The French Cathedral is one of three major buildings on Gendarmenmarkt. It was erected as a place of worship for French Huguenots.
© visitberlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien © picture alliance / dpa © dpa
The French Cathedral stands on Gendarmenmarkt
in Berlin-Mitte, one of the most beautiful squares in the capital. Contrary to its name, the cathedral never had an religious function - the name refers to the dome of the tower. The French Cathedral forms a spectacular ensemble with its neighboring buildings, the German Cathedral and the Schauspielhaus.
The French Cathedral is one of Berlin's most impressive buildings. Its misleading name can be traced back to its construction method: the name "cathedral" translates to "Dom" in German and refers to the architectural form of the tower (French "dôme"). Moreover, if you look at the building closely, you will see that it is actually two buildings in one. While the French Cathedral orefers to the tower and the dome, the lower part of the building is actually a church: the French Church of Friedrichstadt. The tower itself houses the Huguenot Museum. Visitors can enjoy a great view over Berlin's city center from the observation deck.
History of the French Cathedral
The French Church of Friedrichstadt was built on Gendarmenmarkt between 1701 and 1705 for the French Huguenots according to the plans of Jean Cayart and Abraham Quesnay. The Reformed character of the church is supported by the simplicity of its interior, which is completely devoid of images or crosses. In 1905, a neo-baroque remodeling of the church was undertaken by Otto March. All the church, except for the outer walls, was destroyed in the Second World War. A reconstruction took place starting in 1978.
Two Pretty Towers without Function
Between 1780 and 1785, King Frederick II had two almost identical but functionless towers added to the German and French churches. Thus, it was not until 80 years after the construction of the French Church of Friedrichstadt that the buildings that today characterize the appearance of the Gendarmenmarkt were built. The cemetery of the Huguenot community had to make way for the construction of the French Cathedral. In return, the community received the right to use the cathedral free of charge for all time.
The French Cathedral Toay
Like the French Church of Friedrichstadt, the French Cathedral,+ was almost destroyed during World War II. It was reconstructed between 1981 and 1987. Today, the tower of the French Cathedral houses the Huguenot Museum, which shows the history and life of French immigrants in Berlin. A highlight for visitors is the cathedral's observation deck, which is open to the public for an entrance fee and offers a great panoramic view over Berlin.
- Opening Hours
- daily from 11 AM to 6 PM
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Last edited: 1. July 2022