Aerial view of Berlin City Hall showing its two court yards



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City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |


City Mayors ranks the world’s largest, best as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More


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City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More


City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


City Mayors invites readers to write about the people in their cities. More


City Mayors examines city brands and marketing. More


City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More



City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More


City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |


City Mayors ranks the world’s largest, best as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More


City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world. More


City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More


Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa compete for the World Mayor Award. More


Use
Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More


In your opinion: Praise Criticise. Write


City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More


City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


City Mayors invites readers to write about the people in their cities. More


City Mayors examines city brands and marketing. More


City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More



City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More


Berlin City Hall
By Gregor Gosciniak

31 December 2006: Red City Hall – ‘Rotes Rathaus’ - is how the citizens of Berlin refer to their City Hall. Most Germans know that Berlin City Hall is meant when people talk about Rotes Rathaus because of the reddish colour of its brick walls.  Since German reunification 1990 the Red City Hall has been the seat of Berlin’s Governing Mayor - who is also a state prime minister because Berlin is a city-state - and the Senate, the Berlin state government. Before the reunification of Germany the building was home to East Berlin's communist local government in the era of the German Democratic Republic (DDR), while the city council of democratic West Berlin resided in the Schöneberg–District City Hall.

The listed building was constructed in the style of the north Italian High Renaissance from 1861–69, according to the plans of renowned architect Hermann Friedrich Waesemann. An entire district of Berlin had to be demolished to make way for the new building, built on a plot measuring 99 by 88 metres. To the outside it appears as a four-wing building, but in the interior there are intermediate wings that create three inner courtyards.

New City Hall replaced the old, mediaeval town hall that was situated at the same spot. Over the centuries it gradually become unable to meet the demands made upon it.  Only two years after the building was completed, the German Reich was unified by Kaiser Wilhelm I and Berlin became the mighty capital of the old German Reich, so consequently the new City Hall became the supreme administrative building.

Many high society events were held in the representative rooms of City Hall during the days of Kaiser Wilhelm I, who personally favoured the building. One of the outstanding features of City hall is the characteristic tower, which is 74 metres high and is reminiscent of the bell tower of the cathedral in the French city of Laon. In 1879, the so called Stony Chronicle, a terracotta frieze on the first floor consisting of 36 plates, each 6m in length, showing scenes from the history of Berlin up to 1871, was added to the building.

Before WW2, the City Hall was surrounded by beautiful buildings including masterpieces of architecture like the Berlin City Castle (Stadtschloß) and others. After the war, the communist government of the DDR was not interested in restoring the old buildings in the City Hall area, all of which were badly damaged by bombs and fires. Most damaged buildings were demolished to make way for typical 1950s architecture. Some blocks of flats dating back to those days still surround City Hall today.

But the Red City Hall was one of very few exceptions. The building, as well as the façade, was reconstructed by East German workers according to its original form in 1951–58, but the interior design was stylistically altered. A typical piece of art of the communist era can be found in front of the building, a 1958 sculpture by Fritz Kremer that symbolises Berliners rebuilding their city.

Since reunification the building has been further restored. The beautiful coat of arms chamber and room of columns, both of which always were, and still are, used for representative occasions, are located on the main level. These rooms also are used by Berlin Mayor Klaus “Wowi” Wowereit.


Facade of Berlin's red-brick City Hall


Also by Gregor Gosciniak
Dresden City Hall
Dresden’s famous skyline, which has been painted by many great artists including, in the 18th century, by Canaletto (Bernardo Bellotto), is dominated by historic buildings such as the Semper Opera House, the Residenzschloß (Royal Palace), with the Hausmannsturm tower, the Catholic Hofkirche (Court Church) and the distinct cupola, known as ‘lemon squeezer’, of the Dresden Art Academy. In 2004, this unique scenery was completed by the restoration of the cupola of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). The Dresden City Hall, too, blends in harmonically with the city’s silhouette. Being the heart of the Dresden’s political life and administration, it has seen many changes and upheavals in its history.

Dresden, today’s capital of Saxony, was first mentioned in 1206 in an official document of the margrave Dietrich der Bedrängte (Dietrich the Thronged). In 2006, the city will celebrate its 800-year jubilee.

Sauntering from Brühlsche Terrasse towards the Altmarkt (Old Market), one reaches the historic centre of Dresden. First mentioned in 1370, the Altmarkt used to be the setting for lavish festivals, tournaments and bloody animal fights, until the Zwinger building was constructed. More