Of all the buildings in Berlin, I have a bit of a soft spot for this beauty. Even by this city’s standards due to the toll the dark history has had on its buildings and architecture, the State Opera (Staatsoper) has had a rough time. Commissioned by the Prussian king Friedrich the Great in 1741, this was the first freestanding opera house in Europe; meaning that it was the first to not be built directly onto a royal place of residence or palace. In the grand scheme of things this meant that for the first time in Europe the common citizens of a realm, those who were not aristocracy, nobility, or royalty, could attend the opera and become cultured and enlightened individuals. Unfortunately, the original building was destroyed in a fire in 1843 and had to be rebuilt. During the Allied bombing campaign of the Second World War, that reconstruction was bombed in 1941, restructured, and re-opened in 1942 only to be bombed again in 1944. As if that wasn’t enough suffering for the poor opera house, it then had to undergo nine years of reconstruction work between 2010-2019. However, it is now up and running again with its world-class performances. Learn more about the famous square on which it is located with a mini-tour!