Berlin victory column

From Academic Kids

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Berlin_siegessaeule_1603.jpg
Berlin Siegessäule (June 2003)

The victory column (in German: Siegessäule) is one of the more famous sights of Berlin. Originally designed by Heinrich Strack after 1864 to commemorate the victory of Prussia in the Danish-Prussian war, by the time it was inaugurated on 2 September 1873, Prussia had also defeated Austria in the Austro-Prussian War and France in the Franco-Prussian War (1870/1871), giving the statue a new purpose. Different from the original plans, these later victories inspired the addition of the bronze sculpture of Victoria of 8.3 meters height and 35 metric tons of weight, designed by Friedrich Drake. Berliners, with their fondness for disrespectful names of famous buildings, call the statue Goldelse, meaning something like "golden Lizzy".

Anchored on a solid fundament of polished red granite, the column resides on a hall of pillars with a glass mosaic designed by Anton von Werner. The colum itself consists of three solid blocks of sandstone, which are decorated by cannon pipes captured from the enemies of the aforementioned three wars. A relief decoration on the foundation, which had to be removed on request of the victorious allied forces in 1945, was restored in the 1980s.

Surrounded by a street circle with heavy car traffic, pedestrians can reach the column through four underground tunnels, built in 1941 according to plans by Johannes Huntenmueller. Via a steep spiral staircase of 285 steps, the physically fit may climb up almost to the top of the pillar, to right underneath the statue, for a small fee and a spectacular view over the Tiergarten.

Even many Berliners do not know that originally, the column was erected with a height of merely 50.66 meters opposite the Reichstag building. In preparation of executing the monumental plans to redesign Berlin into Welthauptstadt Germania, in 1939, the Nazis relocated the pillar to its present location at the Großer Stern (Great Asterisk), a large intersection on the visual city axis that leads from the former Berlin City Palace through the Brandenburg Gate to the western parts of Berlin. At the same time, the pillar was augmented by another 7.5 meters, giving it its present height of 66.89 meters. The monument survived World War II without much damage.

Similiar constructions

There is a very similiar looking monument in Mexico City [1] (http://skyscraperpage.com/gallery/data/660/6143imagen_032.jpg), which is called "El Angel".

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