chapter  7
Memory, Mosaics and the Monarch: e Neo-Byzantine Mosaics in the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche
Pages 20

Figure 7.1 The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, between 1890 and 1900 Source: Photochrome. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. LC-DIG-ppmsca-00341.

This never happened to Theodore Metochites. Upon its construction in 1895, the Neo-Romanesque Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche became involved in the debate about the location of Berlin’s new tram system. More specifically the question was where the tram line should be located so that it did not obstruct the view to the monumental, historicist building. The church’s main patron, Emperor Wilhelm II, was adamant that the tram would not impede the sightlines to the freestanding church on the equally newly created Auguste-Viktoria-Platz. The suggestion to let the tram travel over a Neo-Romanesque aqueduct was therefore rejected, and instead the firm building the tram lines, Siemens & Halske, suggested constructing a subway.2 The result was that Berlin got its first U-Bahn, and the sightline to the church commemorating Emperor Wilhelm I and the proposed glory of the Prussian royal family was left untouched.