Monday, 15 April 2019

Berlin's Russian Embassy

Insider guides are always exploring. After many years of guiding tours all around the the Russian embassy, we finally got access to the inside of the building.

The Russian Embassy

Originally built in the 18th century as a palace for a high-ranking Prussian military officer, it was bought in 1837 by Tsar Nicholas I. As foreign property ownership was not allowed at the time in Prussia, he conveniently became an honorary citizen of Berlin. During WWII the building was used by Alfred Rosenberg, head of the Ministry for Occupied Eastern Territories. In 1942 it was destroyed during Allied bombing. Rebuilt in 1949-51, its grandiose scale reflects the status and ambitions of what was then a burgeoning world power.

The Domicil Hall

 The entrance leads to the very impressive Domicil Hall, adorned with this fabulous stained-glass window representing the main tower (Spasskaya Tower) of Moscow’s Kremlin.


Dome of Domicil Hall
  
The hall is lit by daylight coming through the glass top of the dome that crowns the building. It reaches the same height as the Brandenburg Gate.


The Great Hall
  
The photo above shows the main meeting room for international negotiations. It was here that the Allies sat across from the Soviets in 1954 and 1972. It is also where Presidents Yeltsin and Kohl met in 1994 to agree the withdrawal of all Russian military forces from the former East Germany. 


The Ambassador’s Salon
  
This is the room where Chancellor Merkel and President Putin met for a discreet conversation some years ago.


The Gentlemen's Salon

Lamp Detail from Gentleman's Salon

 The Gentlemen’s Salon is used as a reception room for guests. The lamps on the wall come from Hitler’s Reich Chancellery. The eagle-shaped feet of the lamps used to look upward, but after their relocation to the embassy they were turned upside down in order to symbolise the Soviet victory over fascism.

The Hunting Salon
  
The room shown above is adorned with a traditional laquered painting of a hunting scene originating from the famous Palekh workshop in Russia. One of the largest Palekh paintings in the world, it was made especially for this room. Stuffed animals and hunting trophies belonging to former Soviet ambassadors are also on display in this room.


The Concert Hall

 This hall can seat up to 400 guests for cultural events. The embassy hosts many theatre productions, classical music recitals, and visiting groups from the Bolshoi. To the left is access to a large veranda for socialising in the summer evenings.


Insider Guides

This photo was taken by our host and guide for the tour, the absolutely brilliant Vladimir. We were delighted to have gained access and insights into one of Berlin’s most iconic and historical buildings. It did not disappoint!


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