The Zeughaus was built in 1695 under elector Frederick III in the baroque style and was used as an armoury until it was turned into a pantheon of the Prussian army in 1871, the foundation year of the German Reich. It is the oldest surviving building on Unter den Linden and since the re-unification of Germany has housed the German historical museum. King Frederick William III, who preferred residing in the Kronprinzenpalais, the Crown Prince’s palace, had a new guard-house flanked by a chestnut growth designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the neo-classical style. In addition to the practical purpose – a guard change is shown in the picture – it was intended as a monument commemorating the wars of liberation against Napoleon I. It was inaugurated in 1821 and flanked with the statues of generals von Scharnhorst and von Bülow. With the end of the German empire in 1918 the building lost its practical function as king’s guard and remained out of use until 1930 when it was repurposed by Heinrich Tessenow as a site of commemoration for the fallen of the World War. Damaged in the Second World War, re-built and twice rededicated under the GDR regime, after the German re-unification it was finally built back roughly to its 1930s state and dedicated to the victims of war and tyranny. It remains Germany’s central commemoration site and with the exception of the removed statues the view of the buildings is today much the same as it was in 1828.
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