Potsdam - a bit of history
Surrounded by lakes and fields, Potsdam can be called a city of palaces and gardens. Although it celebrated its millenium in 1993, the most significant chapter of its history started in the second half of the 17th century when the Elector Frederick William made it the royal residence. It's not certain why he chose Potsdam; one of the reasons could be that the neighbouring area was covered with thick forests and the Hohenzollerns were known for being keen on hunting.
In the times of Frederick William I Potsdam became a garrison city with houses for distinguished officers. Frederick William I was often called the soldier king because the tool he used to introduce the reforms with was his army. During his long reign the number of houses in Potsdam grew from 220 to 1150. He established a special regiment of soldiers, called the Potsdam Giants, in which served the tallest men he could find all over Europe.
But it was his son Frederick II who was called the Great by his contemporaries. During his reign Prussia became the most modern country of Europe. But by many people he is best remembered because of the Sanssouci Palace - the place which was to become his retreat from the wars, army and his wife (also probably from other women as he was rumoured to be homosexual).
Climate in Potsdam
After a shower tracks at Sanssouci park might be muddy. So better bring good walking shoes.
Always be prepared to get surprised by rain showers - so better have an umbrella with you. Rainy season: There is no special rainy season
Avg. Temp. in Spring: max.: 8 – 21°C ( 47 - 70°F ); min: 2 - 10°C ( 36 - 50°F )
Avg. Temp. in Summer: max.: 22 – 24°C ( 71 - 75°F ); min: 13 - 15°C ( 55 - 59°F )
Avg. Temp. in Autumn: max.: 7 – 19°C ( 45 - 66°F); min: 2 - 11°C ( 36 – 51°F )
Avg. Temp. in Winter: max.: 4 – 6°C ( 39 - 43°F); min: 0 - 1°C ( 32 - 34°F )
beautiful chandeliers in the park
All over the park of Sanssouci you may find great chandeliers, the most beautiful are certainly the ones on my picture, standing in front of the New Palais, facing the big allee of the park.
In the beginning they were lighted by candles, lateron by gas and now they are finally electrified.
At several places all over the park you will find maps with the most important sights -make sure you will not miss anything !
The Orangery Palace (German: Orangerieschloss) is also known as the New Orangery on the Klausberg, or just the Orangery. It was built by the Romantic on the Throne, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, in his seat of Potsdam, from 1851 to 1864.
The New Palace (German: Neues Palais) is situated on the western side of the Sanssouci royal park in Potsdam. Building started here in 1763, after the end of the Seven Years' War, under Frederick the Great and was completed in 1769. It is considered to be the last great Prussian baroque palace.
For the King, the New Palace was not a principal residence, but a display for the reception of important royals and dignitaries. Of the over 200 rooms, four principal gathering rooms and a theater were available for royal functions, balls and state occasions. During his occasional stays at the palace, Frederick occupied a suite of rooms at the southern end of the building, composed of two antechambers, a study, a concert room, a dining salon and a bedroom, among others.
After the death of Frederick the Great in 1786, the New Palace fell into disuse and was rarely occupied as a residence or entertainment venue. However, starting in 1859 it became the summer residence of the German Crown Prince, Frederick William, later Emperor Frederick III. The palace was the preferred residence of Frederick and his empress, Victoria, throughout the 99 Days’ Reign. During the short reign of Frederick III, the palace was renamed Friedrichskron Palace (Schloß Friedrichskron) and a moat was dug around the palace. The ascension of William II saw renovation and restoration within the palace being carried out with the installation of steam heating, bathrooms in state apartments and electrification of the chandeliers which Frederick the Great had collected from across Europe. Until 1918, it remained the preferred residence of William II and the Empress Augusta.
After the November Revolution and the abdication of Emperor William, the New Palace became a museum and remained such until the Second World War. Much of its furniture had been removed and taken to the residence of the exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II at Huis Doorn in the Netherlands. Some of the palace’s treasures were removed by Soviet Army at the end of the second world war. Today the palace retains much of its Frederician décor and furnishings.