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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin and the only building in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. It is also called as Schloss Charlottenburg. It is located in the Charlottenburg district of the Charlottenburg Wilmersdorf area. The details of Charlottenburg Palace are explained in World tour guides below. The Charlottenburg palace was built at the end of the 17th century and was greatly expanded during the 18th century. It includes much exotic internal decoration in baroque and rococo styles. A large formal garden surrounded by woodland was constructed behind the palace. In the grounds of the palace various buildings were erected, including a belvedere, a mausoleum, a theatre and a pavilion. During the Second World War the palace was badly damaged but has since been reconstructed. The palace, its gardens and the buildings in the grounds are major visitor attractions.

Charlottenburg PalaceThe original palace was commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg in what was then the village of Lietzow. Originally named Lietzenburg, the palace was designed by Johann Arnold Nering in baroque style. It consisted of one wing and was built in 2½ storeys with a central cupola. The facade was decorated with Corinthian pilasters. On the top was a cornice on which were statues. At the rear in the centre of the palace were two oval halls, the upper one being a ceremonial hall and the lower giving access to the gardens. Nering died during the construction of the palace and the work was completed by Martin Grunberg and Andreas Schluter. The inauguration of the palace was celebrated on 11 July 1699, Fredericks 42nd birthday.

Friedrich crowned himself as King Friedrich I in Prussia in 1701. Two years previously he had appointed Johann Friedrich von Eosander as royal architect and sent him to study architectural developments in Italy and France, particularly the Palace of Versailles. On his return in 1702 Eosander 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. The Orangery was built on west of the palace and the central area was extended with a large domed tower and a larger vestibule. On top of the dome was a gilded statue representing Fortune designed by Andreas Heidt. The Orangery was originally used to over winter rare plants. During the summer months, when over 500 orange citrus and sour orange trees decorated the baroque garden, the Orangery regularly was the gorgeous scene of courtly festivities.

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. It was designed by Andreas Schluter and its construction by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram started in 1701. Friedrich Wilhelm I gave the Amber Room to Tsar Peter the Great as a present in 1716. The palace was badly damaged in 1943 during the Second World War. The garden was designed in 1697 in baroque style by Simeon Godeau who had been influenced by Andre Le Notre, designer of the gardens at Versailles. Godeaus design consisted of geometric patterns, with avenues and moats, which separated the garden from its natural surroundings. Beyond the formal gardens was the Carp Pond. Towards the end of the 18th century a less formal, more natural-looking garden design became fashionable. In 1787 the Royal Gardener Georg Steiner redesigned the garden in the English landscape style for Friedrich Wilhelm II, the work being directed by Peter Joseph Lenne. After the Second World War the garden was restored to its previous baroque style.

The palace and grounds are a major visitor attraction. For an admission charge parts of the interior of the palace are open to visitors, including Old Palace and New Wing. The Old Palace contains many rooms with baroque decoration, and includes a room called Porcelain Cabinet which holds thousands of porcelain objects. The New Wing includes the opulent rococo State Apartments of Frederick the Great and the more modest Winter Chambers of Friedrich Wilhelm II. The formal and informal gardens are freely open to the public. For an admission charge the Mausoleum, the Belvedere and the Neue Pavilion are open to visitors. The Mausoleum contains the graves of, and memorials to, members of the Hohenzollern family.

Charlottenburg PalaceCharlottenburg PalaceA large equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm I is present in the palace courtyard. This was designed by Andreas Schluter and made between 1696 and 1700. From 1703 it stood on the Langen Brucke but was moved to a place of safety in the Second World War. On its return after the war the barge carrying it sunk and it was not salvaged until 1949. In 1952 it was erected on its present site. To the south of the palace are two more museums, the Brohan Museum, which contains art nouveau and art deco articles, and the Sammlung Berggruen, which houses modern art, in particular works by Picasso and Klee.

The Great Orangery was reconstructed on the model of the baroque building which was destroyed during Second World War Today, it shines in its old brilliance again. The light flooded festival room provides a pleasant framework for cultural events, concerts and banquets. Over the centuries the Orangery of Charlottenburg Palace saw lots of illustrious personalities but not only in the past. For instance, Queen Elizabeth II and the Chinese Prime Minister were welcomed in the Orangery lately.

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