31 December 2010

A little rococo

I wanted to visit Schloss Charlottenburg during the Christmas holidays.  I picked yesterday for several reasons.  I thought that being the coldest day of the year (certainly the coldest for years), the tourists would stay away, preferring the warmth of their hotel lounges.  Wrong!  They turned up in their droves.  Another, more pecuniary reason, was that the entrance fee goes up 2 Euros on 1 January (perhaps that's why so many tourists were there).

I won't bore you with a history lesson about the palace's origins; the official 'Prussian Palaces' website has full details and better pictures than mine. 

The building and the exhibits inside were breathtaking.  Each room was unique and quite often the ceilings were works of art in themselves.  They were better than the walls and furniture.

The highlight for me was the labyrinth of rooms displaying silver tableware, crystal and porcelain dinner sets. There's a small selection of pictures on Flickr that gives you an idea of what there is to see.  

Photographs displayed in some rooms show just how much serious damage was inflicted during the second World War.  The restorers' skills in bringing the palace back to its original condition, equals, if not surpasses, the skills of the first builders and artists. 

It was also bitterly cold inside the palace: rooms were air conditioned (!) to maintain the correct humidity and temperature, in order to preserve furnishings and artefacts.  Despite this, and the crowds, the visit was well worth it.  I'm definitely going to visit a second time, when the weather warms up: there was a lot that I didn't get round to seeing the first time, having lost my way a little!

If you get the chance to visit the palace, don't miss it!

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Squeaky Door by Elizabeth Chairopoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.