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Throughout the centuries, many churches have stood on the location of the current Berliner Dom. The first one was erected in 1465 for the reigning royal family, the Hohenzollern, and was little more than a chapel at that time. In 1747, it was replaced by a Baroque cathedral designed by Johann Boumann, before being transformed once again in 1822 by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Today's Dom was built between 1894 and 1905 during King Wilhem II's reign. Almost completely destroyed in World War II, the Berliner Dom remained a ruin until restoration work finally began in 1973. Some of the cathedral's highlights include the mosaics covering the cupola, the crypt, the altar and the altar windows. The Dom also houses the graves of over 80 members of the Hohenzollern family. Before leaving, take a look at the huge neo-baroque organ, one of the largest in Germany, and make sure to take in the views from the roof promenade.
Located between the Schlossplatz and the famous avenue Unter den Linden, Schlossbrücke was designed in 1821 by the architect K. F. Schinkel. A creation of Schinkel, this bridge was inaugurated on November 28th, 1823. The beatific sculptures, lined along this bridge clearly depict the development of a hero from early youth over manhood up to death on the battlefield as well as his translation to Olympus. After their destruction in the Second World War, the figures were restored again in 1983. Now Schinkels' masterpiece shows up in its whole beauty and is again a popular subject for photos as formerly. While Schlossbrücke itself is certainly attractive, it is the artwork that accompanies the bridge that receives the most attention.
Located at the heart of Berlin near Museum Island, Art Market at Zeughaus features a collection of contemporary art. All the work showcased here is by professional artists and bargaining is not entertained. The market has been running for more than 20 years and thus is booming in the art scene in Berlin. The place also allows people to get in touch with the artists directly and understand their perspective.
Schlüterhof is the majestic courtyard of the historic Zeughaus. The sprawling lawn was used as a parade ground for the castle's artillery presentations. Christened after noted architect and the castle carver Andreas Schlüter, the courtyard remains famous for the 22 carvings of dying elephantine creatures, which remained unharmed during the World War II bombings. The giants' heads lay above the mighty domed windows and serve as one of the arresting highlights of Schlüterhof.
An impressive exhibition hall designed by the renowned Chinese-US architect Leoh Ming Pei.
Berlin's grandest boulevard stretches east to west for just over a mile between Schlossplatz and the Brandenburg Gate. Originally conceived as a simple riding path between Berliner Schloss palace and the royal hunting ground in Tiergarten, Unter den Linden was transformed into a splendid regal boulevard by the 18th-century Prussian kings. Named after the linden trees which line its median, the road contains many of Berlin's landmark buildings like the Brandenburg Gate, Zeughaus, Kronprinzenpalast, State Opera House and Humboldt University. The Statue of Frederick the Great also sits here; one of Rauch's masterpieces, it depicts the king riding on his favorite horse, Condè, wearing his coronation robes, three-cornered hat, riding boots and holding a stick. Amazingly, the statue took nearly 70 years, 40 artists, and 100 designs to determine the final plan.
An intense debate has been going on for years as to whether the Royal Palace should be reconstructed, and now it finally will be. There are plans to make a hotel out of the Palace, with shops and a business center. Built in 1451, the magnificent palace was the residence of the Prussian royal family for centuries. Badly damaged during the War, the East German administration demolished the building in the 1950s, not because the structural damage was irreparable, but because the palace was a much-maligned symbol of 'imperialism'. The space created was used for the East German equivalent of Red Square, known as Schloßplatz, which is dominated by the Palast der Republik, the closest thing the East Germans had to a parliament. The only part of the palace which survived demolition is the famous portal from which Karl Liebknecht proclaimed a Free Socialist Republic in 1918. The portal was moved a few hundred metres and integrated into the Staastsratsgebäude. Otherwise, visitors can see the foundations, recently unearthed by archaeologists, but they are a poor reminder of what once was.