The Gerichtslaube throughout History
The Gerichtslaube was erected around 1270 in brick Gothic architecture and was subject to repeated modifications in the centuries that followed. Built in the Middle Ages and primarily serving as a court where often unspeakably gruesome justice was handed down, over the centuries the Gerichtslaube was used for a variety of purposes until finally in the 20th century, it became the cozy restaurant it is today.
The “Gerichtslaube” (Courtroom Gazebo) was first completed in 1270 along with the medieval Town Hall. The right of jurisdiction used to be a symbol of local sovereignty and self-confidence.ein.
In the Middle Ages, court houses, “Gerichtslaube”, had a public and almost cultic function.
Punishment was extremely severe and cruel. For the pettiest of misdemeanours ears would be lopped off, teeth broken out or the eyes would be burned with glowing irons. Women were burned for procuration.
Delinquents would de chained to it and could then be stared at, ridiculed, spat upon and beaten by the general populace. It happened that in the month of “Avgustus Anno Domini 1482“ a man died on the pillory of the Gerichtslaube after he had been violently kicked and beaten and then forgotten about.
Around the year 1870, more than 800,000 people were living in Berlin. A few years later, Berlin had grown to a city of one million people, and by the turn of the century, the city already had nearly two million inhabitants. The old town hall had to make room for the “red town hall”, and the adjacent “Gerichtslaube” (courthouse pub) only found its place 100 years later in Berlin’s Nikolai quarter.
Die Gerichtslaube today
Legal practice changed in the course of time, and so did the shape and function of the Gerichtslaube, though its architectural identity was largely preserved. All in all the Gerichtslaube was reconstructed three times and relocated twice. It is fair to claim today that the Gerichtslaube is one of the earliest surviving structures of Berlin.