It embodies power, religion and spirituality: Berlin Cathedral on Museum Island in the heart of the historic capital wows visitors with more than just its glorious appearance. Berlin's largest church represents 500 years of history in Brandenburg and Prussia, and is renowned as one of the most important dynastic burial sites in Germany.
Berlin Cathedral polarises opinion. Some call it glorious with its Baroque palace architecture on the outside and its lavish furnishings on the inside. While others find it gaudy and struggle with its opulence, especially given that Berlin Cathedral is the central hub of the German Evangelical church and its walls are adorned with figures of the four reformers: Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli and Calvin.
In any case, the historic importance of Berlin Cathedral as a burial site for the electoral family of Hohenzollern is beyond any doubt. 94 burials were held here over five centuries; the flamboyant sarcophagi and gravestones attest to this. Founded in 1465, Berlin Cathedral converted to Lutheranism in 1539. The new cathedral with its imposing architecture – a mixture of Italian Neo-Renaissance and Baroque – was consecrated in 1905. The 70 metre tall dome and the magnificent altar with its unique stained-glass windows are striking. The Baptismal and Matrimonial Chapel's ceremonial atmosphere provides an oasis of silence and calm. The views of Museum Island, the Reichstag government building, the Rotes Rathaus town hall, the New Synagogue and the city itself from the dome walkway are unbeatable, even though you have to climb 270 steps for this reward.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 9am to 8pm; Sundays and bank holidays, 12pm to 8pm; 1 October to 31 March: 9am to 7pm
Entry: paid (goes to the upkeep of the cathedral)
Nearest train station: Berlin
Accessible tourist attraction, signposted