Travel Report: Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin.
April 2013. Planning a city break in Berlin? Even with the German capital’s abundance of sights, you should still try and clear a half-day in your schedule for the magnificent Charlottenburg Palace, a former 17th century royal summer residence. This exquisite baroque structure was built in 1699 and boasts opulent apartments, priceless art, historical treasures and a simply gorgeous stretch of baroque style garden.
April 2013. Charlottenburg Palace was named in honour of Sophie Charlotte, the first Queen consort of Prussia. It was her husband Elector Friederich III who built the place for her and Sophie, a great lover of the arts, used it to host grand national events attended by the most renowned poets, philosophers, musicians and artists of the period. Sadly for Sophie Charlotte, her life was cut short in 1705 at the age of thirty six after she was struck down with pneumonia whilst visiting her mother in the German city of Hanover.
April 2013. While Charlottenburg Palace’s interior is impressive enough, for me the experience was all about the Palace Gardens with their meticulous lawns, grand fountains, colourful flower beds and tree-lined walkways. This is where Sophie Charlotte would come walking with friends and to sit and read poetry when the weather was fine.
April 2013. Sophie Charlotte commissioned the famed landscaper Siméon Godeau to create Charlottenburg Palace Gardens, which were the first French style baroque gardens in Germany. Years after her death, in the late 1780s, the gardens were greatly expanded and the Belvedere Pavilion was added.
April 2013. Belvedere Pavilion was both a lookout point and a tea house. Inside you can work your way up this cool spiral staircase to access Belvedere’s amazing porcelain collection, a kind of Disneyland for tea set enthusiasts. It also functions as an operational teahouse, though it was closed on the day of my visit and seems to keep funny opening times.
April 2013. Charlottenburg Palace Gardens are also home to this impressive neoclassical mausoleum, dating back to 1810. It was built following the death of the hugely popular Queen Luise and was originally intended to exclusively house her marble sarcophagus.
But as the years rolled by, a host of German royals ended up entombed here, including Luise’s husband, Frederik William II, along with Emperor William and his wife Augusta in 1888.
April 2013. It’s free to stroll around Charlottenburg Palace Gardens, but for the palace interior you’ll need a ticket. For the full range of options and varying opening hours, take a look at the official page.
For more on this amazing city, why not dive into my other articles from across Berlin.
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