The Kronenprinzpalais (Crown Princes’ Palace) next to the Staatsoper, located along the Unter den Linden overlooking Bebelplatz and the adjacent Prinzessinenpalais (Crown Princesses’ Palace) are impressive Town Palaces, the former residences of Hohenzollern royal family members. The Princes’ Palace was converted from a townhouse by Philip Gerlach in 1732, to become a town palace for Crown Prince Friedrich, the future Friedrich the Great (1740-1786). It remained a royal residence until 1918 when the Hohenzollern dynasty came to an end. The Crown Princesses’ Palace – today’s Opern Café immediately to the right of the Staatsoper had been built for the daughters of Friedrich Wilhelm III (1797-1840) in 1811 with an extension, the attractive covered bridge, connecting it to the Princes’ Palace. The present building is the 1969 reconstruction by Richard Paulick.

Major alterations to the Crown Princes’ Palace took place 1856-57 under Johan Heinrich Strack. The original sloping roof was replaced by a third floor and the façade was embellished. Amongst the most impressive features are the colossal pilasters, the columned portico, and thick entablature with classical ornaments. In 1859 Wilhelm I, the first German Kaiser, was born here. Among the features preserved from the original 1733 townhouse are the outdoor staircases, the balcony, the ionic columns ad the attic balustrade.

After the end of the Hohenzollern dynasty in 1918, the Princes’ Palace was transformed into the Fine Art Department of the National Gallery housing the world’s first permanent contemporary art collection. It is said to have influenced the foundation of MOMA in New York. From 1919 to 1937 paintings by Oskar Kokoshka, Otto Dix and Paul Klee were amongst the collection. This was also the Berlin venue for the controversial “Entartete Kunst” or “Degenerate Art” exhibition, to use the Nazis’ term. The Nazis’ aesthetic sense clashed with the avant-garde of the 20s and 30s especially Expressionism and the regime responded by mocking and then closing down the exhibition in 1937.

The building was shattered by WWII bombardments but was rebuilt in the 1960s by the GDR State under Richard Paulick’s direction and during the GDR days it provided accommodation for distinguished foreign dignitaries including Indira Gandhi. The formal German reunification agreement was signed here on August 31, 1990.

The more immediately recognizable former Crown Princess’ Palace, is the renamed Opernpalais serving one of the best cake and Torte selections in Berlin in plush surroundings. The Opera Café just next to the Staatsoper Opera House. The former palace gardens are now a Café Terrace and a summer beer garden.

( Text: )
Adresse: Kronprinzenpalais
Unter den Linden 3
10117  Berlin
Architekt: Ph. Gerlach, J.H. Strack, R. Paulick, F.W. Diterichs, H. Gentz, K. F. Langhans
Stil: baroque, classizism

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