The Spandau Citadel Fortress and Tower in Berlin-Spandau
The Spandau Citadel (Der Spandauer Zitadelle)
Am Juliusturm 64
Explore the Ancient Fortress and Lookout Point at the Julius Tower, One of Berlin's Oldest Structures, in Berlin-Spandau
The Spandau Citadel is an incredibly preserved Renaissance fortress found in the western Berlin district of Spandau. The current citadel structure was built in the 16th century, but a fort in some form has occupied the space since the 11th century. Entering the imposing complex of red brick buildings requires crossing a bridge over an actual moat over the River Havel, marking the beginning of an exciting trip through a unique piece of the past.
The multiple bastions of the fortress hold several museum exhibits. Guided tours of the fortress are available but it's easy to wander around on your own and discover what each area of the fortress holds on your own. The Commander's House (Kommandantenhaus) consists of stately rooms filled with models, maps, dioramas, archaeological artifacts, and paintings and artwork that tell the story of the Citadel's history. Near the end is a section devoted to animal life in the fortress, where you'll learn more about the Citadel's current residents, at least in the wintertime - 10,000 bats. All texts are in English as well as German. Exiting the Commander's House allows you to pass through to the Julius Tower.
If you're not afraid of heights or narrow, winding staircases, you can't miss the highlight of the entire Citadel complex. Take the climb to the top of the Julius Tower (Juliusturm), one of the oldest remaining structures in all of Berlin. The views over the cityscape from the top are completely breathtaking.
The Arsenal holds the City History Museum (Stadtgeschichtliche Museum Spandau). It provides a broad overview of the history of the Spandau region and more about the role of the fortress in local activity.
The bastion Kronprinz is especially unique as its use has been converted into service to the local art community. It contains artists' ateliers and a youth art school, and large art exhibitions are regularly held. Currently showing is Der Biss der Muse, an exhibit of intense paintings by artist Pavel Feinstein.
A modern feature of the Citadel is the open air Citadel Music Festival held during the summer months, a wildly popular concert series.