Descend to the Beyer crypt, visit the vaults and step back 800 years in history. The foundations of the double tower date back to 1230, making these the oldest rooms in Berlin. Partially destroyed in World War II, the reconstructed former house of God now houses a museum celebrating Berlin's history. Nikolaikirche / Stadtmuseum Berlin exhibits religious art, memorials and liturgical equipment, offering insights into the historic Nikolai quarter. Seven themed exhibits, including Treasure from the Tower and The Pantheon of Berlin, sketch the city's trajectory from origins to present. Learn more via the media stations and free audio guide App.
The building - a historic place of change
Nikolai Church has transformed repeatedly during its history. Today the distinctive double tower dominates the skyline. Constructed in red brick at the end of the 19th century, bombing raids in 1944 destroy the Nikolai Church and district almost completely. The spires, roof and parts of the vault are lost. In 1969, the building passes to the Berlin municipal authorities, and both church and municipal rooms are reconstructed in the 80s. The reconstruction of Berlin's 750-year old monument is completed in 1987. If you enter Nikolai Church today, you can once again marvel at the Gothic interior with its distinctive, colourful roof.
In the course of its history, the church has not only been a place of Christian worship but also serves the citizens of Berlin as a municipal centre. Throughout history, it has been the scene of important historical events. Paul Gerhardt, theologian and author of several famous hymns, is rectorate here in the 17th century. 1809 sees the first municipal decrees passed in the church. The first freely elected public representatives are sworn in here in 1991 to celebratory peals of the church bells. Speaking of music: Nikolai remains a place for music lovers, holding regular organ concerts.
The highlights of Nikolaikirche / Stadtmuseum Berlin
- Period walks through the neighbourhood with miniature models
- Religious artworks and liturgical objects
- Berlin's Burial Culture in the Pantheon
- Trove of rediscovered coins in the vault
- Organ workshops for children and adults
Meeting of religions on ancient foundations
From Nikolai Church it is about 10 minutes on foot to Cölln, Berlin's former sister city. You need only cross the Spree river to reach Petriplatz, the historic centre of Berlin dating to the Middle Ages. In 2006, archaeologists discover the foundations of five churches under Petriplatz. The most ancient is founded around 1200. Archaeologists discover 500 year old tombs and more than 3,700 skeletons next to the church. Between 2006 and 2009, architects uncover an old Latin school underneath the foundation walls of the Cöllner St. Peter's Church and the Cöllner Town Hall. The current sacred building is a meeting place for Christians, Jews and Muslims; a symbol of peaceful exchanges between religions.
Our tips for your visit
Take the M48 bus and stop at the Nikolai quarter. Alternatively, take subway line U2 to Alexanderplatz. From here, it is a short walk down Town Hall Road to St. Nicholas Church. With the Berlin WelcomeCard you will receive a 40% discount on admission. Entry is free with a Berlin Museum pass. As one of Berlin's City Museums, entry to St. Nicholas is free every first Wednesday of the month. Entry is also free for children and young people under 18 years old. The Museum is open on Mondays. Several public tours take place during the week.
Information for families
Register for a family tour of the gallery, during which the organist will explain the functioning of the organ.