Potsdam, the capital of the Brandenburg state is not
an actual part of the city of Berlin. But only 24 km
from Germany's capital, it is the most popular day trip
Most of Potsdam's many sights were built during the
18th and 19th century when the city was the residence of the
During the reign of the 'Soldier King'
Friedrich William I, Potsdam became both a garrison
city and a royal seat of the Prussian kingdom. His son
Friedrich II built the famous Sanssouci castle and the
Neues Palais in the Sanssouci
Although Potsdam was heavily damaged by allied
bombing in 1945, most of the palaces in the Sanssouci
park remained unscathed.
During the 18th century, Potsdam attracted a large number of
foreigners. Some, like the French Huguenots or Jewish,
were religious refugees. At some point, one third of
the inhabitants were French. Others, like the Dutch,
Flemish and Swiss were attracted for their craftsmanship.
For the Dutch immigrants, a settlement
of 134 red brick houses was built. The mostly 3 storey
houses have roofs in typical Dutch style. The gardens
in front of the houses have disappeared. This Dutch
district, known as the Holländisches Viertel,
is very popular with tourists.
In the 19th century a number of Russian soldiers, part
of a choir to entertain the Prussian troops, lived in
the city. In 1826, Frederick William II ordered the
construction of a new
for these soldiers. This 'Russian town' was named Alexandrowka
after the Tsarina.
In total 12 picturesque wooden houses
were built at the estate. A small Russian-orthodox chapel,
kirche was added later.
Another church in Potsdam is the Französische Kirche
or French church. It was built in 1752 for the French
Huguenots. Persecuted in their native country, they
fled to the religious more tolerant Prussia. The church
was designed by Johann Boumann the Elder and features
a grand columned portico.
the most imposing church in Potsdam, dominates the Alter
Markt. It was built in 1830 by Karl Friedrich Schinkel,
who is also known for the Berliner
The large dome was added between 1843 and 1848. The
obelisk in front of the church was constructed between
1753 and 1755.
remarkable building in Potsdam is the Wasserwerk
Sanssouci. It is actually a steam pump built in
1842 for the fountains in the Park Sanssouci. The Moorish-style
building has no other purpose than to hide the machinery
inside. The minaret actually serves a chimney.
Of the 5 original city gates which were part
of a 1733 extended wall surrounding Potsdam, 3 remain
today. The oldest one still in its original form is
the 1733 Jägertor. The Nauener Tor, which was redesigned
in 1755 by Johann Gottfried Büring is built in
a neo-gothic style.
The third one, Brandenburger Tor, is built as a triumphal
arch. It is older than its Berlin
(1770), but it is also much smaller.
Potsdam is probably best known for its many castles.
The 1747 Schloss Sanssouci, built as a residence
for the Prussian kings is probably the most famous.
It is located in the large Sanssouci
, west of Potsdam's historic center. It also
contains the small Schloss Charlottenhof and the large
A more recent castle is the Schloss Cecilienhof,
located in the Neuer Garten, a park laid out between
1787 and 1791. The castle itself was built between 1914
and 1917 as an English-style country manor and served
as the summer residence of the Hohenzollern family.
It is best known as the site of the 1945 Potsdam conference.
This is where Churchill, Truman and Stalin met to discuss
the political situation after the defeat of Germany
that same year. The castle is now a hotel and restaurant.
attraction in Potsdam is the Filmpark Babelberg.
This is were some of Germany's most famous films were
created, including the 1927 masterpiece Metropolis and
the 1930 The Blue Angel, a movie featuring Marlene Dietrich.
At the time, it was Europe's Hollywood. After the Nazis
came to power, many actors and artists moved to the
You can visit the film sets from old films, including
the submarine U-boat. The park also features stuntmen
and a display of special effects.
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