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Twin churches inspired by Rome’s Piazza del Popolo flank this monumentally graceful baroque square—the most beautiful architectural ensemble in Berlin. Looking at the square today, it’s hard to imagine that at the end of World War II, the Gendarmenmarkt had been reduced to a pile of smoldering rubble and remained in ruins until 1977, when East Berlin finally began this reconstruction. The square was named for the Gens d’Armes regiment, which had its guardhouse and stables here from 1738 to 1782. The centerpiece of the square is Friedrich Schinkel’s imposing, neoclassical Schauspielhaus, or theater (now called the Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt; for concert information, see “Performing Arts”), completed in 1821. On the north side of the square is the Französicher Dom (French Cathedral), built for the influx of French Huguenots (Protestants) who settled in Berlin after being forced to flee Catholic France in 1685. Facing this church like a mirror image on the south side is the Deutscher Dom (German Cathedral). Surrounding the square is a bevy of chic restaurants and hotels.