From the Margrave’s Castle to the Island of Culture
The medieval castle of Spandau was built in the 12th century. Its first written mention dates back to 1197 and identifies it as a building of the Margraves of Brandenburg from the Ascanian dynasty. The area at the confluence of the Havel and Spree rivers was strategically important and already in the 11th century it was protected by a Slavic wooden-earth fortification.
The citadel built on these ancient layers was also a refuge for the princes living in Berlin. It suffered siege and some severe destruction during the wars of liberation against Napoleon in the spring of 1813. From 1874 to 1919, the Imperial War Treasury was stored in the Julius Tower. During the Nazi period, the citadel housed combat gas laboratories.
After the end of World War II, the British Army took over the district of Spandau from the Soviet occupation and with it the Citadel. The British military administration handed over the fortress to the German authorities in 1948. Since then, the area has been used exclusively for civilian purposes. For more than three decades, parts of the complex housed a construction school. After the Spandau Museum of Local History moved into the Palas in 1960, cultural use became increasingly important. Today, the citadel is a cultural and historical island and a center of attraction in Berlin with a wide range of activities.