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Schloss Charlottenburg information
The grandest of Berlin’s surviving royal pads consists of the main palace and three smaller buildings dotted around the lovely palace park. The Schloss has origins as the summer residence of Sophie Charlotte, wife of King Friedrich I, and was later enlarged by Frederick the Great. Highlights include opulently furnished private royal apartments, richly festooned festival halls, collections of precious porcelain and paintings by French 18th-century masters and lots of silver, vases, tapestries and other items representative of a royal lifestyle.
The palace's oldest section, the Altes Schloss, is an extravaganza in stucco, brocade and overall opulence. Highlights include the Oak Gallery, a wood-panelled festival hall draped in family portraits; the lovely Oval Hall with views of the gardens; Friedrich I’s bedchamber, with the first-ever bathroom in a baroque palace; and the fabulous Porcelain Chamber, smothered top to bottom in Chinese and Japanese blue ware.
Charlottenburg's most beautiful rooms are the flamboyant private chambers of Frederick the Great, designed in 1746 by the period's star architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff. Standouts include the confection-like White Hall banquet room, the mirrored and gilded Golden Gallery and the paintings by Watteau, Pesne and other 18th-century French masters. In the same wing, the apartments of Queen Luise (1776–1810), wife of King Friedrich Wilhelm III, are decked out with lavish chandeliers, period furniture and hand-painted silk wall coverings.
The adjacent Schinkel-designed Neuer Pavillon served as a summer retreat of Friedrich Wilhelm III and now houses paintings from the Romantic and Biedermeier periods.
In fine weather, a spin around the sprawling palace park with its shady walkways, flower beds and manicured lawns is a must. In the northeast corner, you’ll stumble upon the pint-size palace called Belvedere, now an elegant setting for porcelain masterpieces by the royal manufacturer KPM.
Across the carp pond awaits the 1810 neoclassical Mausoleum, where various royals, including Emperor Wilhelm I and his wife, are entombed in ornate marble sarcophagi.
Each building charges separate admission, but it’s best to invest in the charlottenburg+ day pass for access to everything except the Neuer Flügel. The place gets busy, so come early on weekends and in summer.