« PreviousContinue »
of Frederick William III., with allegorical figures grouped round the pedestal. The Schloss, or Royal Palace, is almost the only ancient building in Berlin, and has been much altered and added to since the Elector Frederick II. (he of the Iron Tooth) built his castle on the Spree in 1451 to overawe the Berliners. Up to the present time both interior and exterior have undergone frequent renovations, and now the Schloss is a massive and imposing edifice, containing six hundred rooms. At the portal opening on the Lustgarten are two large bronze groups, presented by the Emperor Nicholas in 1842, the Horse-tamers, by Baron Clodt, and in the Court is the well-known colossal group of St. George and the Dragon, by Kiss. We shall not attempt to even name the seemingly endless succession of saloons and balls and chambers shown to visitors, much less to describe them in detail, but, in passing, just a few of the salient features of the place may be touched upon. In the Rittersaal, or Hall of the Knights, stands a massive silver column, eight feet in height, presented to the Emperor by the Army and Navy in 1867, on the sixtieth anniversary of his entry into the Prussian army. Here, too, is a silver throne, and an almost unexampled display of massive gold and silver plate. In this hall is annually celebrated the Festival of the Seven Prussian Orders, first held in 1701, after the coronation of the first King of Prussia. In January, 1871, the festival was held at. Versailles, in the palace of one who, as a Knight of the Black Eagle, would have had the right to be present. The picture-gallery is rich in portraits and scenes from Prussian history; the White Saloon, the principal hall in the Palace, was completed by Stuler in 1857, and is a hundred and five feet long, fifty wide, and forty high, with twelve marble statues of Electors of Brandenburg, placed here in the reign of the Great Elector, and ceilings and walls sumptuously adorned with allegorical designs relating to the original Prussian provinces. Here, in 1817, the first Parliament of Prussia was held; here the Emperor makes his annual speech to the assembled deputies; and here the banquets in honour of august visitors to Prussia are given. A festival, presided over by the Empress, took place here in honour of the Shah of Persia, but when Victor Emmanuel came the Empress retired to Baden, and refused to act as hostess on the occasion. The Palace Chapel is a vast cupola, adorned with precious marbles, and decorated with frescoes of Martin Luther and Moses, the Elector Frederick II. and the Prophet Isaiah, John Huss and the Apostle Paul, and various other characters in curious juxtaposition ; but a philosophical idea of the Emperor William's is said to be embodied in this gathering of sovereigns, Reformers, and martyrs of all ages. Amongst other interesting rooms in the Palace, we may just mention the apartments of the Princess Elizabeth, in one of which Frederick the Great was born, on January 24th, 1712; also the rooms occupied by Frederick the Great as Emperor. At that time the Palace was the usual residence of almost all the royal family, and contained all the royal collections and several Government offices; now Prince Frederick Charles and Prince Leopold are the only princes of the blood residing here.
This Royal Palace has its traditionary ghost, the White Lady, who is said always to haunt the premises, but never to make her appearance in the royal apartments, except on the eve of some great catastrophe. The death of Frederick William III., in 1840, is alleged to have been thus foreshadowed. It is said—but with what truth “this deponent sayeth not”—that the present Emperor, about twenty years ago, accompanied by his aides-de-camp, carefully inspected every storey of the building at midnight, but found no trace of the ghost-said to be the troubled spirit of the Countess Agnes of Orlamünde, who murdered her two children in order to remove all obstacles to her marriage with the Burggrave Albert of Nuremberg, ancestor of the Electors of Brandenburg.
On the north-east side of the Lustgarten, facing the Palace, stands the Old Museum, the most imposing building in Berlin, built from designs by Schinkel in the reign of
Frederick William III. A wide flight of steps leads up to the portico, supported by eighteen colossal columns of the Ionic order. The walls of the portico are covered with allegorical frescoes representing the world's gradual progress from chaos; and two wellknown equestrian bronze groups—the “ Amazon,” by Kiss, and the “Lion Slayer," by Albert Wolff—and some other sculptures adorn the entrance. Within are valuable collections of antiquities, sculptures, and paintings. A covered corridor leads from the Old Museum to the New Museum, noted for the splendour of its internal decorations. It has three floors, the lowest being devoted to the ethnographical and Egyptian museum and the museum of northern antiquities; on the first floor thirteen halls are filled with casts of ancient, mediæval, and modern sculpture. A grand marble staircase rises to the full height of the building, and upon its walls are six grand pictures by pupils of Kaulbach, after the master's designs, and executed by the stereochromic method : that is to say, the wall is first saturated with a solution of silica, or flint, in alkali, then the picture is painted with water-colours, and afterwards a varnish of the above-mentioned solution is laid on,
a so that the paintings are coated with a thin glass, which effectually preserves them. In these paintings are depicted the six great epochs of human progress, from the dispersion
of the nations after the confusion of tongues at Babel to the epoch of the Reformation. Engravings and curiosities fill the uppermost storey of the edifice.
The new National Gallery (opened in 1876) is to the east of the New Museum, in the centre of a square adorned with flowers and fountains, statues and Doric colonnades. The late King of Prussia had an idea of grouping together the art institutions of Berlin, and this gallery is only a part of the design. Upon a basement, thirty-nine feet in height, rises a Corinthian temple, two hundred feet long and a hundred and five feet wide, with an apse at the back, and an eight-columned portico, approached by a grand flight of steps, in front. The building contains a large collection of modern pictures, but the most important features are the two Cornelius Saloons, of which Berlin is justly proud. The first saloon contains the cartoons for the projected Campo Santo of Frederick William IV. Cornelius died at Berlin in 1867, having devoted the previous twenty-six years of his life to the production of these frescoes, which represent the Redemption, the Mission of our Lord, the Sway of the Church, and the Last Judgment. In the second saloon the cartoons for the Glyptothek at Munich, by Cornelius, are exhibited.
No capital of Europe is probably so badly off as Berlin as regards both the number and beauty of its churches. In 1875 there were only sixty-four places of worship for nearly a million of people, but, as only seventeen per cent. of the population appear ever to attend, the want is not severely felt. The attendance on religious services on an average Sunday is, according to Dr. Schwabe, only two per cent. of the population. The oldest church in Berlin is St. Nicholas', some portions of the building dating from the thirteenth century ; but the whole has been restored, and, in addition, has been furnished with two lofty towers. The interior is very picturesque, and exhibits the artistic styles of several periods. Here is the tomb of the noted Baron Puffendorf, privy councillor and judge of the court of the Great Elector Frederick William. The Domkirche, or cathedral, on the east of the Lustgarten, is an insignificant edifice, erected in 1747, and restored in 1817, in which eighty ancestors of the royal family are buried, and the virtues of some of them recorded on monuments. Frederick William IV. intended to erect a new cathedral more worthy of his great capital, and to this end the foundations were completed, and a part of a burial-ground prepared--the Campo Santo for which Cornelius designed the cartoons already described—but the work was never brought to completion, and the unfinished Campo Santo is now a kind of museum, with casts of the Greek statues and reliefs excavated at Olympia at the cost of the German Government. The two churches in the Gensdarmenmarkt-the Franzokische Kirche and the Neue Kirche—were built in imitation of the twin churches on the Piazza del Popolo at Rome. Each has a domed tower two hundred and thirty feet in height. The Roman Catholic Church of St. Hedwig, behind the Opera House, was erected by Frederick the Great, in imitation of the Pantheon at Rome. The Gothic Klösterkirche, erected by the Franciscans towards the close of the thirteenth century, is the finest and best-preserved mediæval building in Berlin; the oldest portions extant are the choir and stalls, and several tombs, all of the fourteenth century; an incongruous belfry, towers, and vestibule were added at a recent restoration. Of the modern churches no particular account is needed, although it may be noted, in passing, that the slender spire of St. Peter's, three hundred and fifteen feet in height, is the loftiest in Berlin.
There are three synagogues of the Jews: the newest, in the Oranienburger Strasse, is one of the finest modern buildings in the city, and is probably the costliest edifice now belonging to the Hebrew people in the whole world. Its gilded dome is one hundred and fifty-eight feet high; the interior is lavishly decorated with painting and sculpture; it is entered by three bronze doors, divided by columns of green granite; and there is sitting accommodation for three thousand persons.
Of hospitals and kindred institutions Berlin has its fair share; the largest, the Charité, founded in 1710, is capable of accommodating from 1,500 to 1,500 patients; the Bethanien, in the Mariannen Platz, is a large gloomy building outside, but, under the management of the Protestant Sisters of Charity, is admirably organised within, as are also the Elizabeth
and Lazarus Hospitals. In the Augusta Hospital, under the direct care and oversight of the Empress, the sick are ministered to by lady nurses, who do not, however, assume the garb and character of a religious sisterhood.
The Borse, or Exchange, a modern building, erected in 1863 on the bank of the Spree, near the Friedrichsbrücke, is an imposing-looking edifice, and was one of the first of the modern buildings of Berlin built of stone instead of brick and stucco. A double colonnade embellishes the principal façade on the river side; the Great Hall, in the interior, where strangers are admitted to a special gallery, is the largest in the city, measuring two hundred and twenty-six feet in length by eighty-eight feet in width and sixty-six feet in height, and during business hours, when more than three thousand persons are congregated here, the scene is sometimes intensely exciting.
The Chamber of Prussian Deputies is on the Dönhofs Platz, and opposite to it stands a monument to Baron von Stein, the celebrated statesman, who lived from 1757 to 1831, and who laid the foundation of that vational development which Bismarck and others have more fully carried out. Around the pedestal are scenes from Von Stein's life, and allegorical figures representing Patriotism, Energy, Truthfulness, and Piety. The Hall of the Imperial Diet, occupying the site of the old porcelain factory, was hastily erected in 1871. Close by is the Herrenhaus, or Hall of the Upper Chamber.
There are eight public museums in Berlin, in addition to those we have already mentioned. The German Industrial Museum was founded in 1867, and has been largely augmented by purchases made at the great Industrial Exhibitions held in various countries. It is now a very extensive and valuable collection of the products, ancient and modern, of many lands. In connection with this museum there is a School of Design, attended by about eight hundred pupils, and also a valuable library. In the midst of an old garden on the north bank of the Spree stands the Schloss Montbijou, on the site where, in 1700, the Countess Wartenberg erected a villa, which was afterwards enlarged into a residence for Queen Sophia Dorothea, the wife of Frederick William I., and mother of Carlyle's great hero. Two detached buildings (one of which is now used as the English Chapel) were added in 1789 for Queen Frederica Louisa, wife of Frederick William II.
The principal interest of the buildings at the present time attaches to the rooms on the garden front, which are used as the Hohenzollern Museum, and are filled with objects illustrating the history of the dynasty and the national progress during two hundred years, many of them valuable also on the score of artistic merit. In the rooms devoted to the present Emperor and Empress are numerous addresses received by the German Emperor at various epochs in his life; and also the table upon which, at St. Cloud in 1870, Napoleon III. signed his declaration of war with Germany. The various rooms contain a fine collection of portraits, wax models, cabinet-work, early glass, tankards, tapestry, and porcelain, and also a small collection of pictures and curiosities of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; while among the historic relics are the cradle of the Emperor William, a knife and fork used by Napoleon at Waterloo, the clothes worn by Frederick the Great from childhood till death, the sword of the Great Elector, and the turning-lathe of Frederick William I. Many of the factories of Berlin are of great interest. Borsig's Engine Factory, em
. ploying three thousand men, turns out one hundred and sixty locomotives annually. The