Schloss Charlottenburg is an early eighteenth century Baroque palace in Berlin's western Charlottenburg district. The building burned to the ground during the Second World War but has been completely reconstructed.
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin. The original, central part was constructed between 1695 and 1699 as the summer residence for Sophie Charlotte, wife of the Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick III.
The palace, designed by Johann Arnold Nering, was expanded shortly after Frederick became the first Prussian King in 1701 as Friedrich I.
Swedish master Johann Friedrich Eosander von Göthe supervised the expansion, which included the addition of the 48 meter tall cupola and the construction of the orangery at the west wing.
A statue of the goddess Fortuna was placed on top of the cupola.
In 1740 Frederick the Great - king Frederick III - commissioned the expansion of the east wing to complement the longer west wing. It was completed six years later after a design by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff. The palace was hit in 1943 during an allied air raid causing a fire which completely destroyed the building. After the war the palace was meticulously reconstructed.
The interior was just as beautifully reconstructed. The royal rooms are open to visitors, such as the Oak Gallery, paneled with oak and lined with oil paintings. The porcelain gallery, decorated with mirrors, has a fine display of Chinese porcelain. Other interesting rooms include the White Hall, the rococo style Golden Gallery and The Gallery of the Romantics, which has a collection of paintings from the German Romantic period. Also noteworthy is the Schlosskapelle, the completely reconstructed palace chapel.
The park behind Schloss Charlottenburg was originally laid out in French Baroque style. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the park was converted into a less formal, landscaped garden. With the reconstruction of the park after the war, a small part was laid out in French style again.
In the beautiful park you'll find a number of buildings such as the mausoleum, a Doric temple built in 1810 as the burial place for members of the royal family. It contains the sarcophagus of Friedrich Wilhelm II among others.
Another building in the garden is the Belvedere, commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II and built between 1788 and 1790 as a teahouse. Near the palace is the Schinkel pavilion, built by the renowned German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel for king Friedrich Wilhelm III. In front of the pavilion are two columns, topped with statues symbolizing victory.
At the entrance of the palace stands a large equestrian statue of the Great Elector. It was designed in 1698 by Andreas Schlüter and commissioned by king Friedrich I, the elector's son. At the base of the statue are four chained warriors, symbolizing the four temperaments (which stem from the antiquity where they were used to describe personalities).
The statue was originally located in front of the Stadtschloss at the Museum Island
, but during the Second World War the statue was submerged to the bottom of the Tegeler See, a large lake in Berlin. The statue was recovered in 1952 and after a restoration it was moved to the Charlottenburg Palace.