Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, also known as Gedächtniskirche, is a famous landmark in Charlottenburg, the center of former West Berlin. Allied forces bombed the late 19th-century neo-Romanesque church in 1943 during World War II. A new octagonal church tower was built beside the ruins of the church in the early 1960s. Visit the old church tower and the modern bell tower to see a symbol of Berlin’s destruction and determination to rebuild.
Kaiser Wilhelm II built the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in honor of his grandfather, the former German Emperor and King of Prussia. Admire the church’s ornate details and notice how the building contrasts with the surrounding modern shopping district. The church was almost burned to the ground after it was bombed in 1943. The damaged entrance hall and spire, known locally as the “hollow tooth,” was preserved and two new structures were built on either side of the ruins.
Explore the modern church and its foyer to discover the eye-catching interiors of the building. The octagonal church features a beautiful honeycomb of blue, red and yellow-colored glass inlays. See the figure of Christ and the gilt-silver and crystal-encrusted cross on the altar.
On the other side of the ruins, find the immense 173.8-foot (53-meter) bell tower and its chapel. The belfry has six bronze bells, which can be heard ringing for different festive, worship or commemorative occasions.
Visit the memorial hall housed inside the damaged original church spire. See intricate biblical mosaics and bas-relief sculptures. Discover 16 panels that represent the church’s history and its destruction, as well as symbols portraying war and peace.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is located in Breitscheidplatz in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district, near to the Berlin Zoologischer Garten. Entry to the church is free. Services are scheduled twice a day on Sundays. The church is open daily and regularly hosts concerts, such as choral and organ recitals, in the modern structure.
Join a free 30-minute tour around the church and memorial or book a group tour for a small fee. Check the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church official website for details on the times and departure point for the free tours.