Palast der Republik

The “Old” Palace

Berliner Stadtschloss (1443-1950)

Before the Palace of the Republic, there once stood the Berliner Stadtschloss, a royal palace in the heart of Berlin. The palace housed the royals of the then Prussia up until 1918. After the fall of the German Empire in 1918, the palace became a museum. During World War II, the palace was heavy bombed when the allies started bombing Berlin. After the Soviet union claimed East Berlin, the government decided to demolish the palace despite the people’s disagreement. The palace could have been repaired but the government didn’t want Prussian symbolism in a Communist era.




Construction of the Palast der Republik

The new palace was designed by Heniz Graffunder and Karl Ernst Swora, East Berlin’s finest architects. The architects wanted to capture the style of International Modernism and make it East German’s “showpiece”. The new palace was to built over the Berliner Stadtschloss, on Spree island. Construction of the building started in 1973; April 23, 1976 was the  day the Grand opening was held and it was opened to the public on April 25th. The building had bronzed-mirrors windows  all over the exterior, and exactly 1001 lamps hanging in the foyer. the building was able to hold the People’s assembly in one end and 5000 visitors in another end. The building was 5 stories with hidden exicment in each floor.

The Revel of the New Palace

The public was surprised to find that the palace was a “wonderland” compared to the drabness and limitation of “fun” in East Germany. The palace had 13 restaurants, a bowling alley, art galleries, an arcade, and a theater under the roof. The Palace held concerts, shows, cultural events, graduations, and weddings; the government even allowed a West German rock band to perform! The New Palace had become the place to be and seen at.

By Walter Sans-own work, CC-BY-SA

Out with New and in with Newer

After the two Berlins became one again, the reunited government thought it would be best to demolish the building due to high amounts f asbestos. Due to criticism about how the palace has GDR history, the palace was not demolished, and instead having the asbestos removed. But the government still did there best to have the palace removed by placing a committee that would influence the Parliament in 2002 to demolish the building and rebuild a modern Berliner Stadtschloss. Protesters hated the idea of the destroying history and the idea of building a new palace. Government officials ignored the cries of the people, especially ex-East Germans and demolished the building anyways. Construction of the Berliner Stadtschloss started in 2008, with plans to open in 2014, but sometimes things don’t work out. The Berliner Stadtschloss is now expected to open to the public in 2019 (fingers crossed).

Photo taken by authors