Charlottenburg Palace was originally built as a summer residence for Queen Sophie Charlotte from 1695 to 1713. Over time, generations of the Prussian royal family added their own contributions until the monarchy was brought to an end in 1918. Today it now stands as the largest existing residence of the former Hohenzollern family. During World War Two, the palace suffered devastating damage and reconstruction continues to this day.
Although in many areas it is these reconstructions that visitors see, it does not reduce the jaw-dropping splendour of the rooms on show. Setting foot in the Golden Gallery ballroom, with its lavish rococo décor, is worth the cost of the ticket alone. Visitors may still feel a sadness for this palace however. The brightness of the new silk wall hangings, the flawless shine on the fresh wooden floors, and the still blank panels where paintings once looked down from the ceiling all quietly remind you of what is lost by war.
There is not much furniture in the rooms but it is hard not to be impressed by the rococo detail throughout the palace. Gold floral decoration is almost growing up the walls. The audio guide is available in many languages, and is well narrated and easy to use. The mausoleum, with four impressive marble sarcophaguses, is found to the north of the gardens. Not far away, the Belvedere houses a large collection of porcelain.
Address: Spandeurer Damm 10-22 14059 Berlin.
Transport: S-bahn Westend.
Opening hours: April-October, Tuesday – Sunday 10:00-18:00. November-March, Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00-17:00.
Contact: 0303 20910, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost: €10 for access to the palace, 12€ for palace, mausoleum and Belvedere.
Extra info: Tours must be booked in advance and not all rooms are wheelchair accessible. Visitors should be aware that reconstruction work can result in areas of the palace being closed for periods of time.