Charlottenburg Palace Berlin: Tour the only royal palace in Berlin.
It all starts at the very end of the 17th century. Somewhere in Brandenburg. Still not Prussia. Prince-elector Frederick III (later on to become Frederick I in Prussia after crowning himself) has a special present for his second wife, Sophie Charlotte of Hannover. The present is a little palace in Caputh, near Potsdam, that used to belong to his step mother, Dorothea von Holstein-Glücksburg. However, Sophie Charlotte didn’t like the mansion too much: too far away and full of memorabilia which, after all, were not hers.
Sophie Charlotte is very grateful for the residence, but politely returns it to her husband. Frederick III then, to keep her happy, comes up with a wonderful new idea: Sophie Charlotte can have a little village nearby Berlin, called Lietzow. With a Prussian mile (7.5 km) it is not too far from the main palace of the family (on what would later be called Museum Island in Berlin) and Sophie Charlotte can design her own little pleasure home and especially have a huge garden made to her taste – which is what she really yearned for. And thus starts the story of the Palace of Lietzenburg, after her death called Palace of Charlottenburg, to honor the woman who together with philosophers, scientists and artist entertained one of the finest societies to have existed in Europe at the time.
Enjoy on this private visit the pomp and all the splendor of a royal palace and come along on a visit of the old Parade Apartments of the first King and Queen of Prussia at Charlottenburg Palace. After all, since the savage and ill-advised destruction of the city palace on Museum Island in 1950, Charlottenburg Palace is the only royal residence left in Berlin.
Designed merely to enjoy the vast garden that was designed as a French style barocke garden by the student of Versaille’s head gardener Le Notre, Siméon Godeau, the palace started its existence in 1695. Soon after the self-coronation of the then Prince-elector of Brandenburg, Frederick III, to become the first Prussian King Frederick I, the palace underwent drastic changes to resemble even more Versailles: the narrative of the sun as a metaphor for the ruler is still to be found in one of the most lavishly decorated of all rooms: the Porcelain Cabinet.
The palace was used by all members of the Hohenzollern family and underwent various changes. Frederick the Great added the last impressive piece, called the New Wing, where the breathtaking depth of the so-called Frederician Rococo reached its apex. In addition to the interior decoration, meticulously recreated, the rooms exhibit the old furniture and pieces of art, that are to be found very often on the exact locations where they were placed and hung in previous times. To this collection belong such artists as Antoine Watteau with his fêtes galantes as well as Nicolas Lancret, many of their works purchased by French agents for Frederick the Great. And then there is the great Antoine Pesne, present in many of the rooms.
The revolution of 1918 marked the end of the long history of ruling for the Hohenzollern but it was only in 1927 that the Palace of Charlottenburg, then in a unified Greater Berlin, was opened as a museum to the public. WWII inevitably left its marks on the ground, such that after a long process of reconstruction and refurbishment, today parts of the palace can be visited.
I hold a license for this heritage site and would love to take you on a private tour of the Parade Apartments as well as the extensive gardens. We can also combine this visit with any other visit of Berlin that you might want to take. → Please contact me for a quote.