Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
“Moltkebrücke (Moltke Bridge) under construction in 1889” (photo by Hermann Rückwardt).
Moltkebrücke, named after General Field Marshall Helmuth von Moltke (Chief of Staff of the Prussian Army) spans the river Spree south of the Hauptbahnhof, Berlin´s main railway station. Its southern end points in the direction of the Reichstag building at the Platz der Republik.
However, the area captured by the photographer would be hard to recognise today. The impressive edifice which was the seat of the Great General Staff, the main body responsible for the military campaigns in Prussia and then Germany, was completely devastated during the final battle of WWII, the Battle of Berlin. Fate shared by almost all remaining buildings photographed by Rückwardt.
One of them, ruined at the same period but restored later, is not in the picture yet. The Reichstag, the seat of the German parliament, of the “Bundestag”, was only slowly emerging at the time. When Hermann Rückwardt was taking the photo in 1889, it was being built under the giant scaffolding visible behind the buildings on the left.
The Reichstag building was ready in 1894.