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Neue Wache

Originally constructed as a guard house, this neoclassical paradigm now serves as a war memorial.

TravelCurious Tip

Don’t forget to head downstairs to the underground room where you can find the remains of an unknown soldier, as well as soil taken from battlefields and concentration camps.

One of the finest Neoclassical buildings in Berlin, Neue Wache was originally designed to look like part of a fortified Roman encampment. To that end, famed architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel built this old guardhouse with sturdy towers at each of its four corners, and an imposing six-column Doric colonnade at the front. The result is powerful yet elegant, with elements of ancient Greek temples blending with the strong military theme.


Changing Hands

Neue Wache was commissioned by King Frederick William III of Prussia as a guardhouse for his Royal Palace across the road. It was completed in 1818, and retained its function for 100 years, until the fall of the German monarchy at the end of the First World War. The building has been rededicated several times since then, until finally being christened with its current name, the “Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and Dictatorship” in 1993.


Beneath the Oculus

As you approach the building, take a moment to admire the splendid frieze at the top of the columns, which is decorated with intricately carved bas-reliefs of the Roman goddess of victory. On the pediment above are more carvings, depicting the symbolic figures of Battle, Victory, Flight and Defeat. Inside, Neue Wache is largely bare, save for a single statue entitled "Mother with her Dead Son”. It was designed in 1938 by Käthe Kollwitz, who lost her youngest son in the First World War, and serves as a poignant reminder of the tragedy of war.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Berlin
Zeughaus
A marvellous example of Baroque architecture, the old Berlin Armoury is now Germany's official national history museum.
Bebelplatz
A symbolic square in central Mitte, Bebelplatz is known for the infamous Nazi book burning ceremonies.
St Hedwig's Cathedral
The seat of the archbishop of Berlin, this cathedral beautifully models the Pantheon in Rome.
Altes Museum
Home to the city’s main collection of ancient art, sculptures and a gold treasury.
Neues Museum
It houses the Papyrus Collection, the Classical Antiquities Collection and the priceless bust of Nefertiti.
Alte Nationalgalerie
It is a treasure-trove of 19th century German and European paintings from such greats as Monet and Caspar David Friedrich.

Related Tours

History of the Second World War Private Tour of Berlin
Explore the history of World War II in Berlin, with the expertise of a private guide, who will take you on an immersive experience through the capital city. On your private tour, you will:

  • Meet your private guide, who will take you on an immersive tour of the capital, as told through the lens of World War II. 
  • Begin at the Reichstag where you will learn the history of this building, and see the bullet holes and graffiti left by Soviet soldiers from 1945. 
  • See where the Nazi's book burning took place at Bebelplatz
  • Visit many of Berlin’s memorials, dedicated to those murdered and persecuted in World War II. 
  • Explore Tiergarten ParkUnter de Linden, and the Stolpersteine stones.
  • Pay your respects at the Holocaust memorial
  • Take a guided walk through the "Berlin 1933-1945 between Propaganda & Terror" exhibition.
  • Finish your tour with a suggested visit to the indoor museum "Topography of Terror". Your guide will give you the information about how to best see it, before finishing your tour. 

Travellers are usually humbled by the extreme efforts, honesty, and openness of Germany in commemorating the Second World War in Berlin. See the majestic Brandenburg Gate, and wander along with the historic Unter den Linden Boulevard. Visit Berlin’s memorials to the victims of war and those persecuted. These include memorials to the Holocaust victims, Albert Einstein, Book Burning, Neue Wache and the Soviet War Monument. Explore the beautiful Tiergarten Park, hear the stories of desperate Berliners who used the park as farmland and for firewood after the war. Learn about the final moments of World War II in Europe. See the bullet holes, shrapnel and Soviet graffiti that cover the Reichstag building. A visit to Berlin is a reminder to never forget. This tour explores the German culture of memory while talking about those who lost their lives and were persecuted.  
Berlin in a Day: Private Full Day Highlights with Tickets
Uncover the remarkable history of Berlin, on a full day, which explores both the east and the west. On your private tour, you will:  

  • Be met by your private guide in the heart of the city centre. 
  • Explore several sites, including the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, and Tiergarten Park.
  • Learn about the impact of the second world war in West Berlin, and see the Holocaust MemorialHitler’s Bunker, and Checkpoint Charlie.
  • See the Berlin Wall, and then stop for lunch at a local marketplace, where your guide will give you several recommendations.
  • Learn to take public transit, with the help of your private guide.
  • Explore formerly East-Berlin, and see its highlights, including the East Side GalleryAlexanderplatz, and ‘the Treehouse.’ 
  • Finish your tour with tickets to Berlin’s TV Tower, where you will enjoy spectacular views across the whole city. 

Berlin served as the epicentre of several of the twentieth century’s most momentous parts of history: from the rise of Nazism to the Cold War and the Berlin Wall. A full-day tour is the best way to explore this history and the various layers of the city before and after these events. On your private tour, you will see the old and the new, including the Jewish Quarter which itself has over 800 years of history, before ending your tour at the futuristic Fernsehturm, the Berlin TV Tower. 

Through this tour, you will embark on a journey through time, visiting sites that played a role as Berlin evolved from a royal city through to imperial capital, cosmopolitan hub to Nazi bastion, and from Cold War division to its contemporary renewal and prosperity. A century of geopolitical struggle, hubris, nemesis and rebirth have marked this fascinating city from the ambitions of the Kaiser to defeats in two World Wars. Throughout the day, your tour will be taking you to the historic landmarks where so much of the city (and world) history played out. 

Your tour finishes with tickets to Berlin’s TV tower, where your guide will give you timed entrance tickets to ascend to the observation deck. From there, you’ll be able to see all the places you have explored throughout the day and see the complex and wonderful city from above. 

Private Tour of Berlin's Political Centre
When visiting Berlin, you can not help but become utterly immersed in the years of fascinating history that is present around every street corner. 

  • Explore Museum Island, home to some of Germany's best museums.
  • Take a walk through Unter den Linden - the historic heart of the city and enjoy a pleasant stroll along Berlin's Linden Boulevard.
  • Pass the beautiful Berlin Armoury, the New Guard House and the Babelplatz and learn more about Berlin's tumultuous history.
  • Pause at the Holocaust Memorial and remember those who have lost their lives.
In addition to the mentioned attractions, you will also visit St. Hedwig's Cathedral, a fine example of neoclassical design; Gendarmenmarkt - Berlin's most graceful square;  Hitler's Bunker; and the iconic Brandenburg Gate.

Berlin's political history is divisive, tumultuous and extraordinary. On this thrilling four-hour walking tour of the city, you will have the pleasure of exploring the medieval Alt-Berlin, where you will witness the old and new - tradition and innovation, sitting quite happily side-by-side. Explore traditions as you walk through Museum Island, and enjoy a stroll through Unter den Linden as you discuss Germany's political past with your expert guide, before recounting the horrific events of the past at Hitler's Bunker and the Holocaust Memorial. 
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