Gedächtniskirche: The bell tower church bombed during World War II
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The church was deliberately left in ruins after the bombing of the Second World War to remember the horrors of war. If you have seen Wim Wenders' "The Sky Over Berlin", you will surely have noticed it in its grandeur at the beginning of the film when the angel Damiel looks at the Berliners from the ruins of the bell tower.
From destruction to conservation
La Memorial Church it was built in memory of Emperor William I between 1891 and 1895 and was originally a monument of extraordinary size. After the war it was decided to tear down its ruins and rebuild a new church but the Berliners opposed it, forcing the authorities to review their decisions. Thus the final project left the “surviving” tower intact and a new modern-style church was built next to it.
photo di Henk de Boer via flickr
The ancient church
Renamed by the Berliners "der hohle Zahn" (the pierced tooth), the old tower houses the Memorial hall, A kind of museum-memorial where ancient liturgical objects are exhibited, photographs of the church and its surroundings taken before and after the war, old mosaics and important historical documents. Inside there are also some symbols of reconciliation with countries once enemies of war, including a cross of nails from the ruins of Coventry cathedral and the famous Our Lady of Stalingrad.
The modern church
It is a modern octagonal building characterized by a particular blue light that illuminates the whole structure, creating an atmosphere of contemplation and silence.
photo by Marko via flickr
The walls of the church are dotted with 20.000 windows made of colored glass. A large one hangs above the altar bronze statue of the Risen Christ who seems to float in the air.
Symbol of peace and reconciliation
A wounded but imposing church symbol of reconciliation, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church it represents a testimony of the atrocities of war and an extraordinary warning not to forget.
What to see around the Memorial Church
The Gedächtniskirche is located at Breitscheidplatz in the Charlottenburg district. The area is full of restaurants, art galleries and shopping outlets including the famous KaDeWe and l ' Europa Center, two of the most famous shopping malls in the city. Nearby you will find the Berlin Zoological Garden (Berlin zoo), the Schloss Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Palace) andErnst-Reuter-Platz, the large square dedicated to the first mayor of West Berlin.
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