Timings : 9:30 AM - 6:30 PM (Weekdays), 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM (Weekends)
Time Required : Anytime would be perfect as long as the day is clear.
Entry Fee : € 3.00 (reduced to € 2.50 for students)
Victory Column (called as Siegessäule in German) is one of the main tourist attractions located at the Großer Stern (Great Star) in Tiergarten in Berlin, Germany. Inaugurated in 1873, this famous monument was built to commemorate the victory of Prussia (a prominent state of Germany in the past) in the Danish-Prussian War. Originally, the monument was constructed in Königsplatz (present Platz der Republik), but it was relocated in 1939 to follow Adolf Hitler’s future vision of transforming Berlin into the new capital of Germany.
The magnificent bronze sculpture of Victoria - the Goddess of Victory, is one of the most remarkable aspects of this monument and it stands about 8.3 meters in height on the top of this tower. Though the sculpture was not part of the original plans of construction, the defeat of Austria and France in Austro-Prussian war and Franco Prussian War respectively, by the time of its inauguration contributed to its addition. The sculpture was designed by the German sculptor, Friedrich Drake, who was well-known for his creation of huge memorial statues during that time.Holding a spear in one hand to represent the military standard of the country and a laurel wreath (which is a symbol of triumph) in other, this personified Roman Goddess equivalent to the Greek Goddess Nike, also adorns a helmet with an eagle. This symbolizes the personification of Prussia- Borussia. Berliners have nicknamed the statue as ‘Goldenelse’ and some even affectionately call it the ‘heaviest woman in Berlin’ for the sculpture weighs about 35 tonnes.
This iconic slender tower of great significance was designed post-1864 by Heinrich Strack, who gained the inspiration of this column from the ‘Lighthouse of Brescia’. The base of the column is polished red granite with a hall of pillars which has glass mosaic, that was tailored by Anton von Werner. This foundation depicts illustrations from the three wars and the victorious troops celebrating and marching back in Berlin.
The column embodies four solid blocks of sandstone; out of which three are made from canon barrels seized from enemies post the three wars. The last fourth ring is embellished from golden garlands that were added after the tower was relocated to its current location in 1939. Including the statue of Victoria atop the column, the total height of the Victory column is 67 meters (220 ft).
The significance of the Victory Column can be observed from various occurrences that took place in history. One among the major events was the speech given by Barack Obama as a US presidential candidate to 200,000 Berliners on 24 July 2008. Even though controversy was involved because of the selection of this site symbolizing German militarism, Barack Obama chose it over the alternative - Brandenburg Gate.
Furthermore, The Angel of Independence or El Àngel, the victory column in Mexico that was built in the honour of Mexico’s victory in the War of Independence, holds an uncanny resemblance to the Victory Column. More so than the Alexander Column in Saint Petersburg, that was founded much earlier than these two and followed the example of the crowning of victory column by an angel. Another significant occurrence took place on 2nd May of 1945 when the Soviet troop with the nickname ‘Tall Woman’ hoisted the flag of Berlin on the column at the end of the Battle of Berlin.
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