The Neue Kirche (colloquially Deutscher Dom) was originally built in the 1701-1708 by Giovanni Simonetti after a design of Martin Grünberg. It was the third church in Friedrichstadt, established in 1688, which was a town of princely domination, while the neighbouring old Berlin and Cölln were cities of town privileges. The Prince-Elector originally only provided for a Calvinist congregation, since they - the Hohenzollerns - themselves were Calvinists. But also more and more Lutherans moved in. Therefore in 1708 the New Church became a Calvinist and Lutheran Simultaneum.
The site for the church was disentangled from the so-called Swiss Cemetery, which had been provided for Huguenots, who had come to Berlin between 1698 and 1699 from their intermittent refuge in Switzerland. The original building had a pentagonal groundplan with semicircular apses. The interior was characterised by a typical Protestant combined altar and pulpit leaning against the eastern central pillar opposite to the entrance.
In 1780 Carl von Gontard designed and started the construction of a tower, easterly adjacent to the actual prayer hall. His design of the domed towers, a second one being added to the French Church, followed the Palladian tradition and received the shape of the Parisian Church of Sainte-Geneviève (now the Panthéon), then still under construction by Jacques-Germain Soufflot. The construction of the domed towers aimed at making the Gendarmenmarkt resemble the Piazza del Popolo in Rome. Still under construction the tower of the New Church collapsed. Thus Georg Christian Unger was commissioned to carry out Gontard's plan.
Christian Bernhard Rode created the statues, representing characters from the Old and New Covenant, which are added to the tower. The dome was topped by a statue symbolising the victorious virtue (now a post-war replica). The gable relief depicts the Conversion of Sha'ul Paul of Tarsus. In 1817 the two congregations of the German Church, like most Prussian Reformed and Lutheran congregations joined the common umbrella organisation named Evangelical Church in Prussia (under this name since 1821), with each congregation maintaining its former denomination or adopting the new united denomination.
The coffins of the casualties of the March Revolution at the German Church with its old prayer hall from 1708, painting by Adolph Menzel.The New Church became famous as a place of Prussian history. On 22 March 1848 the coffins of 183 Berliners, who had been killed during the March Revolution, were shown on the northern side of the church. After an Evangelical service within the prayer hall outside an Evangelical pastor, a Catholic priest and a rabbi, one after the other, shortly addressed the audience, before the throng accompanied the coffins to the graves.
In 1881 the dilapidated prayer hall was torn down and Hermann von der Hude and Julius Hennicke replaced it with a new one on a pentagonal groundplan, according to the neobaroque design of Johann Wilhelm Schwedler. Otto Lessing designed the six statues on the attic of the new prayer hall. On 17 December 1882 the new prayer hall was inaugurated.
In 1943 the New Church was almost completely destroyed in the bombing of Berlin in World War II and was subsequently rebuilt from 1977 to 1988. Meanwhile the German government acquired the building and the site. The church building was updated, deconsecrated and reopened in 1996 as the Bundestag's museum on German parliamentary history.
The two congregations of the New Church maintained cemeteries with the two congregations of the neighbouring Jerusalem's Church (another simultaneum), three of which are comprised - with cemeteries of other congregations - in a compound of six cemeteries altogether, which are among the most important historical cemeteries of Berlin. They are located in Berlin-Kreuzberg south of Hallesches Tor (Berlin U-Bahn) (Friedhöfe vor dem Halleschen Tor).References:
The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.
The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.
In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.
In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.
After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.
In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.
In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.