Every Christmas, the Berlin Cathedral boasts thousands of colorful lights projecting different patterns and images on the outside of its spectacular and historic building. Christmastime brings thousands of visitors to the cathedral year after year, with good reason.

The monumental cathedral church in Berlin is a major attraction for the city with an opulently decorated interior, fascinating history and remarkable architecture.

The large dome of the cathedral is one of the main landmarks in Berlin’s cityscape. With its elaborate decorative and ornamental designs, the church interior is especially worth seeing and is considered city’s most important Protestant church.

Although the church is known as a cathedral, it actually is a parish church, but not just any parish. This was a representative stage for the Hohenzollern dynasty, the rulers of Prussia and later the German Emperors. Today, as the High Parish and Cathedral Church, the church serves the Protestant community in Berlin and the surrounding areas.

The history of the Berlin Cathedral dates back to the 15th century. The previous buildings were part of the Berlin City Palace. But, in the early 19th century, Prussia’s leading architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, redesigned the building into a neoclassical cathedral.

Wilhelm II came to throne as emperor of Germany in 1888 when the cathedral was more than 50 years old. Wilhelm considered several designs that had been proposed for a new church, though none had been accepted. The emperor also found the church far too modest and insisted on a colossal new church to represent the monarchy’s power and prestige. The lavish, impressive structure was Berlin’s answer to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The old building was demolished in 1893, and 11 years later the new church was dedicated. The church was severely damaged during the Second World War. The work on restoring the church began in 1975 and was completed in 1993, just four years after the Berlin Wall fell.

With its strong and vibrant musical tradition, the cathedral church offers a regular program of concerts, including the Advent and Christmas season, including a traditional Christmas Mass. For more information, visit www.berlinerdom.de/en/.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.