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The Berliner Dom

Updated: 2 days ago


A photo of the Berliner Dom taken from the Lustgarten in Berlin

 

The First Dom


The origins of a cathedral on the site date back to 1465, with various structures preceding the current building. The first cathedral - or Dom in German - was established when an already existing church called the Erasmus Chapel, located south of the newly constructed Berlin Palace, was transformed into a court church for Joachim II in 1536.


In 1539, Joachim II decided to convert from Catholicism to Protestantism, and as a result, the Catholic Cathedral became a Protestant Cathedral, as it is today. Regarding the name, the term Dom in German denotes a collegiate church, and although not all "Doms" are cathedrals, the term has become synonymous with Cathedral in German.

 

Second Dom


This brick-styled church fell slowly into a dilapidated state until in 1747 Fredrick the Great commissioned a baroque-styled church to replace it. The new church completely replaced the old and was completed in 1750 under the royal favorite architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobeldorff. Come the 19th century and nationalist fervor following the Napoleonic Wars though the Dom was slated for yet another upgrade, this time by the famous Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.


An illustration of the second Berliner Dom on the Lustgarten in Berlin

The second Dom 1821, Wikipedia

 

Completed in 1821, the redesigned cathedral was done in the simple classicism, which ironically enough - though fitting to the times it was constructed - was decided mid-century to be too modest.

 

The Berliner Dom


Fredrick Wilhelm IV. desired a more splendid cathedral, one with twin towers and a three-aisled nave following a more traditional Italian design. The design was completed by Friedrich August Stüler - a student of Schinkel - but due to the Revolution of 1848 and subsequent blocking of the budget, the construction would be delayed for decades.


It would not be until the founding of the German Empire in 1871 that there was a renewal of interest in updating the cathedral. The kick-off came from architect Julius Carl Raschdorff who presented a design in 1885 which was eventually approved by Kaiser Wilhelm II. The foundation stone was laid in 1894 and the cathedral was completed in 1905 with its particular Italian Renaissance and Baroque design.


A colorized photo of the front of the Berliner Dom from the Lustgarten

The Berliner Dom as it looked in 1905, Wikipedia

 

20th Century


Unfortunately, the Berliner Dom would not be standing for very long as it did not escape the devastation of World War II. During the Battle of Berlin in 1945, the cathedral suffered extensive damage from Allied bombing raids. The dome and much of the interior were destroyed, and the cathedral laid in ruins for many years in what then became East Berlin.


But despite the damage caused by the war, the Berliner Dom was not forgotten nor ever torn down completely as a ruin. Over the decades following the War, the cathedral underwent a long restoration process, which only truly began in the late 1980s and post-Unification. The work was completed in 1993, and the Berliner Dom was once again opened to the public.


In recent years, the Berliner Dom has undergone further modernization, with the addition of new lighting, sound, and multimedia installations. Today, visitors to the cathedral can enjoy not only the stunning architecture and artwork but also a range of interactive exhibits, events - like concerts - and of course a great view from atop the dome.

 

Visiting Berlin


Want to add the Berliner Dom to your group trip or team event? Contact Your Trip Berlin or book an obligation-free 30-minute meeting to get your trip started!



 

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Alexander La Rocca


A profile photo of Alexander La Rocca with a park in the background

Alexander La Rocca has been creating experiences for

visitors to Berlin since 2012 when he began in the tourism industry. Having organized and led thousands of tours, trips, and events, he started his own company yourtripberlin.com.


Whether for large groups or company or team events, he offers his expertise to make a trip to Berlin a memorable experience. Visit him at https://www.yourtripberlin.com/ if you are looking for help organizing your visit to the city!

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