10. December 2010

Anhalter Bahnhof, a railway station inaugurated in 1880 by Emperor William I

The first Anhalter Bahnhof began receiving railway trains on 1 July 1841. Because of the ever increasing amount of rail traffic, the building quickly became insufficient and despite several extensions was demolished to make way for the new station that is still known today.

After a number of initial designs, architect Franz Schwechten received the commission to rebuild the railway station. He designed an imposing train shed abutting in a reception hall situated on a six meter high basement level. The latter became necessary as the railway tracks coming from the south passed over the Teltow plateau to enter the city and only a few meters before the station crossed the Landwehr Canal and adjacent roads on bridges.

As materials Schwechten used clinker bricks from Greppin and a number of different sizes of purpose-made blocks of Terracotta.

The architectural arrangement of the hall's façade facing the square was legendary. The gable wall with its basket-handle arch shape was carried by a double shell arcade on small pillars.

The train shed's structure was made of iron truss girders designed by Heinrich Seidel who, however, is more famous for his writings. Rising 34 meters and spanning across a width of 62 meters, the shed was considered to have the largest span on the continent at the time. Because of it technical sophistication and structurally complex construction, the station took six years to build (from 1874 to 1880). The new station was inaugurated festively as Berlin-Anhaltischer Eisenbahnhof on 15 June 1880 by Emperor William I and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.