Germany is a land filled with historical buildings and German castles and forts are among the most renowned in the world. Each week I publish a post about a German castle or fort and tell you – my readers – about its history, important things to see there and much more.
The city of Potsdam is located near Berlin in the state of Brandenburg. It’s known as the City of Castles and rightly so. In the city is located Sanssouci Park which houses two castles and numerous other buildings of beauty as well as immense historical importance. The palaces and parks – Sanssouci Park among them – of Berlin and Potsdam are together a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. Before I tell you more about this place, let me say this: you have to go to this place to really fathom the sheer size as well as the great beauty of the different buildings and the park. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
King Frederick II the Great of Prussia is credited with the creation and subsequent expansion of the Sanssouci Park and the various structures and monument within it. He succeeded his father King Frederick William I on the Prussian throne in 1740.
His primary residence was the Sanssouci Palace and almost immediately after taking over, he set about expanding the grounds around the castle. Eventually the park grew to a size of 290 hectares and 70km of walkaways!
In the years that followed during and after the reign of Frederick II came to an end, many buildings were constructed in the park in order to beautify it. Frederick the Great sought to project the power of his reign and his State through a new castle that he had built within the Sanssouci Park. Quite unimaginably, it was called the New Castle (Neues Palais). This palace fell into disrepair for a few years after Frederick the Great’s death but was spruced up and became the summer residence of the German Kaisers in the late 19th and 20th centuries until the last Kaiser abdicated. The Weimar Republic turned it into a museum and it remained so until some time. In the present day, it is used by the University of Potsdam. Interesting fact about this castle is that it’s considered to be the last Baroque castle ever built in Prussia.
But you aren’t here for a history lesson are you?
Keeping that in mind, here’s a list of must-see sights in the Sanssouci Park along with photos of some:
- The Charlottenhof Palace is an interesting site and is famous as the favorite summer residence Kaiser Frederick William IV.
- The Orangery Palace which is quite picturesque and frankly unbelievable that it was used for that purpose.
Belvedere is a building built in the Italian style and offers stunning views of the park from up top.
- The Peace Church and the small lake near it a great place to hang around on summer afternoons.
The Roman Baths on the grounds are definitely a place to check out.
- Chinese House is another place to check out. It was also ordered to be built by our favorite king Frederick the Great.
And there are many many more attractions. The Dampfmaschinenhaus or the Potsdam Water Pumping Station is worth a visit too. Although it is now removed from the park due to the city encroaching on park grounds, it’s worth seeing because it’s built like a mosque. I have no idea why though but it was pretty cool.
It is time, dear readers, to talk money. Entry to the Sanssouci Park is absolutely and completely free of charge. You can take your sweet time roaming the different paths and taking photos of all those buildings just waiting to be put on a personalized postcard. The buildings are maintained by the Institute of Prussian Castles and Gardens in Berlin-Brandenburg. The entrance fees for the different castles and their opening timings can be found on the website of this institute. The opening times of the Sanssouci Park are available here.
Enjoy your visit to this park and all the palaces and different buildings it contains. Don’t forget to visit the great city of Potsdam as well while you’re there.