About Charlottenburg Palace
Berlin’s largest royal estate, Charlottenburg Palace was built in 1713 as a summer getaway for the first queen of Prussia, Sophie Charlotte, wife of Frederick I.
Noted by many as the most beautiful palace in Berlin, the style of Charlottenburg Palace is predominantly baroque, reflecting the taste during the period when it was first constructed.
The palace was designed by German architect Johann Arnold Nering, and completed by fellow architects Andreas Schlüter and Martin Grünberg following his death. As different cohorts of the royal family resided here throughout the years, each expanded the estate as they saw fit, with varying styles of decoration from baroque to rococo, the latter being seen in the New Wing, built between 1740 and 1742.
The palace houses the most extensive collection of French painting from the 18th Century outside of France, and was once famous for housing the ‘Amber Room’ – a vast room with walls covered completely in decorative amber. The room left the palace when it was given as a gift to strengthen ties between Frederich I and Peter the Great, and was lost after WWII.
The estate is surrounded by stunning gardens, which were designed in 1697. The design of the gardens is in keeping with the baroque style of the main palace, and contains an array of geometric designs, a carp pond and a moat.
During the Second World War, both the palace and the gardens were badly damaged and seemed beyond repair, but due to the astonishing efforts of State Palaces Director Margarete Kühn, both were renovated to their former glory. The palace gardens are home to a number of buildings including the mausoleum, which is home to the remains of Queen Louise, and the Belvedere.
Visitors to the palace today can take part in guided tours through both the Old Palace and the New Wing. Tours guide visitors through the rich family history of Sophie Charlotte, in addition to the property’s extensive collection of artworks. One is able to view the crown jewels, which are on special display, as well as the Belvedere, the Neue Pavilion and the Palace Theatre, which today is used to house an archaeology museum.
The palace stands as a superb example of life for the royal family between the baroque period and the 20th century. Access to the stunning gardens is free, and a walk through them is worth a visit even if you are unable to venture inside the palace itself.