Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History
[ source: Wikipedia]
Anyone who has taken a walking tour of the Spree Island with its wonderful museums has seen towering above the cityscape the dome of the Berlin (Berlin vacation rentals | Berlin travel guide) Cathedral. This Protestant church is the largest in the city, and the ecclesiastical history of this site is varied. The history begins in 1465, when the St. Erasmus Chapel, located in the newly built castle of Coelln in the Spree, was elevated to a collegiate church. In 1747, Frederick the Great commissioned Johann Boumann the Elder to build a new Baroque church north of the castle. Within less than a century, the church was significantly renovated. The famous German architect Karl Schinkel was in charge of the renovation, and by 1822, the church had a new neoclassical appearance both inside and out.
Despite the expenditure, the discussion of a new cathedral arose within only a few years. Although Schinkel developed designs for the new Berlin Cathedral, these remained unrealized. The new cathedral was to be built in the Lustgarten, but it was not until the 1880s that work on the new church actually commenced, according to a design by Julius Carl Raschdorff. In 1893, the old cathedral was torn down. The new Berlin Cathedral, built in a baroque-influenced Italian High Renaissance style, was consecrated in 1905.
In its large scale and significance, the Berlin Cathedral was conceived of as a Protestant counterbalance to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The dome rises 114 meters above street level, dominating everything around it. The exterior and interior of the church are decorated with scenes from the New Testament and from the history of the Reformation. At the time of its construction, the Berlin Cathedral was criticized for being too opulent.
World War II exacted a heavy toll on the Berlin Cathedral. In 1940, an air raid resulted in the destruction of the altar windows. Four years later, an incendiary bomb caused a major fire to ravage the structure. A provisional roof was installed in 1948, but the reconstruction of the church first began in 1975. This renovation project was achieved through the joint support of the German Protestant Church and the federal government of West Germany. In 1993, the Sermon Church was reopened for services, and in 2002, the last of the dome mosaics were unveiled.
[ source: wikipedia.org ]
About this Article
This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.
Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).
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