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Though dating back a thousand years, the real Potsdam is the child of the 17th and 18th centuries, a neighbor to Berlin and the summer refuge of its monarchs and leaders, particularly the northern branch of the Hohenzollerns. Frederick William I, The Great Elector, surrounded his palace with parks and gardens, and his son, Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, built the magnificent Sanssouci and its gardens solely for his and his intimates’ enjoyment. Sanssouci sits above huge terraced gardens, its park adjoining the Schloss and Park Charlottenhof and the park and gardens of the Neues Palais. The latter is the neoclassical palace from which ...

Though dating back a thousand years, the real Potsdam is the child of the 17th and 18th centuries, a neighbor to Berlin and the summer refuge of its monarchs and leaders, particularly the northern branch of the Hohenzollerns. Frederick William I, The Great Elector, surrounded his palace with parks and gardens, and his son, Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, built the magnificent Sanssouci and its gardens solely for his and his intimates’ enjoyment. Sanssouci sits above huge terraced gardens, its park adjoining the Schloss and Park Charlottenhof and the park and gardens of the Neues Palais. The latter is the neoclassical palace from which Kaiser Wilhelm escaped in 1918 with 60 train cars full of furniture and treasures. This is a city surrounded by lakes and through it flow the Nuthe and Havel rivers. Visitors should take the time to see the Freundschaftinsel – Friendship Island – a six acre park and garden between branches of the Havel river. Babelsberg Palace, a 19th century royal palace, sits amidst its own immense parklands. Followers of 20th century history will want to see the half-timbered Tudor style Schloss Cecilienhof, built in 1914-17 for Crown Prince Wilhelm, and the site of the 1945 Potsdam Conference of the Allied leadership. It is now a hotel.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The capital city of Brandenberg, Germany, bordering Berlin
  • Language: German
  • Currency: EURO
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    There is plenty to see year round, but the multitude of gardens are a major attraction and are best from late spring through the autumn.