For many Berliners and tourists, Gendarmenmarkt is the most beautiful square in Berlin.
It is not only a picturesque place to stroll and linger, but also home to numerous historic buildings.
In this guide, you'll find helpful information and tips you should know before your visit, including things to do, how to get there, and the history of Gendarmenmarkt.
Things to do at Gendarmenmarkt
Gendarmenmarkt is framed by magnificent buildings, one more beautiful than the other. In addition, the picturesque square serves as a venue for several popular events in Berlin.
Read here which attractions attractions are waiting for you on the Gendarmenmarkt:
1. Französischer Dom
The Französischer Dom ("French Cathedral") is a domed tower in the Baroque style, commissioned by Frederick II and added to the French Friedrichstadt Church between 1780 and 1785. The tower has no sacred function, but was built simply to add grandeur to the square and enhance the urban planning effect.
A highlight is the observation deck. If you climb the 284 steps, you will be rewarded with a magnificent view over the Gendarmenmarkt and the surrounding area.
If you happen to be at the Gendarmenmarkt between 10:00 and 18:00 on the hour (except 14:00), listen to the lovely carillon of the French Cathedral. New melodies are played every month. On Sundays, the melodies are omitted until 15:00. Instead, the bells play three church hymns at 9:00, 9:25 and 10:55.
- For opening hours and ticket prices, please visit the
2. Huguenot Museum
The Huguenot Museum is housed in the Französischer Dom.
After the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg issued the Edict of Potsdam in 1685, some 20,000 French religious refugees, the Huguenots, found a new home in Berlin and the Mark Brandenburg. The Huguenot Museum in the Französischer Dom tells their story.
- For opening hours and ticket prices, please visit the
3. French Friedrichstadt Church
When it comes to church music in Berlin, the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche ("French Friedrichstadt Church") is one of the most important venues for regular top-class concerts. In addition to the weekly organ concerts, many concerts by other performers also take place here.
The French Friedrichstadt Church was built at the beginning of the 18th century by the Huguenot community that fled from France to Berlin. The interior of the church is kept simple in accordance with the Reformed view of faith, with no pictures and no altar. The magnificent organ with a golden halo is the only ornament.
4. German Cathedral
The German Cathedral ("Deutscher Dom") is also a domed tower in the Baroque style. It was built at the same time as the Französischer Dom (French Cathedral) as its counterpart on top of the previously built Lutheran church.
The premises in the lower part of the German Cathedral are not used for religious purposes today. They function as a museum that houses the German Bundestag's exhibition "Milestones, Setbacks, Sidetracks." It focuses on the development of parliamentary democracy in Germany. Admission is free, as are guided tours.
5. Konzerthaus Berlin
Built from 1818 to 1821 by Karl Friedrich Schinkel between the two churches, today's Konzerthaus Berlin (Concert Hall) is one of the major works of German classicism. It replaced the small French Comedy Theater built in 1774, which later operated as the National Theater.
The building, which burned out during World War II, was restored to its original exterior and historicized interior between 1976 and 1984, and has since been called Konzerthaus Berlin.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the big city and relax at a classical concert. The Konzerthaus awaits you with a colorful program, which you can find on the official website. Free tours are offered as well as guided tours for which a fee is charged.
6. Cafés & Restaurants
If you prefer something more hearty, you'll find a good selection at the
7. Christmas Market
Every year during Advent, the Gendarmenmarkt hosts an impressive Christmas market with the beautiful name of Weihnachtszauber (“Christmas Magic”). The Christmas market at the Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Berlin.
In winter, the ice rink, which is built every year at the Gendarmenmarkt, enchants visitors young and old.
8. More Events
In addition to the lovely Christmas market, the Gendarmenmarkt is the venue for many other popular events.
These include the Festival of Lights and the Classic Open Air concert series, which plays famous classics from the classical and pop genres at sunset every summer. The staircase to the Konzerthaus Berlin is then the stage for the orchestra.
- You can find an overview of other events that take place at the Gendarmenmarkt
How to get to the Gendarmenmarkt?
FAQ about the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin
Gendarmenmarkt is located in Berlin's Mitte district, just a 9-minute walk from Museum Island.
Gendarmenmarkt is a historic square in the heart of Berlin. It is considered one of the most beautiful squares in the city and is home to many magnificent buildings, including the Französischer Dom (French Cathedral), the Deutsches Dom (German Cathedral), the Konzerthaus Berlin (Concert Hall), the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche (French Friedrichstadt Church), as well as numerous cafes, restaurants and stores.
In addition, Gendarmenmarkt is the venue for several popular events in Berlin, such as the Christmas market "Weihnachtszauber", the Classic Open Air concert series and the Festival of Lights.
In 1736 "Soldier King" Frederick William I had the stables of the cuirassier regiment of the Gens d'armes built on the square, which Emperor Frederick II had demolished less than 40 years later. In memory of the stables and because the square was originally laid out as a market, it was given the name Gendarmenmarkt in 1799.
History & Facts about the Gendarmenmarkt
Gendarmenmarkt was created starting in 1688 as part of the Friedrichstadt district, newly laid out under Emperor Frederick I. At that time, mainly Huguenots settled in the quarter. The emperor had the Friedrichstadtkirche built for them. The Lutheran church was built opposite it. Both churches were built after 1701, without the towers that were added later.
In 1736 "Soldier King" Frederick William I had stables of the cuirassier regiment of the Gens d'armes built on the square, which Emperor Frederick II had demolished less than 40 years later. In memory of the stables and because the square had originally been laid out as a market, it was given the name Gendarmenmarkt in 1799.
A small French comedy theater was built between the two churches in 1774, which later served as the National Theater and a playhouse. Since 1984 it has been the Konzerthaus Berlin.
The "Potato Revolution" of 1847 on Gendarmenmarkt, a riot against increased food prices, was a harbinger of the Revolution of 1848/1849. So-called consecrations of Pimpfen (member of the Deutsches Jungvolk, the junior section of the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany) for admission to the Hitler Youth took place on the square.
After the Second World War, the square resembled a heap of ruins. It was not until 1976, more than 30 years after the end of the war, that the reconstruction of the square began. It took 20 years and gave the square its present appearance.
Contact & Map
- Address: Gendarmenmarkt, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
- Public Transport: U2 to "U Hausvogteiplatz"