Berlin Victory Column

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The Victory column (Siegessäule) is next to Brandenburg Gate, German Parliament, Television Tower and Berlin Cathedral one of the most significant monuments in Berlin. It was originally located at the Königsplatz (present-day Platz der Republik), the square in front of the Reichstag. It was moved to its current location in 1938 by Nazi government. Now, it stands at the Grosser Stern, in the middle of Tiergarten (the large park, previous Royal hunting estate), midway along the Strasse des 17. Juni. It is surrounded by a street circle with heavy traffic, so in 1941 four tunnels were designed by Johannes Huntenmueller so pedestrians can reach the column safely.

The Victory column was built from 1864 to 1873 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Prusso–Danish war in 1864 (it was inaugurated on 2 September 1873 by the Kaiser Wilhelm I). It was designed by Johann Heinrich Stack. Its original height was 50,66 metres but it was enlarged when it was relocated and now it is 66,89 metres high.

The column is anchored on a solid fundament of polished red granite and basically sits on a hall of pillars. The base of the column is decorated with bas-reliefs of battles. The mosaic frieze made by Anton von Werner depicts the founding of the German Empire in 1871. There are some other mosaics at the column hall, showing more battle scenes. These reliefs decorating the foundation had to be removed on request of the victorious allied forces in 1945 and were restored in the 1980s.

The shaft of the monument is made of cannon captured from the enemies. The column consists of three solid blocks of sandstone. At the top of the column, under the gilded statue, there is an observatory with the beautiful view of Berlin. There is a spiral staircase of 285 stairs leading there.

The bronze, gilded, 8,3 metres high and 35 tons heavy figure at the top was added later, after further Prussian victories in wars against Austria (1866) and France (1870 – 71); so the column marks also the unification of Germany after these victories. The statue is locally known as “Golden Else” and it represent the Goddess of Victory extending in one hand the laurel wreath of the Caesars and in the other a scepter topped by an Iron Cross. It was designed by Friedrich Drake.

Today is the Victory column known also as the central point of Love Parade that takes place every year around this monument.
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