An unexpected remnant of the city palace

The Leibknecht balcony - remnant of the Stadtschloss

For centuries, Berlin's enormous city palace stood at the head of the stately boulevard Unter den Linden.

Badly damaged during WWII - although certainly salvageable - it was eventually dynamited by the East German authorities, who regarded it as symbolic of Prussian imperialism.

Now, however, a long-delayed reconstruction of the Stadtschloss is finally underway, so in the not too distant future we'll once again be able to gaze at its ornate exteriors.

To a tiny degree, however, we already can.

Part of Berlin's demolished city palace still remains today

More history: In 1918, Karl Liebknecht, co-founder of Germany's first Communist party, appeared on one of the palace's balconies to proclaim the formation of a 'free socialist republic'.

Due to its significance to the communists, the so-called 'Liebknecht balcony' and surrounding portal was spared destruction, and in 1963 incorporated into a new headquarters of the East German State Council.

North portal of the Berlin city palace - the Liebknecht balcony

Although its 18th century opulence seems an unlikely tribute to a socialist hero, the balcony's survival provides a tantalising glimpse of the city schloss and its splendours.

And even when the facsimile of the palace is eventually complete, this glorious fragment will remain the only substantial remnant of Berlin's real Stadtschloss.

Stranger than fiction, but so Berlin.

See also:

The amazing remains of Berlin's grandest monument
Door to a masterpiece

Staatsratsgebäude (now European School of Management and Technology): Schlossplatz 1, Berlin 10178

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