Statue at the gates of Schloss Charlottenburg
Schloss Charlottenburg is the largest existing palace in Berlin. It is located in the Charlottenburg district of the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf area.
Initially, under the name of Lietzenburg, the palace was constructed in the Italian Baroque style by the architect Arnold Nering commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg. After Friedrich's coronation in 1701 as King Friedrich I of Prussia and Charlotte his Queen, the palace, which was initially conceived as a summer retreat from Berlin (Sommerhaus) was expanded by the architect Eosander von Göthe into a magnificent building. After the death of his wife in 1705, Friedrich named the Schloss and the accompanying estate Charlottenburg in her memory. From 1709 to 1712 further building expansion was carried out, during which the characteristic turrets and the orangery appeared.
Inside the Charlottenburg Palace used to be what was described as "the eighth wonder of the world" — the Bernsteinzimmer, a room with its walls surfaced in decorative amber. The idea came from Danzig and Königsberg, where Gottfried Wolffram, Ernst Schacht and Gottfried Turau prepared the plans in 1701-09. The room was executed under the supervision of Andreas Schlüter.
After the death of Friedrich I in 1713 Charlottenburg entered a new existence under its next owner, King Friedrich Wilhelm I. He gave the Amber Room in 1716 to Tsar Peter the Great as a present. Yet right after his death in 1740, the newly crowned King Friedrich II allowed Charlottenburg to be expanded by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, whereupon east of the palace rose the New Wing. Subsequently, Friedrich's interest in Charlottenburg was extinguished in favour of the Schloss Sanssouci at Potsdam (completed by 1747).
The palace was in its best finished form under Friedrich Wilhelm II with the completion of the western palace theatre and the small orangery of Carl Gotthard Langhans.
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