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

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A symbolic square in central Mitte, Bebelplatz is known for the infamous Nazi book burning ceremonies.
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Neues Museum
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Alte Nationalgalerie
It is a treasure-trove of 19th century German and European paintings from such greats as Monet and Caspar David Friedrich.
A marvellous example of Baroque architecture, the old Berlin Armoury is now Germany's official national history museum.
St Hedwig's Cathedral
The seat of the archbishop of Berlin, this cathedral beautifully models the Pantheon in Rome.

Related Tours

Berlin during the Second World War: Private Half-Day Walking Tour
Discover Berlin’s monuments, museums, and memorials dedicated to commemorating the dark, difficult and turbulent years of the Second World War. With an expert private guide, you will explore Germany’s capital city through the lens of its role in the Holocaust and Hitler’s war, uncovering many horrors and unsung feats of heroism. 

On your private tour, you will:

  • Begin your tour 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;
  • Explore the historic centre “Mitte” famous for the Brandenburg Gate, the Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten, Pariser Platz, and the Unter den Linden boulevard and learn about the Stolpersteine ‘the stumbling stones’;
  • See where the Nazi's book burning took place at Bebelplatz - an ironically beautiful square flanked by historic buildings including Berlin State Opera, Humboldt University buildings, and St. Hedwig’s Cathedral;  
  • Visit many of Berlin’s memorials, dedicated to those murdered and persecuted in World War II: the Neue Wache Memorial dedicated to all Victims of War & Dictatorship, and take time to pay your respects at the incredibly moving Holocaust Memorial;  
  •  See Hitler’s last Bunker, part of a large subterranean complex of air raid shelters, and the New Reich Chancellery - Hitler’s Office, as well as the memorial to Georg Elser who had attempted to assassinate Hitler, but failed as the bomb went off after he had left the room; 
  • Walk by the imposing political and governmental buildings and learn of their role in the War such as the historic Bundesrat;
  • Arrive at the remains of the infamous Berlin Wall that divided the city - and the world - between East and West, and Checkpoint Charlie where you’ll hear all about the privations and danger faced by those living during the Cold War Era; 
  • Take a guided walk through the "Berlin 1933-1945 between Propaganda & Terror" exhibition
  • Finish the tour at the entrance to the "Topography of Terror Museum" where you are free to explore at your own pace. 

Today Berlin is a thriving urban metropolis, famous for its alternative culture, art, music, theatre, and multi-ethnic food scenes. But its past is more tumultuous than most, and the city is full of monuments, murals, museums, and memorials dedicated to commemorating the horrors of the Holocaust, and the darkest days of Soviet rule behind the Iron curtain. 

Your guide will talk you through the history of Berlin and its role as Hitler’s Headquarters during the Second World War. You’ll see many historic monuments from the grandeur of the 19th Century Brandenburg Gate, to the small but incredibly moving brass plaques known as the Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) that name every single person taken by the Nazis. 

You’ll have the opportunity to pay your respects at the very moving, haunting Holocaust Memorial as well pass by the locations of Hitler’s bunker and office. 

Explore the beautiful Tiergarten Park, and 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. 

This tour explores the German culture of memory while talking about those who lost their lives and were persecuted.  A visit to Berlin is a reminder to never forget.
Berlin for Families with Spy Museum tickets: Private Tour
Explore the highlights of Berlin on this half day family friendly walking tour, learning about the 20th century history of Berlin in a vivid and engaging way. 

On your private, family-friendly tour, you will:

  • Meet your expert local private guide who will introduce the tour to you and your family, outlining all the major places, monuments and stories that you'll discover in Berlin; 
  • Begin at Checkpoint Charlie, the strict Russian checkpoint that separated East and West Berlin that has since become the infamous symbol of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain; 
  • Walk to Gendarmenmarkt, the most beautiful square in Berlin where you'll see the French and German cathedrals, the Berlin Concert Hall and in the centre, a statue of the poet Friedrich Schiller;
  • Head to Bebelplatz, a magnificent square flanked by the Humboldt University, the State Opera and Saint Hedwig's Cathedral, where you will see the plaque commemorating the terrible Nazi book burnings that happened here in 1933; 
  • Visit the Guardhouse where you will enter the Neue Wache Memorial dedicated to all Victims of War & Dictatorship;
  • Stoll up the Unter den Linden Boulevard towards the iconic Brandenburg Gate, symbol of the mighty Prussian Empire, and Pariser Platz;
  • Learn about the history and political significance of the Reichstag Building - part of the German parliament; 
  • Visit the moving memorials to the horrors of World War II including Hitler's last bunker, the remains of the New Reich Chancellery (Hitler's Office) which was destroyed by the Red Army, and the impressive Bundesrat
  • Pay your respects at the sombre and sobering Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
  • See the memorial to Georg Elser (the man who planted a bomb in Munich to assassinate Hitler but unfortunately failed because Hitler left the room a couple of minutes before the bomb exploded);
  • End the tour at the entrance to the German Spy Museum (Deutches Spionage) with tickets included. A fascinating, interactive and immersive museum dedicated to the cloak and dagger world of spies.... Your guide will leave you to enter and enjoy time on your own. 

Explore the beautiful German capital city of Berlin with an expert private guide on this immersive family friendly half day tour. You'll learn about Berlin's turbulent century from the humiliation of the Prussian Empire after the First World War, to Hitler's Rise to power, the Holocaust and horrors of World War II, the Iron Curtain dividing East from West during the Cold War years, the toppling of the Berlin Wall, and finally Berlin's emergence as a successful, leading capital city known for its architecture, food, culture, music, art and so much more! 

Berlin confronts its difficult past - with many moving and sombre memorials to the Holocaust and those who perished during the Nazi regime. You and your family will see many of these important memorials on your fascinating tour, from Checkpoint Charlie to the Holocaust Memorial, from the plaque commemorating the book burnings to the remains of Hitler's last bunker, as you also discover modern Berlin. 

Your tour finishes with tickets to the amazing German Spy Museum, in the very heart of Berlin - which was famously known as the city of spies during the Cold War! The museum has amazing interactive displays, a tricky lazer maze, ciphers and passwords to decode, and engaging exhibits that tell the story of espionage dating as far back as the ancient Romans! You will learn the cipher technique invented by Julius Caesar - that is still used by spies today! You'll learn about the secret service methods used by Oliver Cromwell, by Napoleon Bonaparte and by both the English and the Germans during World War I and II - as well as during the Cold War. A wonderful way to bring the past to life for your family! 

  • Please note: while the guide will tailor the stories to be appropriate for age groups, we do note that much of what is covered in this tour may be sensitive for younger children. On the day of the tour, your guide can also reduce the number of stops related to World War 2 and the Cold War, based on your comfort as a parent or guardian. 


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