The Spandau Citadel is located in the north western area of Berlin. Spandau was once a town in its own right but eventually became incorporated into Berlin. The citadel was constructed between 1559 and 1594 and replaced a previous structure that can be traced back to the 1200s. Part of this old building, the Julius Tower, was incorporated into the new building.
The citadel is one of Europe's best preserved examples of a Renaissance fortress. It was badly damaged when Napoleon attacked and conquered it for the first time in 1806 and had to undergo a restoration. Fortunately it was not damaged to any great extent during World War II and much of the original is still intact. The township of Spandau also was not greatly damaged during the war and many of its medieval wooden buildings are still standing and in good repair
The citadel consists of four ramparts or bastions, which make up the four corners of the square brick construction. Each of the bastions has a specific name: King, Queen, Brandenburg and Crown Prince. For most of its history, it has been used by the military or as a state prison.
Nowadays it is mainly used for cultural events and it has several historical exhibitions on display. It is particularly famous for its summer concerts held by the 'Citadel Music Festival' which attract many well known international and national performers.
The former Commander's House is now home to the Museum of Local History. In the King bastion, 70 medieval Jewish gravestones were located and these can be viewed but a booking needs to be made.
Tours of the magnificent Spandau Citadel together with a visit to the adjacent medieval town of Spandau are very popular with tourists.
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