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
A marvellous example of Baroque architecture, the old Berlin Armoury is now Germany's official national history museum.
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.
Neue Wache
Originally built as a guardhouse for the troops of Prussia, the building has been used as a war memorial since 1931

Related Tours

Full Day Highlights Tour of Berlin: Old & New Berlin
On this comprehensive full-day highlights tour in Berlin, you will endeavor to uncover the history of this remarkable city, and become better acquainted with its tumultuous past and driving forces that have created the metropolis that you see today. 

  • See the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate and learn about their historical and political significance over the past one hundred years. 
  • Stroll through 17th Street where you will come across the Holocaust Memorial, Hitler’s Bunker, Berlin Wall and Topography of Terror Museum
  • Enjoy a long lunch at a local spot recommended by your private guide (price not included).
  • Visit Museum Island where you’ll see some of Germany’s best museums, featuring amazing art and cultural artifacts. 
  • See the old and the new – take a walk through the Jewish Quarter with over 800 years of history and end up at the Fernsehturm, Berlin’s futuristic TV tower.  
Through this tour, you will embark on a journey through time, visiting sites that played a role as Berlin evolved from 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.  You will visit the landmarks that played a role in shaping Berlin's history.
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. 


Join the fastest growing community of professional tour guides.


Use our easy to integrate toolset to include Tours & Attractions in your customer journey.