Unter den Linden
Zeughaus (Armory), Unter den Linden 2, Mitte;
1695-1706 by Johann Arnold Nering, Martin Grünberg and Andreas Schlüter, conversion 1730 by Jean de Bodt, reconstruction from 1950 by Otto Haesler
"When we step into [the square at the Zeughaus] from the southern part of the island, we face the great, beautiful Zeughaus, of which is said that its excellent architecture, external ornamentation and interior layout and furnishings make it one of Europe's most beautiful buildings." This unique radiance described by Fidicin in 1843 is still projected today by the Zeughaus Unter den Linden constructed from 1695 until 1706 by Johann Arnold Nering, Martin Grünberg, Andreas Schlüter and Jean de Bodt. The building was contracted by the Great Elector Friedrich III, who became the first Prussian king in 1701. The structure, erected as a weapons arsenal and repository for the Berlin fort, is the oldest building on Unter den Linden and, along with the castle lost after the war, one of the city's most important Baroque structures. The monumental, two-story, four-winged structure with its square ground plan rests majestically on a sandstone base. The façade structure, fully committed to the French Classical school of the seventeenth century, is largely the work of Jean de Bodt. The rich sculpture ornamentation, completed in accordance with the general conception of the sculptor Andreas Schlüter, depicts martial themes in keeping with the original use of the building. The helmets and heads of dying warriors on the exterior façade of the ground floor and in the inner courtyard, based on models by Schlüter, are pinnacles of Baroque sculpture in Berlin.
The reconstruction of the building after damage in the Second World War began in 1948. In 1950 the Zeughaus became the "Museum for German History".