I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve never regarded Berlin as a beautiful city - fascinating yes - but not beautiful, but the Gendarmenmarkt is as near as it gets for a Berlin Square/Plaza/Piazza to be considered worthy of special acclaim.
It’s not somewhere you would come to enjoy a picnic on the lawn under a shady tree - it’s far too hardcore for that, but what it does have is a wonderfully harmonious collection of buildings - on three sides of the square at least.
Originally created as a market square at the end of the 17th century, it was named after the Regiment Gens d’Armes who, despite its French sounding name, was a Prussian cavalry regiment whose horses were stabled here between 1736 and 1773.
Facing each other across the square are the German and French Cathedrals with the Konzerthaus in between them taking centre stage, so to speak.
Built between 1701 and 1705, the Franzoesischer Dom is the oldest of the three landmark buildings and was built for the Huguenot community who found refuge in protestant Berlin after being persecuted in France.
The Deutscher Dom was built in 1708, but it wasn’t until 1785 when Carl von Gontard added a dome to each of the churches that they became twins - outwardly at least.
The Schauspielhaus, (as the original Konzerthaus was known ), was conceived by the famous German architect Karl-Friedrich Schinkel in 1821.
The Gendarmenmarkt was badly damaged during World War 2, but whatever it cost to re-build, it was money well spent as far as I’m concerned. Today the Deutscher Dom is a museum of German history, the Franzoesischer Dom has a Huguenot museum and the Konzerthaus is home to the Konzerthausorchester (formerly the Berlin Symphony Orchestra).
Standing in front of the Konzerthaus is a wonderful monument to the famous German poet Friedrich Schiller, which to my mind is a fitting tribute to the Gendarmenmarkt - undoubtedly one of Berlin’s most successful achievements of harmonious classical architecture.
It was built at the end of the 18th century. During the Second World War, many buildings were badly damaged, but they were later refurbished. In the middle of the square stands a statue of German poet
The Gendarmenmarkt accommodate two beautiful churches that are almost identical, the French Cathedral and the Deutscher Dom. The French Cathedral is a Protestant church, built in the early 18th century by the Huguenots. Under the dome of the church is a viewing platform. Opposite the church is the French Deutscher Dom, which houses a museum of German history
The most recent building on the Gendarmenmarkt, the Concert hall, built by the Berlin architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. During the Christmas period takes on this square is one of the most popular Christmas markets instead
There excist interesting story regarding name of the square, its current name is derived from the Regiment Gens d'Armes who had their stables here from 1736 to 1773. Starting from 1777 the square was redeveloped under the plans by Georg Christian Unger.
Nowadays the square is quiet place surrounded by three landmark buildings; Franzosisher Dom, Deutcher Dom and the Konzerthaus. In the central part of the square is a statue of Friedrich Schiller, a most famous German poet.
The Gendarmenmarkt was one of the first places I visited after arriving in Berlin. The square is named after the Gens d'Armes regiment whose stables were situated here.
There are 4 major sights of interest in this beautiful square:
Main photo: The statue of Friedrich Schiller, the esteemed German poet and philosopher. It stands in pride of place in the centre of the square and is a work on German sculptor Reinhard Begas.
Photo 2: The Konzerthaus. This building is home to the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and was built in 1818-1821 to the design of Karl Friedrich Schinkel. It received heavy damage during World War Two and was rebuilt in 1977 sympathetically to Schinkel's original plans.
There are also two very similar looking churches; The Deutscher Dom (Photo 5) and The Französischer Dom (Photos 3 and 4). They stand on opposite sides of the square. The French church (not a cathedral) is the more interesting. It was originally built in 1701-1705 for the French-speaking Huguenot community of Berlin. The domed tower was built in 1785 to give a symmetrical aspect to the Gendarmenmarkt. Sadly, the church was also heavily damaged during wartime and was rebuilt between 1977-1981. The church currently houses the Huguenot museum; somewhere I plan on visiting if I make it back to Berlin someday.
I was lucky to stay at a hotel that overlooked the Gendarmenmarkt and was able to wander around the square a number of times. So what is there? Around the perimeter are upmarket hotels, restaurants and shops. The square has 2 cathedrals, a theatre that is now a concert hall, a statue of Friedrich Schiller in the middle of the square, a part time outside café, a tree lined area to sit in the shade and an Octagonal Café. The area was badly damaged during WW2 but has now been restored to its former glory. During my first visit a charity walk was taking place and the square was part of the route with a drumming band encouraging the walkers on. The Square is also known for its famous annual Christmas Market that is regarded as one of the best. The market runs this year from 26/11 to 31/12.
We arrived at the Concert Hall early Saturday evening on the night of a performance. This meant we were not able to enter the building, however it was similar to watching the red carpet entry on Oscars' Night.
On the steps to the Concert Hall musicans played as the patrons arrived in formal dress, the ladies looking superb.
Around the square were stalls selling souvenirs, snack foods etc etc. There were also buskers and other entertainers. Very entertaining.
The Concert Hall was destroyed during World War II and since rebuilt.
Our visit to the Gendarmenmarkt was at sunset, our intention being to view the beautiful Doms , Theatre and other buildings and activities within the square, before having dinner at the nearby German Beer Hall.
We arrived a little late to take good photos of these beautiful Doms, however it was an ideal time to view the many activities within the square. We sat and enjoyed the activities, particularly the people arriving for the evening performance at the Schauspielhaus (Theatre).
The Gendarmenmarkt was established during the 17th century.
Konzerthaus (Concert Hall) is situated in the central position of Gendaemenmarkt and houses Konzerthausorchester of Berlin. It was built for a theatre from 1818 to 1821 under the name of Schauspielhaus but it usage changed to a concert hall after WW I. The new Konigliches Schauspielhaus was inaugurated in 1821 with the acclaimed premiere of opera Der Freischutz by Carl Maria von Weber.
After WW I the Schauspielhaus reopened under the name Preussiches Staatstheater in 1919 and soon became one of the leading theatres of the Weimar Republic.
It was sevearely damaged by allied bombing in a battle for Berlin, rebuilt from 1977 onwards and reopened as the Concert Hall in 1984. The exterior is faithful reconstruction of Schinkel's designes. Acoustically the hall is considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world for music or opera.
The central part of the square, right in front of the Konzerthaus is crowned ba a statue of poet Friedrich Schiller, by Reinhold Begas. The statue was victim of the Nazis purges and was returned to East Berlin in 1988 after a long exile in the other half of the city.
This is one of the most attractive squares in Berlin and we really enjoyed spending a relaxing hour here, strolling around, taking photos and lingering over Kaffe und Küchen in one of the several cafés that ring it. The square gets its name from the regiment Gens d'Armes (of French Huguenots) who had their stables here from 1736 to 1773. It is a harmonious space, with matching buildings (the Französischer Dom and Deutscher Dom) on its north and south sides, the striking Konzerthaus on the west, and the smart shops and cafés of Markgrafenstraße on the east.
Starting on the north side, the Französischer Dom holds a museum dedicated to the French Huguenot immigrants who once worshipped here. We didn’t get round to checking this out but I noted that people had climbed to the top of its dome which would have tempted us had it not been near the end of a very long and hot day of exploring! The church was built between 1701 -1705 and is slightly older than its counterpart opposite. Facing it across the length of the square is the almost matching Deutscher Dom, built in 1708, with an exhibition on German democracy which our guidebook describes as “hopelessly academic”, so we gave that a miss too. This church was totally destroyed by fire in 1945 so the one standing today is an early 1990s rebuilding of it.
If we ignore the fact that the Deutscher Dom was rebuilt only 20 years ago, the Konzerthaus (photos 3 & 4) is the most recent of the three grand buildings that grace the square. It was originally a theatre, built to replace the National Theatre which was destroyed by fire in 1817. Like the Deutscher Dom it was again destroyed during the Second World War, and on its restoration in 1984 was turned into a concert hall. It is now home to the Berlin Symphony Orchestra.
In the middle of the square is a statue of Friedrich Schiller, the famous German poet (see photo 5).
Gendarmenmarkt is to Berlin what the National Mall is to Washington. This is the place to go. Here are the country's finest museums, theaters, and public spaces.
On the northern side is the French Church (Französische Friedrichstadtkirche), a monument to French Huguenot refugees, completed in 1705. It now houses the Huguenot Museum. Tens of thousands of Huguenots (Protestants) fled from France to Prussia under the reign of King Louis XIV. They have contributed greatly to Berlin's industry, the arts, and much more.
On the southern side is the former German Church, now a museum with exhibits on German history.
Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed the Schauspielhaus theater (also called the Konzerthaus), which stands on the western side. It's now a concert hall. The eastern side, along the Markgrafenstrasse, is lined with trendy shops, restaurants, and the like.
Probably the most beautiful and elegant square in Berlin is Gendarmenmarkt. Created at the end of the 17th century, most of the buildings were destroyed in World War II, but have since been restored to their former glory.
The main buildings on the square are the twin churches of Deutscher Dom (German Cathedral) & Franzosischer Dom (French Cathedral), and the Konzerthaus, which create a lovely architectural trio.
Visit Deutscher Dom to learn all about democracy in Germany, or go inside Franzosischer Dom to find out about the French Huguenots who were expelled from France in 1685 and fled to Berlin. The Konzerthaus is a stunning concert house that replaced the former National Theatre originally built here, but destroyed in the war. It is the home of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra.
At least take the time to visit the beautiful square and perhaps relax for a while at one of the surrounding cafes or restaurants.
This is the classic "middle" of the city. The theater, constructed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel from 1818 to 1821, is located at the historic Gendarmenmarkt. It was destroyed in WWII and eventually reopened in 1984 as a concert house with three halls in which about 550 events are now held each year. The most important contributor to the concert seasons is the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester (BSO). Chief Conductor Eliahu Inbal.
We offer regular public guided tours through Karl Friedrich Schinkel's most famous Berlin edifice. These are themed and usually take place every first and third Saturday of the month.
Special tours are also available by prior arrangement for groups. English language guided tours are conducted in co-operation with the "Museumspädagogischer Dienst Berlin".
tel: +49 30 20309-2343
fax: +49 30 20309-2249