Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt has many interesting aspects and is often the home to exciting events. Here you’ll learn which sights and festivals you simply must see.
The French Cathedral
A visit to Gendarmenmarkt is not complete without taking in the French Cathedral, or Französischer Dom. The imposing domed towers of the French and German Cathedrals were first erected under Friedrich II in order to reflect the rising Prussian influence. It is believed that the Prussian king took inspiration from Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, which features similar twin structures. In any case, the climb to the 40 metre high observation deck of the French Cathedral is worthwhile and offers a stunning view over the whole of Berlin-Mitte. On the ground floor of the French Cathedral, you will still find the French Friedrichstadt Church, which is still used as a place of worship by the French-Reformed Huguenot community in Berlin.
The German Cathedral
The German Cathedral, or Deutscher Dom, is no less impressive and has been home to the permanent exhibition Milestones, Setbacks and Sidetracks since 2002. Over five levels, you can learn about the development of parliamentary democracy in Germany. The exhibition, which has already been visited by around 7 million people, acts as an extension of the well-known exhibit Questioning History, which was originally on display in the Reichstag since 1971 and moved to the German Cathedral in 1996.
To see some of the best events and performances, you must visit the Konzerthaus, a concert hall also known by its former name Schauspielhaus. Here, you can often enjoy of Beethoven classics performances by the renowned Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra in the main theatre. The smaller theatre is home to high-calibre chamber music performances, including Jean Françaix’s Bläserquintett Nr. 1. A number of famous musicians from the international jazz scene are also regular guests and perform at events, such as the Rush Hour series, which is held every Thursday in the Music Club. This diversity ensures the concert hall remains one of the most interesting places in Berlin.
Classic Open Air
If you simply can’t get enough of music, then you definitely can’t miss the Class Open Air concert at Gendarmenmarkt. Every summer, the concert hall’s long staircase transforms into a wonderful stage. You can relax in comfortable seats and watch the sun going down below the horizon, all while beautiful music fills the air. Over the course of five evenings, the renowned orchestra present a colourful mix of classical music, opera and pop. Performances aren’t limited to the serene – even the legendary funk/soul band Earth, Wind & Fire have played here and wowed the audience with their vibrant stage presence.
The Magic Christmas Market
Even in winter, there is no room for boredom at Gendarmenmarkt. During Advent, it features the atmospheric Magic Christmas Market. Rows of seasonally decorated wooden huts present traditional handicrafts from across Germany. Moreover, you and your loved ones can enjoy tasty Christmas specialities from a number of food stands. The changing program of Christmas bands, dance performances and theatre productions make for a lively lead up to Christmas. It’s no wonder that residents here rate the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market as the most beautiful in Berlin.