Berlin Monument Authority  




Sophienkirche; Photo: Wolfgang Bittner
Sophienkirche (Church of Sophie),
Große Hamburger Straße 29-31, Mitte; 1712, tower 1732-34 by Friedrich Grael, completion of the interior 1892 by F. Schulze, Adolf Heyden and Kurt Berndt

The new dignity of the throne occasioned Friedrich, the first King of Prussia, to gradually transform Berlin into a befitting residence. Monumental new structures like the castle and the armory emerged in the center of the city, raising Berlin's status among the European residences. The king also included the suburbs in his plans. In 1712, his wife Sophie Luise donated a new parish church to the residents of the suburb Spandau. The simple gallery hall conformed to the contemporary conception of a Protestant ministry church. The stately tower with its arched copper hood was added approximately thirty years later at the expense of the otherwise spartan soldier king, and has survived as the only original baroque tower in Berlin. The nave was changed to a neo-baroque style in 1893. The pulpit must be singled out for special mention among the décor preserved from this period. Significant Berlin personalities have found their final resting place in the cemetery surrounding the church, among them, the director of the Singing Academy and friend of Goethe, Karl Friedrich Zelter and the historian Leopold von Ranke. Sophienstrasse still evokes the delightful character of old Berlin, featuring elements of the past three centuries.