Berlin's Jagdschloss Grunewald (Grunewald Hunting Lodge) is one of the 32 historical Prussian palaces, residences and parks which belonged to the Hohenzollern dynasty in Berlin and the surrounding Potsdam and Brandenburg area. The palaces include Cecilienhof, where the 1945 Potsdam Conference was held, and have been run since 1955 by the Stiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg (Foundation of Prussian Palaces and Gardens). The Prussian residences first became state property in 1918 to be turned into museums accessible to the public. They include over 300 buildings and 700 hectares of gardens. In 1990 they became UNESCO world heritage sites.
Grunewald Hunting Lodge exhibitions
Grunewald Hunting Lodge is the oldest of the Prussian palaces in Berlin. The palace was turned into an art gallery in 1932 and today paintings include works of art from the 15th to 18th century with unmissable oil paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder depicting the royal family. The main attraction is in the building adjacent to the Hunting lodge – the Hunting Storehouse – with an exhibition about the different royal hunt traditions. Amongst the exhibits, partly resurrected from excavations in the former moat, are paintings including a portrait of Elector Joachim II, furniture, porcelain and a guns collection.
Grunewald Hunting Lodge was a royal hunting base
The tradition of the courtly hunt at the courts of the Prussian Electors and Kings dates back to 1542. Built as a Renaissance palace by Elector Joachim II (1505 -1571) the picturesque zum "Gruenen Wald" is idyllically set on Grunewald lake. Baroque period alterations were added around the year 1700. A main pastime of the Prussian rulers, it was here that Prince Carl of Prussia reintroduced the "Parforcejagd" – from the French "par force de chiens" (forced by dogs) - in 1828. Also known as coursing, the prey was first rounded up using enclosures and then killed by the hunters.
The building's façade is pristine white. Its most interesting Renaissance features include the only surviving Hall from this period recognizable from a painted ceiling accidentally rediscovered during restoration work carried out in 1973. The other two are a polygonal staircase tower and a two-storey portal marked 1542, originally part of the drawbridge over the moat. The original renaissance palace would most likely have had sandstone-framed windows smaller than the ones we see today as well as gables. The mansard roof belongs to the period of baroque alterations and the baroque ceilings are plain stucco. The outbuildings are still standing, including the high-gabled kitchen.