Back in the day around 800 castles were spread out across Brandenburg – but the days of the old castle as a military strong point passed away with the arrival of modern weapons. Hence the old castle had to be completely remodeled if they should continue their life as a military stronghold. Only three of the old castles were actually modernized to workable fortress are a more modern era and one of them you find in the Berlin suburb of Spandau.
The current structure was built between 1559 and 1594 with the first troops arriving in 1580. The citadel has seen action in on several different occasions first time was when the Swedish troops laid siege to the citadel in 1675. Later Napoleon conquered the citadel without even firing a single shoot in 1806 when he conquered Berlin. After Napoleons failed campaign in Russia in 1812 the Russian troops reconquered the fortress in 1813. The last time the fortress was used in combated was towards the end of the Second World War where it was a German stronghold during the battle of Berlin. Despite the old age of the fortress the fortification still made it difficult for more modern troops to attack the citadel directly. So the Soviet troops bypassed the citadel and made a negotiated surrender of the citadel.
Thanks to the negotiated surrender during the Battle of Berlin the citadel survived the war intact. So today you can go and visit this pretty amazing old fortress which has been transformed into a museum and occasion stage for performances.
There are different exhibitions with artifacts and displays of the history of the fortress and the Spandau area of Berlin which actually used to be an independent city about the same age of Berlin itself. I found the building itself the most interest aspect of the visit. And especially the visit to the tower from where there are some great views of the fortress and the rivers around the fortress. From the tower it is easy to understand why this location was so important with the fortress as a stronghold it would be impossible to navigate the rivers around the fortress and hence transport of any major goods would be impossible in the old days.
We went during Easter which apparently is a special time to visit the castle since they have an annual medieval fair during this time. This unfortunately makes the entrance ticket more expensive but you do get some extra entertainment in addition to the standard visit to the castle and the possibility to go and have some traditional food and specialty beers.