Berlin Monument Authority  


Monuments in Berlin

World Heritage

Photos: Partner für Berlin/FTB-Werbefotografie

The special organization of the United Nations for Education, Science, Culture and Communication (UNESCO) established an "International Convention for the Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humankind" in 1972, which since has been signed by 158 countries. The objective was to create a list of cultural and natural treasures, which, beyond their national significance, are of irreplaceable value to humanity as a whole. To date, 630 cultural and natural sites in 118 nations have been registered on this list. Since 1990 these include the Berlin-Potsdam cultural landscape with its palaces and parks, and the Berliner Museuminsel was added in early December 1999.
A tour of Berlin's landscape of historical monuments begins with a presentation of its monuments, which have stirred attention worldwide and for which the state thus bears special responsibility.

Castles and Gardens of Potsdam and Berlin
For three hundred years, the Potsdam-Berlin Havel landscape with its many lakes and forests was the preferred site for the new residences, gardens and parks of electors, kings and emperors of the Hohenzollern Dynasty. Today, avenues and kilometer-long visual axes connect a Gesamtkunstwerk, a synthesis of arts composed of artistic landscape gardens, intricately composed castles, and planned cities and villages. Peter Joseph Lennè combined his grand vision of a beautified "Potsdam Island" with castles, gardens and parks in 1833 by sketching a "beautification plan of Potsdam's environment"; this plan already covered the entire range of today's world cultural heritage realm. Many artists, architects and horticultural architects, not only Lennè, but also Knobelsdorff and Schinkel to name just the most famous, contributed to this walk-in landscape painting with its intricately composed Baroque, Romantic and Classic elements. The Berlin domain consists of the castle, the Leisure Garden and the Park Klein-Glienicke, the Jagdschloss (royal hunting lodge) and Jagdschlosspark in Klein-Glienicke, the Böttcherberg with Loggia Alexandra, Nikolskoe, the village Klein-Glienicke and Pfaueninsel. Two examples will be presented here.

Die Museumsinsel (The Museum Island)
The Berlin Museumsinsel with its five museum structures bears unique intellectual, architectural and urban design testimony to the emergence of the public, metropolitan art museum in Prussia and Germany in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively. For the first time, renowned cultural scholars established an extensive collection of art treasures from all over the world and from all periods compiled according to scientific criteria.
Today's complex of buildings on the Museuminsel is based on the urban planning ideas of the Prussian King Friedrich William IV, who intended to continue the development begin with the Altes Museum (1822-30) as formulated by Schinkel: "to turn the entire Spree Island behind the museum into a sanctuary for art and learning". The realization of this idea yielded the extensive museum complex over a period of around one hundred years. An art acropolis granting insight into the cultures of the world emerged. Progressive technology and modern means of transportation permitted the educated bourgeoisie of the nineteenth century to surround themselves with authentic objects of venerated, high cultures.
Berlin's Museumsinsel, an architectural ensemble of individual, harmoniously constructed museums of outstanding historical and artistic importance located in the center of the city, fulfills the criteria of a cultural monument in accordance with the Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humankind Convention.
Museumsinsel (Museum Island); Photo: Partner für Berlin/FTB-Werbefotografie Prussian Castles and Gardens; Photo: Partner für Berlin/FTB-Werbefotografie Berlin Housing Estates of the 1920s; Photo: Partner für Berlin/FTB-Werbefotografie