end of the war saw the Stadtschloss largely a burned out shell of its former glory, although the building had remained structurally sound and much of its interior decorations still preserved. It could have been restored, as many other bombed-out buildings in central Berlin later were. But the area in which it was located was within the Soviet Union zone, which became the German Democratic Republic. The new Communist regime installed in East Berlin by the Soviet Union, declared the Stadtschloss as a symbol of Prussian militarism. In 1950, the building was dynamited and the rubble of the demolished building carried off to the city suburbs for disposal, where it survives today as a quarry for marbles and architectural elements of the old Stadtschloss. The empty space was then used as a parade ground.
179: In 1964, the GDR built a new Council of State building on part of the site. From 1973 to 1976, during the reign of Erich Honecker, a large modernist building was built, the Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic), which occupied most of the site of the former Stadtschloss. Shortly before German reunification in October 1990, the Palast der Republik was found to be contaminated with asbestos and was closed to the public. After reunification, the Berlin city government ordered the removal of the asbestos, a process which was completed by 2003. In November 2003, the German federal government decided to demolish the building and leave the area as parkland pending a decision as to its ultimate future. | Demolition started in February 2006 and was completed in 2008. In 2007, the Bundestag (German parliament) made a definitive decision about the reconstruction. According to this compromise, three facades of the palace will be rebuilt, but the interior will be a postmodern structure to serve as a cultural-political forum. | The Humboldt Box is a futuristic museum structure built as a temporary exhibition space and viewing platform for the Berlin Palace - Humboldt Forum construction project and to inform the public about its future use. It opened in 2011. After completion of the Humboldt Forum, the structure is slated to be dismantled.