In the center of Berlin on the river Spree, a monumental building with five green domes rises – the Berlin Cathedral. The largest Protestant church in Germany and the resting place of the royal dynasty of the Hohenzoller family is mesmerizing with its beauty and grandeur.
The birth of the temple
The birth of the Berlin Cathedral is associated with the Hohenzoller dynasty and the irreconcilable rivalry between the two religions – Protestants and Catholics. The temple was built by order of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1894-1905 as the main church of Protestants.
The austere and elegant building with a green roof was to become a gathering place for European Lutherans. Berlin Cathedral was simultaneously erected as the court church of the Hohenzollers.
The author of the project, the German architect Julius Raschdorf , was commissioned to create a striking, magnificent and splendid cathedral in response to the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The architect coped with the task: the building, built in the Baroque style, richly decorated, delighted William II.
The cathedral, built of Silesian granite, faces the Lusgarten park with its main facade. The main portal in the form of an arch is framed by powerful granite columns, between which there are bronze statues of the Evangelists: Mark, John, Luke and Matthew. At the edges of the arch are the inclined figures of angels. Above the gates there is a picturesque fresco depicting Christ.
The cathedral building with the original dome height of 114 meters was seriously damaged during the Second World War. After the reconstruction, the height turned out to be 98 meters. The cathedral can accommodate 2,000 people.
On both sides of the main dome there are chapels with smaller domes . The facade of the building is decorated with original stucco, columns and arches. Each window is decorated with the coat of arms of the royal dynasty.
The impressive architecture of the building attracts tourists, with 720,000 visitors annually.
A remarkable detail of the cathedral is the observation deck under the dome, which is reached by a staircase of 270 steps. Above opens a picturesque view of the boulevard “Under the Lindens”, the capital and the park near the temple, in the center of which is a huge lawn with a fountain and a stone bowl weighing 75 tons.
The external massiveness of the building, contrary to expectations, creates a feeling of extraordinary lightness, which is intensified inside the cathedral. The central part of the cathedral is decorated with a large green dome with a diameter of 33 meters. At night, the cathedral is enlivened by a pleasant dim illumination.
There is a huge bright space inside the cathedral. Daylight is refracted by stained glass windows, with scenes from the New Testament. The play of light enlivens what is depicted on them and creates a feeling of solemnity.
The interior is striking with decoration:
- marble columns with carved pilasters,
- carving department,
- a gilded central altar, to which a wide staircase leads.
The altar partition is decorated with figures of the apostles, the altar is made of onyx and marble trimmed with gold.
The domed vault is painted with subjects of the Sermon on the Mount. On the left side of the altar is the pulpit made of oak.
The cathedral is decorated with a church organ , which sounds deep, harmonious and graceful, thanks to 7269 pipes. Created in 1903 and mounted on marble pillars, the organ resembles a large musical house.
The cathedral has excellent acoustics; concerts, including organ concerts, are often held here. The cathedral is the family tomb of the Hohenzoller dynasty. 89 members of the royal family are buried in a crypt, whose tombs are covered with brocade and velvet.
Currently, the temple is maintained at its own expense. The cathedral was inaugurated on June 6, 1993. The cathedral, built almost from scratch after World War II, is under the protection of UNESCO.