Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

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Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) ( 640x480 )
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Berlin Cathedral is in Germany known as Berliner Dom, but its official name is Oberpfarr und Domkirche zu Berlin. The building of cathedral was built after the split of Protestant and Catholic Church, as the Protestant answer to Catholic cathedral of St. Peter in Vatican. It was also the official cathedral of the Prussian Hohenzollern royal family.

Actually, the first church built on the side of present cathedral was Dominican in 1535. It became a college church. Soon (in 1539) it turned into a Lutheran church, from 1608 known as Colln – the highest-ranking church in the area. In 1613 it became a Calvinist church and the official royal court church. Between the years 1747 – 1750 a new cathedral by Johann Boumann was erected on the side of previous church in a baroque style. It was again altered in 1817 – 1822 by Schinkel into classicist style, and 6 years later the architect himself presented new plans based on the style of an early Christian five-aisled basilica. But only in 1842 work began under the design of Stüler, who designed an enormous dome with four towers with a width of 48 metres - but in vain, works were discontinued in 1848. The current cathedral was built in 1894 – 1905 by Julius Raschdorff, after the old one was demolished in 1894 under the order of king Willem II. The new cathedral was a baroque building with the influence of Italian renaissance. However, it was damaged again, this time by Allied bombs during the World War II (on 24 May 1944) and it took nearly 20 years to repair it. The reconstruction started in 1975 and the restoration of the interior in 1984. The cathedral was reopened in 1993.

This richly decorated building of Silesian granite – with the dome cross – once stood 114 m long, 73 m wide and 116 m tall. However, after it was damaged during the war and rebuilt, it measures now only 98 metres – the dome roof was designed more simple. The memorial church on the north side was torn down.

The cathedral’s magnificent interior is more typical for the Catholic Church. Cathedral can be visited daily. There is Hohenzollern crypt with seventy (from original eighty-nine) coffins are preserved, including the resplendent sarcophagus of the Great Elector and his wife Dorothea. Others interesting items, like Sauer’s Organ, the neo-baroque pulpit and the stained glasses designed by Anton von Werner can be found here. The main alter that was saved from the previous cathedral, dates back to 1850.

The garden like place in front of the cathedral — the Lustgarten has been changed many times, present look it got in 1999 – designed according to original Schinkel plans and equipped with a new fountain.
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