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Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at Breitscheidplatz is one of Berlin's most famous landmarks. The church was originally built between 1891 and 1895 by the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, Kaiser Wilhelm II, as a mark of honor for his grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm I. It was one of the most beautiful churches in the then province of Brandenburg, with unusually ornate interiors, stained glass windows and a large mosaic depicting the history of Prussia up until Emperor William himself.

Fifty years later, during the Second World War, allied bombing on Berlin leveled the church to the ground. Only the partially destroyed spire stood, like a “hollow tooth” as the locals called it. The damaged bell tower was supposed to be demolished to make way for a new construction, but Berliners protested in favor of integrating the ruins into the new church. The preserved ruin now remains as a famous and poignant reminder of the horrors of war, as well as a symbol of Berliners’ determination to rebuild their city during the period after the war.

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Photo credit: Thomas Favre-Bulle/Flickr

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