Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin

The approximately 3.3 hectare Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin is a square in the Berlin district of Mitte. The name comes from the cuirassier regiment Gens d’armes originally located there. It was laid out in 1688 as part of the city’s expansion and was given its current appearance between 1780 and 1830. It is considered the most beautiful square in Berlin and one of the top sights in Berlin.

Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin | one of the most beautiful places in Berlin and Europe

The Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin – if it isn’t. In the course of history it had several names – Lindenmarkt, Friedrichstädtischer Markt and Neuer Markt up to the current name Gendarmenmarkt. Today it combines not only the architectural beauty but also several sights and is the setting for one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Berlin every year.

History & creation

At the end of the 17th century, the Gendarmenmarkt was built according to plans by Johann Arnold Nering. He was part of Friedrichstadt. It was the time of French immigrants, mainly French Protestants (Huguenots), settling in the neighborhood. The starting point was an edict from the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg. With the Edict of Potsdam in 1685 he had assured them the protection of their religious freedom and full citizenship.

Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin
Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin

King Friedrich I had two churches built on the square. On the one hand in the north the French Friedrichstadtkirche for the French Reformed congregation and in the south the German church for the Lutheran congregation. The churches built in 1701 were still without the towers added later. Only Frederick the Great (Frederick II) had identical domed towers built on both churches according to plans by Carl von Gontard to make the square even more attractive and, above all, more representative. This gave the square its current shape. The square is bordered by the residences of senior officials of the king, state authorities and important hotels, including the Hotel de Brandebourg.

Sights & highlights at the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin

On the Gendarmenmarkt you will find the French Friedrichstadtkirche with the French Cathedral, the German Church with the German Cathedral and the Concert hall.

Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, French Friedrichstadtkirche, French Cathedral
French Friedrichstadtkirche and French Cathedral

French Friedrichstadtkirche and French Cathedral

The French Friedrichstadtkirche was built at the beginning of the 18th century (around 1705) by the Berlin Huguenot community. The relatively simple church was later supplemented by an impressive tower. The tower of the French Cathedral was built in the years 1780–1785 by Carl von Gontard in the Baroque style next to the church. It is 70 meters high and is to the right of the concert hall as seen from the Gendarmenmarkt. The name Dom comes from the building alone. It is not a cathedral in the classical sense.

German Church / German Cathedral

This also applies to the German Church and the German Cathedral. This is also 70 meters high and is – if you look straight at the Gendarmenmarkt – to the left of the concert hall.

Konzerthaus, Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, Concert hall,
Concert hall

Concert hall on Gendarmenmarkt

The concert hall on Gendarmenmarkt was built according to plans by Karl Friedrich Schinkel between 1817 and 1821. It stands on the foundation walls of the burned down National Theater and today forms the center of the three-part ensemble on Gendarmenmarkt. Before that, three event venues were already on the square – the French Comedy House (1776 to 1800), the National Theater (1802 to 1817, destroyed by fire) and the Playhouse (1821 to 1945, destroyed in the Second World War). In 1979 the reconstruction took place under the name concert hall.

Christmas market at the Gendarmenmarkt

Every year a Christmas market takes place at the Gendarmenmarkt. It is considered one of the most beautiful in Berlin.

Tours to the Gendarmenmarkt

Experience Berlin on a relaxed city walk and visit the Gendarmenmarkt and other Berlin sights on a guided tour. Or use one of the hop-on / hop-off sightseeing buses to make a stop at Gendarmenmarkt.