Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany

Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany

Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany is the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia.  It is located in Potsdam, near Berlin. Often counted among the German rivals of Versailles.  Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart.  Notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park.

The palace was designed/built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff.  King Frederick had a  need for a private residence. He desired a place away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court. The palace’s name sans souci translates as “without concerns”, meaning “without worries” or “carefree”.  The palace was a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power.

Sanssouci is little more than a large, single-story villa—more like the Château de Marly than Versailles. Containing just ten principal rooms, it was built on the brow of a terraced hill at the centre of the park. The influence of King Frederick’s personal taste in the design and decoration of the palace was so great that its style is characterised as “Frederician Rococo”.  His feelings for the palace were so strong that he conceived it as “a place that would die with him”.  Because of a disagreement about the site of the palace in the park, Knobelsdorff was fired in 1746. Jan Bouman, a Dutch architect, finished the project.

The palace became  residence of Frederick William IV in the 19th century. He employed the architect Ludwig Persius to restore and enlarge the palace.  Ferdinand von Arnim was charged with improving the grounds.  Potsdam, with its palaces, served as favourite place of residence for the German imperial family until the fall of the Hohenzollern dynasty in 1918.

After World War II, the palace became a tourist attraction in East Germany. Following German reunification in 1990, Frederick’s body was returned to the palace.  Buried in a new tomb overlooking the gardens that he had created. Sanssouci and its extensive gardens became a World Heritage Site in 1990.  The Foundation for Prussian Palaces and Gardens in Berlin-Brandenburg was established to care for Sanssouci and the other former imperial palaces in and around Berlin. In conclusion these palaces are now visited by more than two million people a year from all over the world.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanssouci

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