St. Hedwig’s Cathedral

St. Hedwig’s Cathedral
Source:         Photographer: Helga Ewert

A somewhat less known attraction in the city of Berlin is St Hedwig’s Cathedral situated directly behind the state opera on Bebelplatz. It is an ecclesiastical building, used since 1929 as a Catholic church of the Diocese of Berlin.

St Hedwig’s was built in the years 1747- 1773. The architect was Wenzeslaus from Knoblesdorf. The architectural style of the building is reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome. The construction of the church was only possible at that time because Frederick II sought to foster religious tolerance in Prussia and therefore gave his approval for the church to be built.

In the 19th Century St Hedwig’s Cathedral was finally rebuilt several times. The main part of the reconstruction work affected the dome, which due to a lack of technology at the time it was originally built, could not be constructed as had been intended. Hence the original dome started off as a wooden structure which of course could not last very long. Only at the end of the 19th century was a stable long lasting dome created.

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St Hedwig’s Cathedral gained a big reputation during the Second World War. It was at the time, considered a centre of resistance from many Catholics against National Socialism. As a result the then provost Bernhard Lichtenberg - who later died whilst in the custody of the Nazis, became world famous as the figure head of the resistance.

Despite these circumstances St Hedwig’s Cathedral was greatly destroyed by bombing in the Second World War. At the end of the war it was eventually rebuilt and significantly expanded in 1953-63. The dome was then finally made out of solid concrete after having collapsed several times in the decades and centuries before.

Today St Hedwig’s Cathedral with its characteristic and peculiar form presents a kind of secret amongst other destinations in Berlin. This house of God is well worth a visit – not just because of its external appearance, but also because it impresses with its very well maintained fixtures; including a Madonna from the 16th Century.


Adress: Sankt-Hedwigs-Kathedrale, Hinter der Katholischen Kirche 3, 10117 Berlin

Openings: Monday to Friday: 10am - 5pm; Saturday: 10am - 4.30pm; Sunday: 1pm to 5pm

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