The Berlin City Palace, home to Prussian kings and German emperors, served not just as the residence of imperial leaders for centuries but was the city’s most cherished landmark.
It’s difficult to overstate the majesty of the Berliner Stadtschloss, a brilliant example of Baroque architecture with approximately 12,000 rooms and 250,000 square feet of floor space.
For five centuries the palace was not only a central part of Berlin’s identity, but also served as the focal point of its architecture, with the city center’s ensemble of historical building and main avenues growing up around the palace for more than 500 years, according to the Epoch Times.
Though heavily damaged in World War II, the palace’s structure remained intact. In 1950, the East German communist regime pulled it down to both make space for a grand square for military parades in the heart of Berlin and to rid the city of the reminder of Prussian militarism.
East German Communist Party chief Walter Ulbricht ignored all protests, even from within the party, to save the palace. Due to the thickness of the walls, up to 10 feet in places, the demolition process took 10 months, according to the Times.
Now, more than 60 years later, the Berlin City Palace is being rebuilt entirely from scratch, in a massive, ambitious project expected to cost upwards of $1 billion.