Today’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden, one of the most attractive buildings on Berlin’s historic boulevard, was originally the court opera house commissioned by Frederick the Great. Designed by architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, the opera house was constructed from 1741 to 1743. The neo-classical opera house, which resembles an ancient temple, was Germany’s first free-standing opera house and the largest in Europe at the time.
In a disastrous fire in 1843, the opera house was nearly burnt to the ground. Architect Carl Ferdinand Langhans was then entrusted with the task of rebuilding the opera house on the same site. During the Second World War, the building suffered extensive and severe damage. In the 1950s, the East German government then launched a scheme to rebuild the opera house following Knobelsdorff’s original plans.