German Cathedral

Whoever likes to visit churches and deal more closely with their history will obtain their money’s worth in and around Berlin.

German Cathedral
Source:         Photographer: Peter Kirchhoff

Countless numbers of religious buildings can be seen in the capital – the most part of which were only rebuilt to their current form after the end of the Second World War.

The reason being that the focus of the bombing raids by the allied forces during this war, was on the former Reich capital Berlin, where the supreme command of the ‘Wehrmacht’ and at times the headquarters of the ‘Fuehrer’, could be found. Berlin thus constituted one of the most targeted goals for the bombing raids of the Second World War through which almost all of the important buildings in the city were partially or even completely destroyed.

This sad fate was also met by the German Cathedral. Originally built in the years 1701-1708 in a baroque style, it posed as a representative building for the Lutheran Church of the Friederichstadt district. Together with the French cathedral and other buildings it was erected on the Gendarmenmarkt, and was later expanded by King Friedrich II with an impressive dome.

German Cathedral
Source:         Photographer: Peter Kirchhoff

This dome connected the German Cathedral with the French Cathedral. The Domed Twin-Church at the Piazza del Popelo in the Italian capital- Rome, served as a template for this structural connection.

Whilst the original church was erected in a baroque-style, its successor was designed in the years 1881 and 1882 according to the features of the meanwhile modern neo-baroque style.

A successor to the church became necessary because the old cathedral became dilapidated and could not be restored with the available resources. Thereupon it was in large part demolished; only the foundations remained and served as a basis on which to build the new Cathedral.

The German Cathedral made the headlines during the March Revolution in 1848. The so called ‘Märzgefallenen’ – the name given to the 183 victims of the revolution, were laid out on the steps of the Cathedral on the 22nd March 1848. After the church service the coffins were carried to the purpose built ‘Cemetery of the Märzgefallenen’ and buried.

In 1943 the German Cathedral was then completely destroyed by the air raids – in particular through targeted incendiary bombs. The ruins of the cathedral survived for almost 40 years before they were rebuilt in the years 1992 to 1996.

In this framework the land on which the German Cathedral stood, was exchanged with another so that the Cathedral has since been a possession of the German State. Since its completion, an exhibition has been on display inside the Cathedral called ‘Milestones - Setbacks - Sidetracks, The Path to Parliamentary Democracy in Germany’.

It was brought to life by the German Bundestag and has since then attracted thousands of visitors each year.


bigger map view

Adress: German Cathedral, Gendarmenmarkt 1, 10117 Berlin

Adress: French Cathedral, Französische Friedrichstadtkirche, Gendarmenmarkt 5, 10117 Berlin-Mitte


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