Charlottenburg Palace

From the excellent English-language audio guide, we learned that this palace was originally built by Elector Friedrich III as a summer residence for his wife Sophie Charlotte in 1699. It was later expanded into a royal palace after Friedrich became the first Prussian King, Friedrich I.

The palace was severely damaged by allied bombing in 1943, but was carefully reconstructed after the war.

At the time we toured the palace (2009) I didn’t know much about the Prussian kings, and I still don’t know much about Friedrich I, but I have since learned a few things about his son, Friedrich Wilhelm I (an unsavory character, frankly), and especially about his grandson, Friedrich II aka Friedrich the Great, who not only built an opera house in Berlin (the current State Opera Unter den Linden) but also wrote the libretto for the opera Montezuma with music by Carl Heinrich Graun (1704-1759). — See my post Montezuma in Lübeck for more on this opera and its librettist.

Charlottenburg Palace from a bridge in the garden

Behind the Charlottenburg Palace is a large park which was originally a formal French Baroque garden. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was gradually transformed into an English-style landscape garden. After the Second World War a small part right behind the palace was again laid out in the original French style.

Belvedere Porcelain Museum

The Belvedere in the park behind Charlottenburg Palace was first built as a lookout pavilion in 1788.

Since 1971 this has been the site of the KPM Porcelain Collection of the city of Berlin. KPM stands for “Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur” or Royal Porcelain Manufacturing, which was formed in 1763 when two private porcelain companies were taken over by King Friedrich II.

Porcelain in a padded box for royal picnics

Even for a paper-plate kind of person like me, this is a very impressive collection and well worth the three Euro admission charge (now four Euros as of 2020, although the Belvedere is currently closed, like everything else, because of the coronavirus pandemic).

My photos in this post are from 2009. I revised the text in 2020.

See more posts on Berlin, Germany.

8 thoughts on “Charlottenburg Palace”

  1. Fascinating post!

    Since I studied classical music I know that “Freidrich the Great” was a strong patron of the arts. Its nice to see his place of residence.

    Thx for posting 🙂

  2. At least they were almost finished with the Berlin castle this year if not… too bad in Paris we are still struggling to build the Palais des Tuileries its counterpart at the times.

  3. I first went there a fair number of years ago and decided I would go back to take a closer look, which I did, but they were closed for renovation. It seems like I have to wait a bit longer. Thanks Don for reminding me about another part of Berlin’s history and architecture.

  4. We’ve never been to Charlottenburg despite two visits to Berlin (one in ancient pre-reunification times, 1983, and one much more recently) – something for a third visit I hope.

    Btw I seem to be getting two email alerts for each post you publish. Are you able to see if I’ve somehow managed to subscribe twice with the same email address? I don’t want to risk removing all alerts if I unsubscribe!

    1. Hi Sarah, I’ve just looked through the lists, and you are only listed once, so I don’t know why you are getting two e-mails for each post. Come to think of it, that has happened to me occasionally, but I never paid it much attention. I’ll have a closer look if it happens again.

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