Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Berlin, Germany

The original Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on the site was built in the 1890s. It was badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1943. The present building, which consists of a church with an attached foyer and a separate belfry with an attached chapel, was built between 1959 and 1963. The damaged spire of the old church has been retained and its ground floor has been made into a memorial hall. The Memorial Church today is a famous landmark of western Berlin, and is nicknamed by Berliners 'der Hohle Zahn', meaning 'The Hollow Tooth'.

Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to name the church in honor of his grandfather Kaiser Wilhelm I. The foundation stone was laid on March 22, 1891, which was Wilhelm I's birthday. The competition for the design was won by Franz Schwechten who planned for a large church to be built in Romanesque Revival style, including 2,740 square metres of wall mosaic. The spire was 113 metres high and the nave seated over 2,000 people. The church was consecrated on September 1, 1895. By this time of the consecration the entrance hall in the lower section had not been completed. This was opened and consecrated on February 22, 1906. In the Second World War, on the night of November 23, 1943, the church was irreparably damaged in an air raid. The church was largely destroyed but part of the spire and much of the entrance hall survived.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1891
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: German Empire (Germany)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Géza Kovács (2 years ago)
Touching scene where you can see what is the real demolution. Nice try the new church. It is very nice from the outside but nothing special from inside, but it is an active church so it has to be like this.
Alex Lorance (2 years ago)
Very impressive architectural design. The true landmark of Berlin. The first monumental building that struck my attention when I started the sightseeing in 2017. The roof paintings are remarkable. The Protestant church nearby has a lot to tell about the church.
Corissa George (2 years ago)
A true beauty to see in person. Just gorgeous. People in & around the building were greatly respectful. So glad we were able to visit it in 2017! The church in ruins is just as gorgeous as the one built in memorial. The history is so rich, wonderful educational moment for our young daughter. Ontario, Canada Visited April 2017
Michelle Burlinson (2 years ago)
The church is an interesting building which was bombed during the war and has been partially restored. The ceilings were truly beautiful and must have been remarkable. There was plenty of information about the church and it’s restoration as you walked round. There’s also a little gift stand where you can buy postcards and posters.
Sai Mahesh VBSV (3 years ago)
This is a peaceful church to visit. There are two parts of the church which are open to public at the moment. One part has over 22750 stained glass windows in both blue and a bit of red. This part of the church is octagonal in shape and has a predominant presence of a suspended figure of Jesus in crucifix form which is a contrasting bright bronze structure on a rich blue background. The image at first sight left me awestruck. There is also a Karl Schuke organ at place which is impressive. Then on the other side of the church, there is a part of the church which was used for weddings and funerals until 1943 when it was damaged severely in bombing. It was since then left as is and is not used for any ceremonies anymore. The tall figure of Jesus, some of the marble work on the walls, the tiled ceiling and floor with designs is impressive. The dome of the church starts damaged and you can actually see it from inside as well as outside. There are images from commencement of church till date pasted on one section of the church. There is also a tower on the outside which is currently under renovation. As a landmark, this church should definitely be visited.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.