Berlin's oldest surviving academic architecture hosted decades of animal dissections.
Constructed in 1789 by Carl Gotthard Langhans, the same architect behind the Brandenburg Gate, the Tieranatomisches Theater at Humboldt University of Berlin is a beautiful building that witnessed decades of animal dissections.
The establishment of the anatomical theater was directed by King Frederik William II, who thought the horses and cattle of the country needed a veterinary medicine school to study their diseases. The dome was built with an illuminating truss structure to let in light before electricity. Adorning the inside are murals of livestock and rural scenes, while animal heads and skulls decorate the building’s exterior. Use of the theater for animal dissections started in 1790, and the bodies were raised and lowered on a table that moved through the floor.
The building is now Berlin’s oldest surviving academic structure. After an extensive restoration, the Tieranatomisches Theater was reopened to the public in 2012. Now while exhibitions are being held in the space visitors can experience the classicist theater with all its 18th century medical glory, luckily without the grisly stench.
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