Inside the Cathedral

This is Berliner Dom, the Protestant cathedral on Museum Island.  (At this point, I should probably insert the inevitable “heavily damaged during WWII” descriptor.  Let’s just assume I do that whenever I mention anything in Berlin that pre-dates 1945.  Until I visited the city, I’d never really understood how totally Berlin was devastated during the war.)

A temporary roof was installed in the early 50s, to replace the burnt original, but actual (simplified) reconstruction didn’t begin until 1975.  There’s some irony here:  The northern wing of the Dom had survived the war intact, but because it was a “hall of honour” for the Hohenzollern dynasty, the communist government demolished it at the same time the rest of the cathedral was being restored.   The demolition cost 16 times the cost of the restoration.

What affected me most at the Dom wasn’t the nave, but what I experienced on the way out of the building.  You exit through the crypt.  It’s a large, unadorned, dimly lit area that feels like a warehouse.   It contains almost a hundred sarcophagi or burial monuments of Prussian royalty, dating back to the 16th Century.  As I walked through it, I was v aware that I was surrounded by the bodies dozens of dead kings and queens, princes and emperors.  Chilling.


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