Prussian Grandeur – Charlottenburg Palace and Gardens
Charlottenburg is the largest and most important palace complex in Berlin of the former Brandenburg electors, Prussian kings and German emperors. It was one of the favorite residences of the Hohenzollern family, who over the course of two centuries had individual rooms designed, redesigned and elegantly furnished, while devoting equal attention to the gardens.
After ascending the throne in 1740, Frederick the Great not only commissioned the construction of his renowned Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam, but also had Charlottenburg Palace expanded. Among its highlights are major French paintings and grand festival halls, with the White Hall and the opulent Golden Gallery considered some of the most beautiful Rococo interiors in Europe.
In addition to these more public spaces, two separately situated apartments were created for the artistically inclined king. In these privately used rooms, visitors can view one of the most extensive collections of 18th century French painting outside of France, including masterpieces by Antoine Watteau.
Like his uncle, Frederick the Great's nephew and successor, Frederick William II, also occupied two large suites of rooms in the New Wing: a summer apartment designed in the Chinese and Etruscan styles, and the Neoclassical Winter Chambers. From 1788–91, he had the palace ensemble along the Large Orangery completed with the construction of an independent Theater Building designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans. Celebrations and dinners, as well as prestigious special events (www.orangerie.berlin), are now held in the Orangery amidst an ambiance of Baroque sounds and surroundings.
The king's son and daughter-in-law, Frederick William III and his celebrated wife Luise, also used Charlottenburg Palace as a preferred summer residence. The queen resided in her late father-in-law's Winter Chambers located on the upper floor to the west. Karl Friedrich Schinkel created her elegant bedchamber, a fine example of Prussian furniture design, in 1810. Important early 19th century works of art from the royal collections are presented in Frederick William III's former apartments on the ground floor.
The Crown Treasure and Silver Vault are a special highlight at Charlottenburg Palace. On display are rare and precious tableware made of precious metals, glassware and individual examples from the extensive porcelain dinner service. Particularly striking is the tradition-laden Prussian crown insignia from the 1701 coronation of the first Prussian king, as well as Frederick the Great's snuff boxes studded with precious stones.
Neoclassical and Romantic sculpture exhibited in the vestibule of the New Wing brings to life the heyday of Berlin sculpture.
A compact guide to the palace gardens and their buildings may be ordered here.
Some areas of the palace may be restricted due to urgently required renovation work. We appreciate your understanding.
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