Unter den Linden: Prussian History Walking Tour

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Follow the rise of Prussia along Berlin’s most splendid boulevard. Get to know the Hohenzollern royals, and discover how this classical promenade became the beating heart of the German Empire.

Highlights

  • Follow the rise of Prussia from the Thirty Years' War to the German Empire
  • Appreciate the best of baroque and neoclassicism at the Forum Fridericianum
  • See how the Prussians showed off their military strength against Napoleon
  • Hear elegant and tragic stories of the Hohenzollern Royals
  • Experience the legacy of Berlin’s salons, singing academy and first university

Description

Through the age of the Renaissance and the Reformation, the marshy woodland known as Brandenburg-Prussia was ruled from a fortified island in the middle of the Spree river. As the city grew in the aftermath of the Thirty Years’ War, the noble Electress Dorothea sponsored the development of a suburb to the west of the old city walls. Lined with native linden trees that she selected herself, the main street became known as Unter den Linden. On a walk through the oldest section of this boulevard, we will see how each Prussian ruler left their mark on Berlin’s classical center. Celebratory baroque structures went up as Prussia was elevated to the status of a kingdom, meanwhile the notorious Soldier King reorganized the city to reflect the efficiency of his military state. Marked by guardhouses and imposing gates, it was expanded once again by Frederick the Great into a cultural forum with an opera house and library that we can still admire today After the French invasion led by Napoleon, the revolutionary ideas of liberté, égalité, and fraternité flipped the social fabric of the Prussian capital on its head. Romantic nationalism revived interest in the medieval past and even sparked a political movement to unify all of German-speaking Europe. We will visit the neo-Gothic Friedrichswerder Church and inspect a sculpture of Queen Louise, an enlightened monarch who brought the Prussian crown closer to its citizens. In this blossoming period of culture, prominent Jewish families like the Mendelssohns climbed the social ladder and became patrons of a new musical society, the Sing-Akademie, which flourished on this elegant avenue. At the same time, the Humboldt brothers passionately embraced the sciences and a new model of education that found its home in the University of Berlin. We will discover how in two hundred years Prussia mobilized its rich natural resources, industrial technology, clever diplomacy and effective army to unify Germany as the nation state we understand today. At the end of our journey, we will conclude by discussing the contested legacy of Prussia, and the consequences of Prussian militarism in particular.

Includes

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