Glienicki bridge – the one on which they exchanged spies | Information about Germany and travel tips | DW

The Glienicke Palace and Park Ensemble (Schloss Glienicke, sometimes also Klein Glienicke) is located on the border of Berlin and Potsdam in the Wanse district of the capital – near the very famous bridge on which spy exchanges were made during the Cold War. This estate is one of the Prussian monuments of Berlin and Brandenburg included in the World Heritage List – along with the famous Sanssouci, Peacock Island and the Russian village of Aleksandrovka.

For almost a quarter of a century, forty people have been exchanged on the Glienicker Brücke bridge, which crossed the border between West and East Berlin. The first in 1962 were the American pilot Gary Powers and the Soviet intelligence officer Rudolf Abel. In 2015, Steven Spielberg filmed the movie “Bridge of Spies” starring Tom Hanks here.

However, on the Glienicki Bridge, not only spies were exchanged for agents and agents for spies. One of the photographs below shows the famous Soviet dissident Anatoly Sharansky crossing into West Berlin in 1986. It is unlikely that at such moments any of the participants and those present paid attention to local beauties and sights. Of course, we, in turn, cannot pass by the palace and the park, but first we will see photographs of the legendary bridge taken in different years.

“Spy Bridge” between Berlin and Potsdam. Photo

This almost 130-meter bridge over the river Havel was built in 1907-1908.

Glinik bridge

The Glienicke Bridge connects the Wanse district of Berlin and the city of Potsdam, the capital of Brandenburg

Glinik Bridge

Glienik Bridge on the day of the exchange of American pilot Gary Powers and Soviet intelligence officer Rudolf Abel in 1962

Glinik bridge

Exchange of dissident Anatoly Sharansky in 1986 for Soviet intelligence officer Karl Koecher

Glinik bridge

The press near the entrance to the bridge in Glinik awaits the exchange of Anatoly Sharansky in 1986

Glinik Bridge

Exchange of four KGB spies sentenced to US prison terms for 23 CIA agents. This big exchange in 1985 was the last in the “spy” history of the bridge.

Glinik bridge

US military on the Glienicke Bridge in 1986

Glinik Bridge

Glienicki bridge after the opening of the German-German border, November 10, 1989

Glinik bridge

Glienicki Bridge during the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2019

Glinik Bridge

Glienicki bridge at night and without spies

Glienicke Palace – the Italian dream of a Prussian prince

Of all the Prussian palaces and castles, it most often changed owners and was rebuilt, and was also used for a variety of purposes. It was founded as a landowner’s estate, later became the summer residence of one of the Prussian princes, fell into disrepair, was used by the Berlin city authorities, was an infirmary, a Soviet officers’ club and a sports hotel, and became a museum only in the late 1980s.

Twice the most famous German classicist architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel was responsible for the reconstruction of the Glienicke Palace. It was before Schinkel that the task was set to realize the “Italian dream” of Prince Karl of Prussia (1801-1883) near Berlin, which arose during a trip to the Apennine Peninsula.

To develop plans for this corner of Mediterranean Italy on the banks of the Brandenburg river Havel, Schinkel studied some of the writings of the ancient Roman politician and writer Pliny the Younger, who described his own villas in them. Later, Schinkel also used these ideas when working on plans for the Charlottenhof Palace and the Roman Baths, located in Potsdam’s Sanssouci Park.

Glienike Palace and Park. Photo

Glienicke Palace and Park

One of the two griffins guarding the palace gates

Glienicke Palace and Park

The Glienicke Palace as drawn by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, 1825

Glienicke Palace and Park

Fountain with lions in front of the Glienicke Palace. The gilded lions are copies of the famous sculptures near the Palace Bridge in St. Petersburg. They were a gift to Prince Charles from the sister of Frederick Louise Charlotte Wilhelmina of Prussia – the Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna

Glienicke Palace and Park

Glienicke Palace and Park in a photograph circa 1875

Glienicke Palace and Park

Glienicke Palace photographed in 1981

Glienicke Palace and Park

Glienicki Palace

Glienicke Palace and Park

Rotunda in the palace park

Glienicke Palace and Park

Gilded balustrade of the rotunda

Glienicke Palace and Park

Pavilion in the park of the Glienicki Palace

Glienicke Palace and Park

View of the “Maiden Lake” – Jungfernsee from the palace park

The legacy of the great masters – Schinkel and Lenne

The new residence of the Prussian prince Schinkel was to be created by rebuilding the landowner’s estate, founded in 1753. The prince bought these properties in 1824. Prior to this, the estate had already changed owners many times, rebuilt and expanded, but at the same time it still retained the appearance of a typical Prussian estate, that is, it was not a palace, but a manor house in the center of a vast and profitable estate.

Prior to Prince Karl, these properties belonged to the State Chancellor – Prince Karl August von Hardenberg. He received this title for services to Prussia, first of all, for carrying out liberal democratic reforms after the expulsion of Napoleon. In addition to Schinkel, another famous representative of that era, Peter Josef Lenne, also contributed to the creation of this World Heritage Site.

Peter Josef Lenne is a classicist garden artist and landscape architect who had a decisive influence on the development of garden art in the first half of the 19th century in Germany. In Potsdam, this name is found at every turn, but he began work on the ensemble in Glienik while still an apprentice. That is, the park of the palace is one of his first creations, on which he worked for several decades.

It is no coincidence that in 2006 the first museum in Europe was opened here, telling about the history of court gardeners. Concluding our acquaintance with this palace, we note that not far from it is the Glienicke hunting palace, built in 1682-1693.

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