In the middle of Berlin's Tiergarten district is one of the capital's most famous landmarks: the Victory Column. At the top of the tower, almost 61m high, the larger-than-life bronze figure of the winged Victoria with a laurel wreath sits enthroned. The goddess of victory from Roman mythology - the Berliners lovingly call her "Goldelse" - is surrounded by the tireless roundabout of the Great Star. In 2008, the then Senator Barack Obama gave a famous speech in front of the National Monument.
A monument to three wars
The Berlin Victory Column was finished in 1873 according to plans by Heinrich Strack, an architect from the Schinkel School. The over 8m high sculpture of Victoria memorialises the victory of Prussia in the German-Danish War in 1864, the German War in 1866, and the Franco-Prussian War in 1870/71. The column originally stood at Königsplatz and at the end of the 1930s was moved to its present location at the Great Star.
Catched cannon barrels for the goddess of victory
Pedestrian tunnels lead to the Victory Column in the centre of the Great Star. You will pass one of the four neoclassical gatehouses, at the entrance of which there are information boards on the history of the monument. The polished red granite slabs on the base of the column are a striking eye-catcher. Four fluted column drums rise up on a roundabout with pillars, which gradually taper upwards. The first three drums are decorated with 60 gun barrels that were captured in the three wars. The fourth drum is decorated with golden garlands. Above all is the likewise gilded sculpture of Victoria, designed by German sculptor Friedrich Drake. In her outstretched right hand, she holds a laurel wreath as a sign of victory, and in the left one a standard with the Iron Cross. The goddess of victory wears a helmet with an eagle on her head, a symbol for the Kingdom of Prussia.
A fascinating panoramic view
If you are in good shape, you should climb the 285 steps of the spiral staircase up to the viewing platform at an altitude of approx. 51m. From here you can enjoy a magnificent view over the green oasis Großer Tiergarten to the Brandenburg Gate. Before leaving the Victory Column, take a look at the artistic glass mosaic on the back wall of the columned hall on the pedestal. The motifs show the foundation of the German Reich in 1871. The base itself is decorated with bronze reliefs from the wars of unification. A tip: be sure to visit the Victory Column at night, too, when a shining golden angel greets you from the top of a shimmering copper-red column.
The Berlin WelcomeCard: a ticket for all occasions
No matter how long you're staying in Berlin for sightseeing - only 48 hours or 6 days - consider getting the Berlin WelcomeCard, the official tourist ticket of the capital. Over 200 discount offers with savings of up to 50% await you, including highlights such as the TV Tower. Or you can choose the all-inclusive Berlin WelcomeCard and get free admission to Berlin's 30 top attractions. The ticket also entitles you to free travel on public transport.
In a nutshell