Potsdam is the capital of the state of Brandenburg, and is located just 40 kilometers southwest of Berlin, in a beautiful area surrounded by woods and lakes on the Havel River.
This former residence of the Prussian rulers is a city of palaces and gardens in a triumph of Rococo. Potsdam is also called "the German Versailles“, Thanks to the wonder of its buildings and related parks.
Potsdam is divided into seven historical districts of the city and nine new Ortsteile (villages), which joined the city in 2003. The appearance of the city districts is very different. The districts in the north and center consist mainly of historic buildings, while the south of the city is dominated by large areas with newer buildings.
Il Sanssouci Palace (Schloss Sanssouci in German) is the former summer residence of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. The palace is located in Potsdam and it was designed between 1745 and 1747 at the behest of the King, who wanted to escape the chaotic life of Berlin. The name of the building suggests precisely this: in French "technology”Means“ without worries ”, a state of mind well represented by the context in which the Sanssouci Palace was conceived, surrounded by a series of pleasant gardens that inspire a union and harmony between man and nature.
Only after World War II did the palace become the famous tourist attraction it is today and in 1990 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.
Although the Sanssouci Palace has been placed in opposition to the French residences, first of all Versailles, in reality the rococo style and the much smaller dimensions make it decidedly different. The palace, which is inspired by some of the king's drawings Frederick the Great, it consists of about ten main rooms; it is built on a hill from which there is an excellent view of the park that surrounds it.
Visit the Sanssouci Palace
Il external colonnade of the Sanssouci Palace, which immediately captures the visitor, continues inside where the vestibule, due to its pompous appearance, does not suggest the more sober style instead of the palace. The ten main rooms still maintain the appearance of past centuries.
La Voltaire Room, where the French philosopher stayed for a long time, is very suggestive; Federico's personal library is still in excellent condition; while the marble hall, the celebratory and central area of the building, is rich in precious details.
The terraced gardens
Frederick William IV ordered to transform the bare hill into a series of terraced vineyards. There are three terraces overlooking the ornamental garden below, in the center of which there is a fountain, which was built only in the nineteenth century when the knowledge of hydraulics made it possible to design an efficient water system.
Here in 1750, in the style of Versailles, a series of allegorical statues of the four natural elements were placed. Not far away there is also a vegetable garden, demonstrating how Federico never neglected the basic concept of his idea: the union between the ornamental element and the practical element.
The oldest part of the Sanssouci park it dates back to 1744 and, along with its many buildings and works of art, is considered the finest example of Rococo in Potsdam, reflecting the influence of Frederick the Great. The park entrance is at the end of Main avenue, the main avenue of the property to the east, and it is quite easy to find, just look for the obelisk near the main gate. To see in the park:
- la Neptune's Grotto dat die wearing mound di quattro
- la picture gallery with its many excellent 17th century paintings including works by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Caravaggio
- la Fontana Grande with its representations of the four elements and mythological figures
In the park there is also the temple of friendship, which Federico wanted to build in memory of his favorite sister. There is also a Chinese-style pavilion Chinoiserie, which includes both baroque and oriental elements. 3000 fruit trees were planted in the park, alternating with statues and temples that reflect the Rococo style of the palace.
Finally, outside there is a commemorative plaque dedicated to Frederick the Great, who had always expressed the desire to be buried in this place.
If you choose to visit the Sanssouci Palace coming from Berlin it is better to choose to reach Potsdam by train; once you arrive here, buses 614 and 650 take you to the residence.
For those who have their own car, take the A115 motorway from Charlottenburg to Babelsberg and continue on Nuthestrasse W exiting at Potsdam.
The palace is closed every Monday and on 24 and 25 December.
- In the spring-summer period the building is open from 10.00 to 18.00
- In autumn and winter the opening hours are 10.00 - 17.00
What to see in Potsdam
Potsdam is a monumental city, among its most famous buildings, in addition to the Sanssouci palace which is the largest world heritage in Germany, it is worth highlighting the Palace of Marbles, Babelsberg Castle, the Russian Colony of Alexandrowka, the Neues Palais , the Old Town Hall, the “bridge of spies” Glienicker Brücke (used for the exchange of spies between the United States and the Soviet Union), and the Babelsberg film park.
The latter remains a historical tribute to a bygone era: the district, at the time of the Weimar Republic, was the seat of the great UFA-Filmstudio Babelsberg film center, which made the city the hub of German cinema.