Berlin Monument Authority  


Unter den Linden

St. Hedwigs-Kathedrale

St. Hedwigs-Kathedrale

St. Hedwigs-Kathedrale (St. Hedwig's Cathedral), Bebelplatz, Mitte;
1747-73 by Johann Boumann the Elder according to plans by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff

In 1747 King Friedrich II ceded a free area behind the Opera to the Catholic congregation, which did not yet have its own place of worship in Berlin. In accordance with specifications from the king, Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff designed the central structure in imitation of the Pantheon in Rome. Johann Boumann the Elder took over the execution of these plans in 1747-73. In 1929, St. Hedwig's Church was elevated to a cathedral, the church of the bishopric of Berlin.

Bombings in March 1943 gutted the cathedral down to the enclosing walls. Its restoration in 1952-63 was planned by the Düsseldorf architect Hans Schwippert. The external architecture was restored to resemble its historical appearance; except for the dome, whose new concrete shell construction gave it a new silhouette. The façade is characterized by a simple plaster ashlar, high, unadorned Romanesque windows and an entablature running around the entire structure. The portico is accentuated architecturally, with its triangular gable supported by six Ionic three-quarter columns. The intercolumniation alternates between Romanesque portals and statue niches with vertical rectangular supraportals decorated with reliefs of scenes from the New Testament.

When the interior was redecorated after the war, the preserved architectural elements like wall niches, double columns and the dome were renovated in contemporary designs. The most noticeable change was that the crypt was inaugurated as a subterranean church, generously expanding the central space.