From Friedrichstrasse it is only a few minutes' walk southwards to Gendarmenmarkt, one of Berlin's most beautiful and harmonious squares. It has as its dominant feature three large buildings forming one group - the Schauspielhaus (Theater), the French Cathedral and the German Cathedral. The square was laid out in the 17th C. and first named the Esplanade, then Lindenmarkt, Mittelstädtischer or Friedrichstädtischer Markt and finally Gendarmenmarkt, because a regiment of Gendarmerie had their guard-house and stables here from 1736-82.
The long Gendarmenmarkt square in Berlin, covering an area of 48,000 sq.m/57,400 sq.yd, has as its central feature the Schauspielhaus. It is one of Schinkel's most notable buildings and was built in 1818-21 on the site of the earlier National Theater, burned down in 1817. The reliefs in the pediments and the figures of Muses on the roof are by F. Tieck. The pediment of the auditorium is by C. D. Rauch. Goethe's "Iphigenie" was performed at its opening in 1821. In 1848 the Prussian National Assembly met in the Schauspielhaus.Having been rebuilt in a manner very faithful to the original, the building was reopened in the autumn of 1984 as a concert hall. The Neo-classical Great Hall seats 1,200 people and boasts an organ with 5,801 pipes and 74 stops; the chamber-music salon has room for 350 to 450. There is also a rehearsal room and a music club.In 1986 West Berlin presented the Schiller Memorial to East Germany. After three years' restoration work it was returned in 1989 to its original position in front of the steps leading up to the former Schauspielhaus, from where it had been removed by the Nazis in 1938. The four female figures on the fountain canopy represent Lyric Poetry (with a harp), Drama (with a dagger), History (with tablets with the names of Goethe, Beethoven, Michelangelo and others) and Philosophy (parchment scroll inscribed "Discover Yourself").
On the southwest side of the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin stands the Deutscher Dom, originally built in a simpler form by Martin Grünberg between 1701-08. The portico and domed tower were added by C. F. von Gontard during the reign of Frederick the Great. The dome is crowned by a 7 m/23ft high gilded sculpture ("Virtue" or "Grace"). Georg Wenzelhaus von Knobelsdorff is buried in the cathedral. On the steps lie in state those democrats who died in the barricades in 1814, known as the "Märzgefallenen" (Those who fell in March). When restoration is complete (not before 1996) the cathedral is to be used for art exhibitions.
The counterpart to the German Cathedral in Berlin, on the north side of the Gendarmenmarkt, is the Französischer Dom. It consists of the Friedrichstadt Church and the domed tower which was added later. It was built by Louis Cayart and Quesnay in 1701-05 for the Huguenot community which had settled in Berlin in 1685. The 70 m/230ft high tower was built by G. C. Unger following C. F. von Gontard's design. It contains a five-octave carillon with 60 bells which are rung not manually but by means of a keyboard. At a height of 20 m/66ft will be found the "Turmstuben" (Tower Rooms), and at 40 m/132ft a viewing balustrade. Following damage during the last war, both church and tower were fully restored by 1987.The redesigned ground floor of the church now houses the Huguenot Museum, with exhibits illustrating the history of the Huguenots in France and Berlin-Brandenburg.
Academy of Sciences
On the eastern side of Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt, on the corner of Jägerstrasse and Markgrafenstrasse, is the Academy of Sciences, found in a building constructed in 1901 for the former Prussian Imperial Bank. The Academy was originally founded in 1700 by Elector Frederick III, on the initiative of the philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Outstanding figures associated with the Academy over the centuries have included Franz Karl Achard, Andreas Sigismund Marggraf, Leonhard Euler, Albert Einstein, Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, Max Planck and Rudolf Virchow. After the post-war turmoil the Academy was able to resume its activities in 1946. Renamed the Academy of Sciences of the GDR in 1972, it now runs over 40 institutes concerned with fundamental research. The institutes are being integrated in the newly reunified Germany.
Map of Berlin Attractions