In many ways, the Prussian National Monument for the Liberation Wars is a lovely encapsulation of modern German contradiction.
On the one hand, the towering Neo-Gothic spire memorializes German military prowess, which sounds very unusual to the modern ear. And yet on the other, it serves as a lovely community hub, with a nearby cafe and wonderful scenic views of the surrounding Kreuzberg neighborhood. In sum: It’s Berlin, to a T.
The memorial was dedicated in 1821, commissioned by the Prussian King Frederick William III before the unification of Germany. It honors the German contributions to the so-called “wars of liberation,” a series of battles fought in 1813 at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The campaign ended with the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and helped liberate the German states from the French empire.
The imposing cast-iron memorial is adorned with sculptures of 12 figures commemorating the 12 battles of the military campaign. The monument graces the top of the hill in Viktoria Park in the Kreuzberg, one of Berlin’s most diverse neighborhoods.