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Old Posted Mar 3, 2006, 5:30 PM
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Monuments in Berlin: Berliner Schloss

Berliner Schloss
Schlossplatz, Mitte; foundations of the Berlin City Palace, beginning of the 18th century

The excavation on the Berlin Schlossplatz (Castle Square) was to answer three questions: To what extent are foundations of the palace preserved? Which remains of the Schlüter Münzturm (Coin Tower), the construction of which began in the area of the northwestern corner of the palace in 1702, have survived? Are there any traces left of older settlements outside the palace building? In the center of the excavation area are the remains of the palace ruin dismantled in 1950/51. In the basement floor the building substance was largely intact, but had been considerably altered through the installation of heating units in the years 1891 through 1894.
The construction of the Münzturm was entrusted to the director of palace construction at the time, Andreas Schlüter. The tower was to be built in 1701 at the location of the new fountains at the northwestern corner of the palace. At a height of 98 m it would have been three times as high as the palace façade. The royal mint was to move in to this structure upon its completion, and a waterwheel driven by the Münzkanal (Mint Canal) was to be installed. Shortly before its completion in 1706, the tower began to lean. All of Schlüter's attempts to stop this leaning tendency were unsuccessful, resulting in his removal from office. His successor Eosander von Göthe had the tower demolished. Remains of this Münzturm were found as early as 1880 and 1901 during canalization construction on the precincts of the palace. At that time parts of the bung wall for the construction pit and foundations at a length of around 37 m were identified. An area of this earlier construction pit and remains of the foundations of the Münzturm are visible in the present excavation field. In the northern external area of the palace, located toward the Lustgarten (Leisure Garden), archeologists were able to identify a settlement layer from the period from the twelfth through the fourteenth century. This is the oldest settlement horizon on the northern Spree island Cölln. The exposed excavation find, complemented with information plaques, is to be integrated into the planned new construction.
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