Not just a pretty market at Christmas time, Gendarmenmarkt (not too far away from Friedrichstraße) is one of the most beautiful places in not just Berlin, but the whole of Europe! It was created in the 17th century and is a fantastic square surrounded by three of the most famous landmarks.
Also known as the German Cathedral, Deutscher Dom sits on the south side of Gendarmenmarkt and acts a museum that houses some of Germany’s most detailed history. Of course it hasn’t always played the role of a museum and was once an actively used cathedral until a fire destroyed it in 1945. Astonishingly it wasn’t until the 90’s that the cathedral was rebuilt and was from then on used as a museum.
The structure of the building was intricately designed by a chap named Martin Grünberg and bares a striking similarity to its neighbor – the French Cathedral.
The Französischer Dom
Translated as the French Cathedral, the Französischer Dom sits opposite its neighbor Deutscher Dom and is the oldest out of the two. Though seemingly identical to the Deutscher Dom, the Französischer Dom took its design from the destroyed church of Huguenot in Charenton. The Französischer Dom also contains a museum, as well as a restaurant and even an observation post! The museum is based on the Huguenot church and is definitely not to be missed if you’re interested in the part of German history that extends beyond the war.
Unlike the other two neighbouring landmarks, Konzerthaus was constructed many years later in 1821. Designed by the ever so famous Karl-Friedrich Schinkel, the Konzerthaus is one of the most adored buildings in Berlin. Unfortunately, Gendarmenmarkt took a heavy beating during World War 2 and so Konzerthaus became badly damaged. It wasn’t until the early 80’s that Konzerthaus had a nice little make over and was then transformed into what is known today as a concert hall. The Berlin Symphony Orchestra currently perform shows here as well as practice.
As I mentioned earlier, the Gendarmenmarkt is renowned for its fabulous Christmas market. Though Berlin has over a whopping 60 Christmas markets to choose from, you would be a fool not to visit the Gendarmenmarkt. All three landmarks illuminate in Christmas lights as the festive atmosphere is made up of live bands, toy makers hard at work and even dancing! Oddly enough you are charged an entry fee of 1 Euro, but once in you can’t help but become absorbed in festivity. Of course what would a German market be without a roasting pig and mulled wine (Glühwein), so expect plenty of that at this fantastic Christmas market. On two occasions now, we’ve walked away with the novelty Glühwein mugs as they are great souvenirs of the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market.
So whether you want to spend the day absorbing the German sunshine and exploring the beautiful square of the Gendarmenmarkt, or just enjoy the Christmas market, you’re sure to have a fantastic time! Make sure you don’t forget to stop by some of the many lovely little cafés that surround Gendarmenmarkt and pose for a photo with the statue of Friedrich Schiller found in the middle of the square!