Berlin Travel Tip:
Altes Stadthaus, Berlin
Altes Stadthaus, Berlin
Altes Stadthaus (German pronunciation: [/altɛs stadthaʊs/]; literally: "Old City House" or "Old City Hall"; by function: "Old City Administration Building") is a former administrative building of the city government of Berlin, but currently used by the Senate of Berlin. It faces the Molkenmarkt and bounded by four roads, Jüdenstraße, Klosterstraße, Parochialstraße, and Stralauer Straße. Designed by Ludwig Hoffmann, chief of construction for the city, it was built in 1902–11 at a cost of 7 million marks (US$1,750,000) to supplement the Rotes Rathaus.
The building has five courtyards and features many sculptures of which 29 are mounted on the tower. The tower sculptures are allegorical representations of civic virtues and of Greek deities. A George Wrba sculpture of a bear, the symbol of Berlin, is located in the central great hall, known as the Bärensaal (Bear Hall). Originally called the "Neues Stadthaus" (New City House), it became the seat of the Council of Ministers of the GDR after World War II and a neighboring building became the administration building for East Berlin. The newer building was therefore called the "Neues Stadthaus" and, to avoid confusion, the former one has since been known as the "Altes Stadthaus".
During World War II, the Allied bombing campaign and fierce fighting in the Battle of Berlin caused severe damage to the building; the roof was almost completely destroyed as were the statues above the rear entrance and there was substantial water damage to the building. The statue of the goddess of Fortuna was removed in the first phase of reconstruction in 1951 and is assumed to have been melted in 1962. The remaining statues, urns, and other carvings on the exterior of the building were removed in 1976–77 due to rain damage. The building was completely refurbished in the 1990s and exterior restoration required replacement of some 180 sculptural elements, including the allegorical figures of the virtues, giant vases, window embrasures and one of the columns, with replicas. The original mansard roof was reconstructed in 1998–99.
Tags: Altes Stadthaus, Berlin, Altes Stadthaus (Berlin), Old City Hall
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