Charlottenburg Palace (Schloss Charlottenburg), located in the district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, is the largest palace in Berlin and one of the main attractions of the city. It has beautiful gardens that are an invitation to walk.
Charlottenburg Palace was designed in the Baroque style by the architect Johann Arnold Nering and built between the years 1695 and 1699. It was originally called Lietzenburg Castle, because the place where it was built at the time was called Lietzow.
The palace was actually built as a summer house for Sophie Charlotte, the wife of the Prussian Elector Friedrich III, and was much smaller than it is today. Shortly thereafter, in 1701, Friedrich was crowned King Friedrich I of Prussia, making Sophie Charlotte a queen, and the summer house began to be transformed into a palace more in keeping with the royal couple.
The architect Eosander von Göthe was hired and the palace began to be enlarged in the style of the Palace of Versailles in France. The palace was extended on both sides and two wings were added around the courtyard. After the death of Queen Sophie Charlotte in 1705, the palace and the village where it is located were renamed in her honor.
In the following years, expansion work continued and the Orangery was built to the west of the palace and the dome was added. After the death of King Frederick I in 1713, the extension work was interrupted.
It was not until 1740, during the reign of King Friedrich II – “The Great”, who made the palace his residence, that expansion work was resumed. Thus, under the supervision of the architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, a new wing on the east side was built between the years 1740 and 1746.
After almost a hundred years of construction and extensions, the palace got its last element in 1791, the palace theater, designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans.
After Charlottenburg Palace was severely damaged during World War II, it took over two decades to restore it.
Today, the palace functions as a museum and the Altes Schloss (old palace) and Neuer Flügel (new wing) parts are open to visitors. Among other things, you can see the bedrooms of King Frederick I and his wife, Queen Sophie Charlotte; the Porzellankabinett, where many porcelain objects are displayed; the Goldene Galerie, a richly decorated ballroom.
In addition, the Neuer Pavillon (New Pavilion), the Belvedere and the Mausoleum can also be visited from the inside. The New Pavilion, which is located right next to the palace, houses a collection of art, sculptures and furniture.
In the Mausoleum are the tombs of members of the Hohenzollern royal family, including Queen Luise and Emperor Wilhelm I. In the Belvedere, a small rococo building that served as a tea room, there is an exhibition of porcelain from the KPM factory.
It is worth mentioning that most of the palaces are located outside of Berlin, i.e. a bit far from Charlottenburg Palace, which makes it difficult to see a lot in one day. But depending on which parts of Charlottenburg Palace you want to visit.
Even if you don’t want to see the inside of the palace, I think a visit to the outside is worth it. Not only are the buildings beautiful, but the palace gardens are also gorgeous. And the access is free.
It’s actually a park, called the Charlottenburg Palace Park (Schlosspark Charlottenburg), which starts right behind the palace and extends to the banks of the Spree River. Right behind the palace you can see the beautiful baroque garden with its geometric shapes surrounded by flowers.
The back of the park is covered with more dense vegetation. There is also a lake, canals, several paths and trails and a large lawn, perfect for playing, having fun or just lying down and relaxing.
Valid: 01.01.2021 – 31.12.2021: all year round, every day, from 8 am to dusk.
How to get there:
Price: €17 / reduced rate €13 (free: children under 7).
Address: Spandauer Damm 10-22 Charlottenburg, 14059 Berlin
S-Bahn: Lines S41 and S42, station Westend
U-Bahn: Line U2, station Sophie-Charlotte-Platz; Line U7, station Richard-Wagner-Platz