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Jewish Museum, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

"For me architecture is not a game of shapes and technologies only, it's about telling a story, that connects the tradition of a great city or the unique place to the future. Not only good architecture tells a story. Every building tells a story, even the worst one tells its story. The architecture should become the means of communication; it is some kind of a message to the future, a story about uniqueness of its time and place".

Daniel Libeskind

The numerous wards of Berlin bears the marks of Jewish culture, but the most impressing and main evident is the Jewish museum (Ger. Judisches Museum). The first Jewish museum was established in 1933, several days before Hitler came to the power. The building was constructed in Baroque style. The first Museum operated for only five years and was closed in 1938 at the peak of the Nazi rule. The idea for reopening the museum arose in 1971 when celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Jewish community stay in Berlin.

In 1987 the German government announced an anonymous competition for the expansion of the Jewish museum. In 1988 from the number of renowned architect's projects was chosen a winner work created by architect Daniel Libeskind, a man of Jewish origins. Works of Libeskind belong to deconstructivism and post-structuralism styles. Clear lines, sharp angles and band windows are characteristic for his works. His Jewish museum architecture is very individual, very personal, it is tragic and harmonic at the same time. For Libeskind the project of the museum's expansion was much more than a competition: he wanted to establish and keep the Jewish history for future generation in Berlin, which was lost during World War II.

There is no formal entrance for the new building. It is possible only via original museum building, walking down through the underground passage. The building has a form of a broken line and many people compare it with the shattered Star of David. The architect use inclined floors which forces visitors to lose balance. The tower of Holocaust takes the mane place in the museum; it occupies a small closed space with high black walls and little illumination. When visitors enter the tower, the door closes behind and they appear in a dark concrete space where light gets only through slits located above. Designing this building Libeskind aimed not only to show Jewish history, but to develop such an atmosphere, where visitors could at least slightly feel what Jews got through the Holocaust.Outside is the Garden of Exile with 49 pillars: 48 of them filled up with soil from Berlin and symbolize the year of the establishment of the State of Israel, and the 49th pillar is filled with the soil brought from the Holy Land.

The Jewish museum in Berlin is fairy considered an architectural masterpiece. More than four thousand exhibits are collected in the museum, telling about the history of Jews since their stay in Germany. Construction work of the museum completed in 1999, but the opening ceremony was held on September 9, 2001, in honor of the 2000 anniversary of the German-Jewish history.

By Ruzanna Mkrtchyan,

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