Yesterday, June 12th, the cornerstone of the reconstruction of the Berliner Schloß was laid.
Two articles about the event:
The pertinent points:
Germany began reconstruction of Berlin’s royal palace 63 years after the original was blown up by East Germany’s communist authorities
Proponents say the demolition left a hole in Berlin’s historic center, and point to the success of other reconstructions, such as Dresden’s Frauenkirche.
Once one of the world's grandest buildings, the Berlin Palace – or Stadtschloss – was built in the 15th Century, but transformed in the 1700s as a home for the King Frederick.
Eleven years ago parliament agreed to reconstruct the 18th Century palace, but until now the project was mired in a constant stream of delays and financial hold ups.
However, President Joachim Gauck laid the foundation stone of the building amid much ceremony on Wednesday, signalling the launch of a €590m (£500m) development.
Rebuilding the palace is a step toward "healing the wounds" left on Berlin's landscape by its Cold War division, said Peter Ramsauer, the cabinet minister responsible for construction. He described the project as overcoming "the architectural devastation wrought after the demolition of the old palace".
Here's a picture of the actual cornerstone. The earlier date, 1443, was the year when the original palace was constructed.
And here's a video of the cornerstone-laying ceremony. It's in German, so it won't be comprehensible by most readers, but the various shots of the group eagerly announcing the project, with the mighty Berliner Dom, the Berlin Cathedral, looming over them to the west, are quite stirring.
The fact that the cornerstone was laid on June 12th is highly significant, as this is the 25th anniversary of Ronald Regan's famous "Tear down this wall!" speech
before the Brandenburg Gate. After all, it was the Communists who destroyed the Königliche Schloß, so the fact that the reconstruction of the palace should commence on the silver anniversary of the day when the West called for an end to Marxist tyranny -- as embodied in the hated Berlin Wall -- is extremely appropriate.
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Also, for anyone who does speak German, the following video provides a room-by-room guide of the interior rooms of the historic palace, with a floorplan showing where each of the rooms was originally situated. It also offers exterior views of the palace from every angle, along with a history of the Schloß, and more. Furthermore, purchasing the video leads to a small automatic donation for the palace reconstruction.
Highly recommended. It's as close as anyone can get to stepping back in time and actually touring the Schloß. But it will break your heart to think that none of these gorgeous rooms and interior spaces are going to be rebuilt.
Trailer for the DVD: