© visitBerlin, Foto: Günter Steffen


Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

When you enter the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz, a rich blue light welcomes you, which makes you forget the pulsating life of the capital for a while. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is one of the main attractions of Berlin and not only a magnificent church, but also a memorial of war and destruction as well as peace and reconciliation. It was so badly damaged during the Second World War that only the ruins of the tower remain, which still decorate the building today.

Architectural work of art in honour of the Emperor

In honour of the first German Emperor Wilhelm I, Wilhelm II planned a church which was constructed by Franz Schwechten between 1891 and 1895. Even then, the tower was the eye-catcher of neo-Romanesque architectural art, towering 113 metres above the rest of the city. The interior decoration with numerous murals and mosaics was just as magnificent. The glockenspiel was the second largest in Germany after the one in the Cologne Cathedral and it is said that the bells rang so loud during the festive inauguration that even the wolves in the Berlin zoo howled along. During the Second World War, there were no bells ringing because they were melted down for war purposes. In 1943, the church was badly damaged from a bomb attack. The top of the tower broke, the attic collapsed, and there was only one ruin left. This sight reminded Berliners of the horrors of war on a daily basis.

Rising from the ruins

After the Second World War, the will to build up the city remained unbroken. However, when the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was to be demolished in 1956 and replaced by a new building, the population protested. Architect Egon Eiermann came up with a compromise and tastefully integrated the 68m high tower ruin into his new building. On 17 December 1961, after almost four years of construction, the new church shone in new splendour and was inaugurated. Berliners quickly found a new nickname for the church and aptly described the modern building as a "powder jar and lipstick". With its hexagonal bell tower, octagonal nave, and square chapel in combination with the original tower ruin, the church soon became a symbol of Berlin rising from the ruins. For Berliners, it is a memorial against war, motivation to look positively into the future, and a symbol of peace.

Berlin's most popular tourist ticket scores points with visitors

Sold over twelve million times, the Berlin WelcomeCard is your admission pass to the most important sights of the German capital. As Berlin's official tourist ticket, the Berlin WelcomeCard offers discounted admission prices of up to 50 percent for more than 200 sights. Preferential access to attractions saves you long waiting times. Alternatively, the all-inclusive Berlin WelcomeCard offers free admission to 30 top attractions. However, both variants have one thing in common: they include travel by public transport buses, trains, and subways.

Kurz & Knapp


10789 Berlin

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