Schloss Schönhausen information
Surrounded by a lovely park, this palace packs a lot of German history into its pint-sized frame. Originally a country estate of Prussian nobles, in 1740 it became the summer residence of Frederick II’s estranged wife Elisabeth Christine, then fell into a long slumber after her death in 1797. The Nazis stored ‘degenerate’ art in the by now neglected structure, which became the seat of East Germany’s first president, Wilhelm Pieck, in 1949, before later serving as a state guesthouse.
After yet another mega-makeover, the palace sparkles in renewed splendour. The downstairs rooms, where the queen had her private quarters, reflect the 18th-century style with partly original furniture and wallpaper. More interesting – largely for their uniqueness – are the upstairs rooms where GDR fustiness is alive in the heavy furniture of Pieck’s 1950s office and in the baby-blue bedspread in the Gentlemen’s Bedroom where Castro, Ceauşescu, Gaddafi and other ‘bad boys’ slept.
To get to the palace, which is in Pankow just north of Prenzlauer Berg, catch tram M1 to the Tschaikowksistrasse stop, then walk about 300m east on Tschaikowskistrasse.