Berlin Cathedral, also known as Berliner Dom, is the city centerpiece and the largest church in Berlin. The cathedral is located in the historic part of the city and can be visited together with the Museum Island and the most famous street in Berlin, Under den Linden. In any case, due to the central location the cathedral never goes out of site and seems to pop out when you’re traveling to or from your hotel, so reserve a couple of hours and visit the church that has been the pride of Hohenzollern family.
The foundation stone was laid in 1894, and the site was open to public in 1903. The construction spot has previously hosted buildings and churches dating back to the 15th century. King Frederick William IV commissioned the church in the 19th century. However, the construction was postponed numerous times because of lack of financial means.
The central building was designed in Italian high Renaissance style with Baroque influence. The main dome used to bear the best traditions of Protestant architecture, but it was destroyed during the World War II and later rebuilt. Although it never reached the previous height again, the lavish decor, which has been a source of historical controversies, remains just as amazing. The final restorations ended in 1993. The dome, currently adorned with 8 mosaics, unveiled in 2006.
The interior of the cathedral is equally fantastic. Among the absolute must-sees are the main altar, dating back to 1850, Christian Daniel Rauch, the Petrus mosaic by Guido Reni, as well as the giant organ that consists of 700 pipes and is one of the largest in Germany.
There is more to see underneath the altar: The cathedral crypt was used for holding services when the dome was destroyed. It contains over 80 sarcophagi of the local royals dating back to 4 centuries. Some of the caskets and coffins are covered with fantastic carvings and coatings. Be careful, you will come across infant coffins as well.
The cathedral is often called “Entryway to Museum Island,” because by climbing 270 steps up the main dome, visitors can enjoy the splendid view to the nearby landmarks like the synagogue, Reichstag, and the Museum Island. Don’t forget to visit the Cathedral Museum, which offers a thorough exhibition about the site, it’s previous buildings and the history of the current cathedral.
Berlin Cathedral attracts thousands of tourists annually, but the local worshipers are not so many. Aside from walking around the building, you can also take a river tour on the Spree. The boats pass by the cathedral showing its outstanding architecture.