A symbol of reconciliation
The protestant Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a memorial to peace and reconciliation. And it also stands for the will of the Berliners to rebuild their city during the period after the war.
This is seen by the fact that the church not only consists of the ruins of the church which was destroyed during World War II but it also includes contemporary church architecture. It is thus a living contrast between modernism and history.
The neo-Romanesque church meant to glorify the first German emperor was built between 1891 and 1895 and was designed by Franz Schwechten. After the church was destroyed in a bombing raid in 1943, the ruins, which served as a testament to the horrors of war, were going to be demolished in 1956 so as to make room for a new structure. However, the people of Berlin protested fervently in favour of integrating the ruins into the new church.
The modern structure was built between 1959 and 1961 and was designed by Egon Eiermann. The church consists of honeycomb-like concrete elements, in which glass blocks can be found. Inside the octagonal nave of the church, the coloured glass blocks produce an intense blue light and meditative calm. The memorial hall in the old tower is a place reminding visitors of the horrors of war and destruction.
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