Gendarmenmarkt – Festival of Lights 2010

Gendarmenmarkt Berlin with Concert House and French Cathedral
During the Festival of Lights 2010 I took a few photos from the Gendarmenmarkt, my favortite hang out in Berlin.
German Cathedral
I spent many delightful evenings here, listening to the enchanting music wafting across the square. There is always some musician playing the violin, the cello or a brass instrument and it is wonderful to have picnic on a balmy summer night under the roof of the German Cathedral overlooking this most beautiful square, watching tourists marvel at the classic architcture.

Detail German Cathedral
Detail German Cathedral

Three monumental buildings dominate Gendarmenmarkt:
The most recent building is the Concert House (Konzerthaus) built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1821 as a theater based on the ruins of the National Theater fallen prey to fire in 1817. Some columns and exterior walls are remnants of the former theater.
Concert House Gendarmenmarkt built by the famous architect Schinkel
The Concert House forms the center of the German Cathedral (Deutscher Dom) in the south and the French Cathedral (Französischer Dom) in the north. See map

The French Cathedral (officially French Church of Friedrichstadt) was built between 1701 and 1705 for the Huguenot (Calvinist) community - who then constituted about 25% of Berlin's population.
French Cathedral (Französische Friedrichstadtkirche)
Originally modeled after the Huguenot church in Charenton-Saint-Maurice in France, the tower and porticos were only added to the building in 1785 by Carl von Gontard.
Church of Charenton-Saint-Maurice
The distinction of the two cathedrals always presented a challenge to me until I learned that the French Cathedral is the one with the restaurant. Furthermore, it also has a viewing platform and the Huguenot museum is seated there.

Like the other buildings on the Gendarmenmarkt, the cathedral was heavily damaged in World War II and rebuilt during the years 1977 to 1981.

The German Cathedral (officially „New Church“) was built from 1701 to 1708 by Giovanni Simonetti after designs by Martin Grünberg and modified accordingly (domed tower) during the years 1780 to 1785 after a desing by Carl von Gontard.
Dome of German Cathedral

The church was destroyed in 1943 during World War II and rebuilt from 1977 to1988.
Both churches are not „cathedrals“ in the actual sense of the word (Greek kathedra, meaning: seat, bench) as no bishop has ever been seated there.

In the center of the square stands a statue of the famous German poet Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805). This great 18th century poet was (together with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) a proponent of the literary movement „Sturm und Drang“ (Storm and Urge/Sturm and Stress) which encouraged the extreme expression of emotions.
Statue of famous German poet Friedrich Schiller 
The square itself originates from 1688 and was built after a design of Johann Arnold Nering as part of the „Friedrichstadt“ structured by the Prince-Elector Friedrich III who later became known as King Friedrich I of Prussia.
Originally designed as a market square and named Linden-Markt then Mittelmarkt or Friedrichstädtischer Markt and later Neuer Markt, today's name Gendarmenmarkt is derived from the Regiment Gens d'armes (Man-at-Arms) of the Soldier King Friedrich I who had their stables here from 1736 to 1773.

Concert House in different colors during the Festival of Lights 2010
Detail Concert House
Detail Concert House
Gendarmenmarkt around 1900
Gendarmenmarkt 1903

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