Thursday, May 31, 2018

Elegant Elbe: Berlin 1b (5/31/2018)

Thursday, May 31, 2018 (continued)
Our motor coach tour continued, heading into Grosse Tiergarten, Berlin's huge inner-city park that was once the royal hunting grounds, thus the name of the great animal garden.
Victory Column/Siegessäule (1873, by
Johann Heinrich Strack) was erected to commemorate
Prussian victories, is topped by the statue of
statue of Victoria/Goldelse (by Friedrich Drake)
Victory Column (notice that the relief panels on the
base have been removed, per order of the Allies in
1945, but they were replaced in 1987) (10/2/1987)
Bellevue Palace/Schloss (1785-1786, by Michael Philipp Boumann, as
a summer residence for the brother of King Friedrich II of Prussia, the first
neo-Classical style building in Germany, rebuilt by 1959) was used as the
secondary residence (after Bonn) of the West German president until after
reunification when it became the primary residence of the president
After renovations in 2005, the Bellevue became the seat of the president, but is not a residence as there is a government-owned villa in the suburb of Dahlem for that purpose.
Conference Hall-House of the Cultures of the World/Kongresshalle-Haus
der Kulturen der Welt
(1957, by Hugh Stubbins as a part of the Interbau,
an International Building Exhibition), nicknamed the "Pregnant Oyster"
In the pool in front of the conference hall is Large Divided Oval: Butterfly (1985-1986, by Henry Moore), which is Moore's heaviest sculpture and his final major work before his death.
The Carillon (1987, a gift from Daimler-Benz AG on the
occasion of the 750th anniversary of Berlin) is a
manually-played instrument with performances on
Sundays during the summer months
The Parliament Building/Reichstag (1884-1894, by Paul Wallot, rebuilt
1961-1964, renovated 1992-1999, by Norman Foster) with a glass dome
replacement of the original dome ruins that were demolished in 1956 (KSS)
It was from the Reichstag that the German Republic was proclaimed in 1918 by Philipp Scheidemann, and the official German reunification ceremony was held in 1990.
The Federal Chancellery/Bundeskanzleramt (2001, by
Charlotte Frank and Axel Schultes) with the central section
nicknamed the "Washing Machine"
Moltkebrücke (1888-1891, damaged during World War II,
but only needed repairs) was the last hurdle before
the Soviet Red Army captured the Reichstag (KSS)
Berlin's main train station/Hauptbahnhof (1998-2006, by
Meinhard von Gerkan of Gerkan, Marg and Partners, on the site
of the former Lehrter Stadtbahnhof) for international and inter-city
trains with connections to the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, trams and buses,
making it the largest train station in Europe
Soviet War Memorial/Sowjetisches Ehrenmal/
Советский военный мемориал (1945, by Mikhail Gorvits using stone
from the ruins of the chancellery) flanked by pairs of Red Army
ML-20 152 mm gun-howitzers and T-34 tanks
After the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, the Soviet War Memorial ended up on the West Berlin side. Soviet soldiers were permitted to enter West Berlin to act as an honor guard at the monument, and to visit the site where also some Soviet troops were buried.
The motor coaches dropped us off near the Soviet Memorial for some free time before returning to the hotel. With Peter & Beth, we opted to continue touring rather than return to the hotel.
Bob & Libby, the couple married for 65 years,
pass Peter and Kent at the statue of the Caller/
Der Rufer (1966, by Gerhard Marcks,
this being an 1989 casting as there are others),
inscribed with the Petrarch quote: “I wander
through the world and cry ‘Peace, peace, peace.’” 
Tamiko at the Brandenburg Gate (thanks to an anonymous Viking passenger)
Brandenburg Gate/Brandenburger Tor (1788-1791, by
Carl Gotthard Langhans) on the site of a former city gate (KSS)
(we see the backs of the other couple married for 65 years, John & Lucy)
Brandenburg Gate in the "death strip" behind the outer wall
here in West Berlin (10/2/1987)
After Napoleon defeated the Prussians in 1806, he used this gate for his triumphal procession, then took the Quadriga (by Johann Gottfried Schadow) from atop the gate to install in Paris. When Napoleon was defeated in 1814, the Quadriga was returned to the Brandenburg Gate. The gate was damaged but essentially survived World War II, but the original Quadriga was left with only one horse's head, now in the Märkisches Museum.
Brandenburg Gate has witnessed many moments in history, including the 1987 speech by United States President Ronald Reagan ("General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!") and the spontaneous celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Brandenburg Gate from the east side, with the Quadriga facing east;
a Quadriga is a chariot pulled by four horses, and in this instance
is driven by goddess of victory
Now we are in Pariser Platz, once the grandest square in Berlin, which was reduced to rubble during World War II, except for the Brandenburg Gate. It was an empty wasteland during the Cold War, but after Reunification it was quickly re-developed and became a pedestrian zone.
Pariser Platz view of Brandenburg Gate
Empty Pariser Platz and Brandenburg Gate (10/3/1987)
On the north side of Pariser Platz is the Embassy of France (1998-
2002, by Christian de Portzamparc, on the site of the pre-war embassy)
North of Brandenburg Gate is the Liebermann House,
built on the site where painter Max Liebermann lived 1884-1935,
while president of the Academy of Fine Arts
On the south side of Pariser Platz is the Embassy of the United States
(2004-2008, by by Moore Ruble Yudell, on the site of the pre-war embassy)
Next is Palais Wrangell (1998-2000, by Frank Gehry, as the headquarters
of DZ Bank/Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank) has a simple
façade to blend in with surrounding buildings, but...
...inside the Palais Wrangell is pure Gehry,
with undulating surfaces trying to
capture the movement of fish
Also on the south side of Pariser Platz is the Academy of Arts/
Akademie der Künste (2003-2005, by Günter Behnisch,
on the site of the pre-war facility)
The Academy of Arts once held the office of
Albert Speer, Hitler's architect, where Speer worked
on his plans to rebuild Berlin into a world capital/
Welthauptstadt named Germania; the sculpture of
Prometheus Bound was Speer's favorite
At the southeast corner of Pariser Platz is Hotel Adlon Kempinski
(1995-1997, by by Rainer Michael Klotz of Patzschke Klotz & Partners,
on the pre-war site of Hotel Adlon)
In the Hotel Adlon lobby is a remnant of the
original elephant fountain
Around the corner on Wilhelmstrasse is the
Embassy of the United Kingdom (1998-2000, by
Michael Wilford, on the site of the pre-war embassy);
it is said that the purple color is a blend
of the colors of the country's flag
At 13:00, there was concern that we needed to have lunch right away before restaurants closed at 15:00 (?!). There is no way I would have lasted until 15:00 myself, but we followed the GPS path directly to the Gaffel Haus (closes at midnight). I was a little miffed that in doing so we skipped a couple sights we could have seen along the way. But I did get my Commerce building photo!
On the left is the International Commerce Center/Handelszentrum
(1976-1978, by Erhardt Gißke), which was constructed by the
Japanese Kajima Corporation; and on the right is a corner of the
State Library/Staatsbibliothek (1903-1914, by Ernst von Ihne)
I was able to stand farther away for this photo of the
Commerce Center and State Library (10/3/1987)
After lunch of Soljanka Suppe (an East German classic soup or stew) and Flammkuchen (like a flatbread pizza), we headed back to Unter den Linden.
Temporary worker housing outside the State Library
Looking east on Unter den Linden/Under the Lime Trees, the famous
boulevard in Berlin that in 1647 replaced the bridal path to the hunting
grounds of the Prince-Elector of Brandenburg
Unter den Linden looking west (10/3/1987)
Statue (1845-1851, by Christian Daniel Rauch) of
Friedrich II, who is buried near his dogs at
Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam; the base is crowded with
statues of military leaders, politicians, scientists and artists
Humboldt University/Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (est 1810 as the
Friedrich Wilhelms University, and renamed by the East German
government in 1949) pioneered the Humboldtian method of higher
education that is widely used by Western universities
Wilhelm von Humboldt, a philosopher, linguist, and diplomat, initiated the founding of the university. It was renamed in his honor and also for his brother, Alexander, a naturalist, geographer, and explorer. The statues of both brothers are in front of the university.
Old Library/Alte Bibliothek (1748-1766, by Johann Boumann and
Carl Ludwig Hildebrandt, perhaps on the design of Georg Wenzeslaus
on Knobelsdorff) is now the Law Library/Jura-Bibliothek, has been
nicknamed the "Chest of Drawers" because of its curved façade
Vladimir Lenin studied at the law library
during the summer of 1895, memorialized by
the East Germans in this stained glass window
(1968, by Frank Glaser)
In the center of Bebelplatz, there is a window in the ground (KSS)
If you can look past the reflections, you will see the pale outlines of
empty white library shelves, which is a memorial (1995, by Micha Ullman)
remembering the Nazi burning of books on this spot in 1933,
a campaign across many German universities that targeted books viewed
as being subversive or as representing ideologies opposed to Nazism
Hotel Roma (1889 as the Dresdener Bank, and after World War II, the
state bank of communist East Germany) is a luxury hotel where you can
dance in the ballroom of the former Cashiers' Hall, or experience a spa
treatment in the former jewelry vault or a manicure in the money vault
Hotel rooms are in the bankers' offices. Austere East German bankers boarded over the ornate mosaic floors, inadvertently preserving them for wealthy travelers of today.
St Hedwig's Cathedral (1747-1773, by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff)
the first Catholic Church built in Prussia after the Reformation
The interior of St Hedwig's was rebuilt in 1952-1963,
designed by Hans Schwippert; the cross has the body
of Christ carved from one piece of ivory and
the statue of St Peter (1340 from Siena)
was a gift from Pope John Paul II in 1980
Klais-Organ (1978)
The dome of St Hedwig's
In the lower church are several chapels.
Pietà (copy of Michelangelo's Pietà, 1498-1499)
This must be the Pietà of 1420 (KSS)
Chapel memorializing Roman Catholics of the Berlin
region who suffered under Nazi oppression from
1933-1945, includes the grave of Bernhard Lichtenberg,
the Provost of St Hedwig’s Cathedral, who spoke
out against Nazi programs and publicly
prayed for the Jewish victims of the regime
Bernhard Lichtenberg was arrested in 1941 and sent to Tegel prison in Berlin. In 1943 he was sent to the Dachau concentration camp, but died en route.
In 2004 Bernhard Lichtenburg was listed as
"Righteous Before Nations" by Yad Vashem,
(Israel's official memorial to victims of the
Holocaust), an honor given to non-Jews who risked
their lives to protect Jews during the Holocaust
State Opera/Staatsoper Unter den Linden (1843-1844, by Carl
Ferdinand Langhans, rebuilt 1945-1955)
Crown Prince's Palace (1663-1669, by Johann Arnold Nering, rebuilt 1968
as the guest house for VIP visitors) on the left connected to the
Princesses' Palace (1730-1733, rebuilt 1962-1964, by Richard Paulick
as the opera café) on the right
After dissolution of the monarchy, the Crown Prince's Palace became a museum in 1919, specifically as an annex to the National Gallery, to house works of contemporary artists. After the Nazis came to power, Hitler ordered the galleries to be "cleansed" of "degenerate" art. That was most of the inventory at the Crown Prince's Palace. In 1937 it became home to the Academy of Art, which had been kicked out of their Pariser Platz building by Albert Speer.
Next: Berlin 1c.

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