Charlottenburg Palace (German: Schloss Charlottenburg) is the largest palace in Berlin, Germany, and the only surviving royal residence in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. It is located in the Charlottenburg district of the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf borough.
The palace was built at the end of the 17th century and was greatly expanded during the 18th century. It includes much exotic internal decoration in baroque and rococo styles. A large formal garden surrounded by woodland was added behind the palace, including a belvedere, a mausoleum, a theatre and a pavilion. During the Second World War, the palace was badly damaged but has since been reconstructed. The palace with its gardens are a major tourist attraction.
The palace and grounds are a major visitor attraction. For an admission charge, parts of the interior of the palace are open to visitors, including the Old Palace (Alte Schloss) and the New Wing (Neuer Flügel). The Old Palace contains many rooms with baroque decoration, and includes a room called the Porcelain Cabinet, which holds thousands of porcelain objects. On special display are the crown jewels and the royal silver and fine porcelain tableware. The New Wing includes the opulent rococo State Apartments of Frederick the Great and the more modest Winter Chambers of Friedrich Wilhelm II.
The formal and informal gardens are freely open to the public. For an admission charge, the Mausoleum, the Belvedere and the Neue Pavilion are open to visitors. The Mausoleum contains the graves of, and memorials to, members of the Hohenzollern family. The memorial to Queen Luise includes her reclining effigy, which is made from Carrara marble and was designed by Christian Daniel Rauch. Also open to the public are the Belvedere, which contains a collection of Berlin porcelain, and the Neue Pavilion, which houses a collection of arts and crafts of the period when Schinkel was active.
The former Palace Theatre is now the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, which is a museum of prehistoric archaeology. The former Orangery houses a restaurant and café. Destroyed during World War II, the Great Orangery was reconstructed on the model of the baroque building. Today, it shines in its old brilliance again. The light-flooded festival room provides a pleasant framework for cultural events, concerts and banquets.
A large equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm I is the focus of the palace courtyard. This was designed by Andreas Schlüter and made between 1696 and 1700. From 1703, it stood on the Langen Brücke (now the Rathausbrücke) but was moved to a place of safety in the Second World War. On its return after the war, the barge carrying it sunk and it was not salvaged until 1949. In 1952, it was erected on its present site. Across the street of the palace are two more museums, the Bröhan Museum, which contains art nouveau and art deco articles, and the Berggruen Museum, which houses modern art, in particular works by Picasso and Klee.