SIGHT­SEE­ING

Cu­ri­ous about the story be­hind the many palaces in Ber­lin, Serene Tseng sets off to dis­cover them.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS -

Set off on the trail of the Ho­hen­zollerns, from Prus­sian kings and their palaces to images of a by­gone era.

The mere ut­ter­ance of their name brings back images of grand palaces built dur­ing a by­gone era. The House of Ho­hen­zollern of Bran­den­burg- Prus­sia came to power in 1415 and pro­duced Prus­sian kings and em­per­ors for the fol­low­ing 500 years, but while the royal fam­ily may have ended their rule af­ter WWI, traces of their in­flu­ence are still ev­i­dent through­out Ber­lin. A fun way to learn about the fam­ily’s his­tory is by vis­it­ing the KPM porce­lain fac­tory mu­seum (p. 36), which traces cen­turies of Ho­hen­zollern his­tory, hand-painted on the porce­lain they had made for their palaces.

As the rul­ing fam­ily, the Ho­hen­zollerns had the means to com­mis­sion many of the palaces in Ber­lin, the most fa­mous be­ing Char­lot­ten­burg Palace. Built in 1695 for So­phie Char­lotte, wife of King Friedrich I, it was meant to be an idyl­lic sum­mer palace, com­plete with beau­ti­ful Baroque and Ro­coco ar­chi­tec­ture, a belvedere, and gar­den. Nowa­days, the palace houses a mu­seum with Ho­hen­zollern ar­ti­facts. Not far from the Schloß is the late-18th­cen­tury Belle­vue Palace, now the of­fi­cial res­i­dence of the pres­i­dent of Ger­many. Sit­u­ated in­side Tier­garten park, its lo­ca­tion gives the cleanly- de­signed palace its name, mean­ing “beau­ti­ful view” in French. In eastern Ber­lin is the Friedrichs­felde Palace, now part of the Tier­park zoo. Sev­eral princes and princesses were born in this late-17th- cen­tury palace, in­clud­ing Louis Fer­di­nand, the grand­son of So­phie Char­lotte. In its later his­tory, the palace was oc­cu­pied by the Red Army af­ter WWII and had a ca­reer change dur­ing the Cold War, serv­ing as a store­house and an­i­mal clinic for the Tier­park. Far­ther south is the Köpenick Palace, the old­est of them all. Built in 1558 as the hunt­ing lodge for Elec­tor Joachim II Hec­tor, this Re­nais­sance cas­tle sits on the foun­da­tions of a 6th- cen­tury Slavic cas­tle. But the most fa­mous of them all is the Schloß Sanssouci in Pots­dam, which was built in the in­tri­cate Ro­coco style for Friedrich the Great as his place of retreat from hec­tic Ber­lin.

"The mere ut­ter­ance of their name brings back images of grand palaces."

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