Schloss Charlottenburg was constructed between 1695 and 1699. It was originally intended as the summer home for Sophie Charlotte who was the wife of King Friedriech I. Its original size was much smaller than the building we see today. Over several decades, extra wings and embellishments were added to the structure. It is now one of the most grand and spacious palaces in the Berlin area.
The building was greatly damaged by bombs during World War II but has been painstakingly restored to its former glory. The exterior is eye catching and elegant. The bright cream walls blend beautifully with the baroque architecture, which is also complement by the centrally placed green cupola.
The public is permitted to view only part of the palace, which includes the Old Palace and the new wing that houses the state apartments of Frederick the Great. There is much to see. All the rooms are elaborately decorated either in baroque or rococo style.
The Porcelain Room is filled with Japanese and Chinese porcelain, many of which are replicas or restorations of the originals that were damaged or destroyed in the war.
The Great Oak Room, originally used as a banquet hall has been transformed into an art gallery. The intricate carvings in the room are well worth a detailed look.
Located in the western wing is the Orangery, which would have originally been used as a conservatory. Located here is a restaurant and café.
The original Palace Theatre has been converted into the Museum for Prehistory and Early History. It is one of Berlin's most important archaeological museums and contains six large exhibition halls over several floors.
There are fine examples in the Golden Gallery of French art and interior design, greatly influenced by the French rococo style.
The palace is set amongst spectacular grounds which are freely open to the public. The gardens are beautifully maintained with massive displays of flowers intermingled with majestic trees and manicured lawns. They were originally planned in the baroque French style and were said to be modeled on the gardens of the Palace of Versailles.
Within the garden are several noteworthy buildings. There is a neo-classical mausoleum which contains the remains of the Hohenzollern family, a noble family that included the Emperors of Prussia.
The Belvedere building, which used to be a teahouse, is now home to a display about the history of royal porcelain making. The classical exterior of the Pavilion is beautiful and inside is a collection of furniture, sculptures, paintings and everyday items that help give a glimpse of life in another time.
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