8 Days, £1,780
Lecturer: Dr Jarl Kremeier
Berlin is an upstart among European cities. Until the seventeenth century it was a small town of little importance. But by dint of ruthless and energetic rule, the state of Brandenburg-Prussia became one of the most powerful in Germany. By the mid-eighteenth century, with Frederick the Great at the helm, it was challenging the great powers of Europe.
Ambitious building campaigns endowed the capital with appropriate grandeur and its museums of art and antiquities are world-class. At Potsdam, Frederick’s second capital, he created the park of Sanssouci, among the finest ensembles of gardens, palaces and pavilions to be found anywhere.
Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony, transformed Dresden into one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, employed the inventor of porcelain and assembled great collections of art. Though the ‘Florence on the Elbe’ suffered terrible destruction during the War, restoration and rebuilding continues apace. The Old Masters Gallery is of legendary richness, and the Green Vault is the finest surviving princely treasury.
DAY 1: DRESDEN—fly at c. 12.00 p.m. from London Gatwick to Berlin—first of three nights in Dresden.
DAY 2: DRESDEN—the Zwinger is a unique Baroque confection, part palace and part showcase for cherished collections including the porcelain and Old Master paintings—visit the Residenzschloss with the newly reopened Green Vault, the Catholic Court Church and the newly-rebuilt Protestant Frauenkirche.
DAY 3: DRESDEN, PILLNITZ, GROSS-SEDLITZ—by boat along the Elbe to the park of Pillnitz with its palace in Chinese Rococo style and collections of decorative art—visit also the Baroque terraced garden of Gross-Sedlitz and the Palais im Großen Garten, Dresden’s first major Baroque building.
DAY 4: DRESDEN, BERLIN—stroll in Dresden-Neustadt, 18th- and 19th-century quarter—drive to Berlin—along Unter den Linden see the Baroque Arsenal and Schinkel’s Guardhouse—also pass the Opera House, Gendarmenmarkt, British Embassy and Holocaust Memorial.
DAY 5: BERLIN—Schloss Charlottenburg is the earliest major building in Berlin, a Baroque and Rococo palace with splendid interiors and extensive gardens—the Berggruen Collection (Picasso and 20th cent. painting) is adjacent—some free time.
DAY 6: BERLIN—Potsdamer Platz was created by an international array of architects—the ‘Kulturforum’ has several major museums, the Gemäldegalerie with Old Masters, the Neue Nationalgalerie with modern art, the Museum of Musical Instruments—dinner in the roof-top restaurant at the Reichstag.
DAY 7: POTSDAM—Park Sanssouci, an 18th-century complex of gardens, palaces and pavilions including Frederick the Great’s single-storey palace atop terraces of vines, the Chinese teahouse and the vast Neues Palais—visit also the historic town centre.
DAY 8: BERLIN—morning on ‘Museum Island’—the Altes Museum, a Neo-Classical building by Schinkel with Greek, Roman and Egyptian items (bust of Nefertiti) and the Pergamon Museum, one of the world’s finest collections of Near Eastern antiquities—fly to Heathrow, arriving c. 5.30 p.m.
Price: £1,780 (deposit £200)–this includes:–air travel (economy class) on scheduled British Airways flights (Boeing 737 and Airbus A319)–travel by private coach, and metro within Berlin–accommodation as described below–breakfasts, 1 lunch and 5 dinners with wine, water, coffee–all admissions, tips, taxes–the services of the lecturer–single supplement £350–price without flights £1,660.
Dr Jarl Kremeier: art historian specialising in German 18th- and 19th-century architecture and decorative arts, well known to British audiences–studied at the Universities of Würzburg, Berlin and London (Courtauld Institute).
Hotels: in Dresden (3 nights): 5-star hotel excellently located within the inner city with elegantly furnished rooms–in Berlin (4 nights): stylish 5-star hotel located close to Unter den Linden.
Music: details of opera performances will be circulated nearer the time and we will endeavour to obtain tickets as requested.
How strenuous? A lot of walking is required, and standing in museums–average distance by coach per day: 25 miles.
Small group: between 10 and 22 participants.