November 28, 2017

3207 GERMANY (Berlin) - Berlin Cathedral after the bombing of May 25, 1944

Berlin Cathedral is located on Museum Island in the Mitte borough, and has never been a cathedral in the actual sense of that term since it has never been the seat of a bishop. The current building was finished in 1905 and is a main work of Historicist architecture of the "Kaiserzeit". At 114m long, 73m wide and 116m tall, it was much larger than any of the previous buildings and was considered a Protestant counterweight to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

Its history dates back to 1451, when Prince-Elector Frederick II Irontooth of Brandenburg moved with his residence to Cölln (today's Fishers' Island) into the newly erected City Palace, which also housed a Catholic chapel. In 1454 the chapel became a parish church, and two years later Pope Paul II attributed it a canon-law College, which was similar to a cathedral, bestowed the church its colloquial naming, Domkirche (cathedral church).

In 1538, a new western façade with two towers was attached to the church, which in the next year became Lutheran. In 1608, the college was dissolved and the church became Berlin's first, and until 1695 only Calvinist church. In 1667 the dilapidated double-tower façade was torn down and in 1717 Martin Böhme erected a new baroque façade with two towers. In 1747 the church was demolished to clear space for the baroque extension of the Berlin Palace.

In 1750 the new baroque Calvinist Supreme Parish Church was inaugurated. In 1817 the community joined the common umbrella organization named Evangelical Church in Prussia (under this name since 1821). The building was demolished in 1893 and Julius and Otto Raschdorff, father and son, built the present Supreme Parish and Cathedral Church in exuberant forms of high Neo-Renaissance style.

On 24 May 1944, a bomb of combustible liquids entered the roof lantern of the dome. The fire couldn't be extinguished at that unreachable section of the dome, so the lantern burnt out and collapsed into the main floor. Between 1949 and 1953 a temporary roof was built, and in 1967 was decided the reconstruction of the church, then located in East Berlin. The government of the GDR didn't oppose, so in 1975 reconstruction started, and in 1980 the baptistery and wedding church was reopened for services.

About the stamp
The stamps are part of the series Blumen, about which I wrote here.

Berlin Cathedral - Wikipedia

Sender: Marius Vasilescu
Sent from Berlin (Berlin / Germany), on 2017

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