Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


Did you know that apart from an elegant restaurant and a world-famous museum, the Huguenots Museum, Berlin´s Französischer Dom (French Dome) towering over the northern end of the Gendarmenmarkt in Mitte, holds as many as 60 bronze bells on the top of its belfry?
Known as carillon – a fiendishly difficult instrument comprising a minimum of 23 bells, played by banging your fists on a set of wooden stick-like keys called batons while at the same time stomping your feet on a set of heavy wooden pedals – the instrument was installed there in 1987 to celebrate the end of the restoration of the Dome as well as to commemorate the 750th birthday of the city of Berlin.
You can listen to its sound every hour on an hour or during special concerts. If you should find the tune a little unrefined and rather on the slow side, please remember that setting all 60 bronze bells in motion – the heaviest of whom weighs 5,7 tonnes while the smallest one brings only 14 kilos on the scales – and doing so not a tick too fast or too slow, is an exercise in precision and patience.
Fans of carillon music can also listen to the Tiergarten Carillon towering over the Tiergarten Park. Built in West Berlin to celebrate the same occasion, the 750th birthday of the city, it is even larger than the French Dome giant. With its 68 bells – the largest one, known as “King Dong”, weighs (gasp!) 7.8 tonnes – this instrument counts as the fourth biggest carillon in the world.
Here is the tune played by the Französischer Dom carillonneur at 11 AM: “Before the Day Draws Near Its Ending” by John Ellerton based on Psalm 118 from the 1543 Genevan Psalter of Clément Marot.The melody changes ever hour.
Video by Campanophile67.


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