Potsdam, Germany

Potsdam, Germany is a city that has been planned for beauty. Over the past several centuries magnificent palaces, large landscaped parks and nature walks have been constructed to highlight the beauty of Potsdam as the residence of the Prussian royal family. Potsdam has a reputation for religious freedom which attracted Huguenots from France and others from the Netherlands, Russia and Bohemia. These immigrants created the historical districts in Potsdam which are Alexsandrovsk the Russian colony with decorated log cabins, the Dutch quarter with 130 high gabled brick houses and the weavers’ quarter among others. They give the city a truly European atmosphere.

Chines Teahouse, Sanssouci, PotsdamPotsdam also has a modern section, Neubabelsberg residential district that has mansions designed by some of the greats. Mies van der Rohe, Grenander and Muthesius designed stately homes that were used by Churchill, Stalin and Truman as well as Marlene Dietrich. Nearby, the Babelsberg Bridge was the border between East and West Germany and spies were exchanged on that bridge during the Cold War.

Potsdam is very near Berlin and Frederick the Great build a summer palace in Potsdam which he named Sanssouci. It means ‘without worry’ and it is the most spectacular palace and garden in Potsdam. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and after reunification, according to his wishes, the final resting place of Frederick. The park contains many buildings, follies and monuments including Roman baths, a Dutch windmill, fountains, an Orangery, Chinese style architecture, a Romanesque church and much more.

Cecilienhof, originally built for the Brandenburg royals, has a huge historical significance. It is the country house where Truman, Churchill and Stalin met for the Potsdam Conference at the end of World War II. The rooms upstairs have been preserved, as they were when the conference took place.

For a different type of adventure, visitors tour the Studio Babelsberg. It was founded in 1912 which makes it the oldest large-scale film studio in the world. There is a film Museum near the Babelsberg Film Park that is fascinating for anyone interested in the history of the film studio.

Potsdam is surrounded by forests and lakes and the many parks and gardens bring the natural world into the city. There are 1,600 navigable kilometers of rivers, canals and lakes that have excellent conditions for touring the area between Potsdam and Berlin by houseboat, canoe or yacht.

Potsdam Volkspark has the biosphere with over 20,000 tropical plants and many research stations. The park is a relaxing place for families to have picnics, watch programs on the city’s largest outdoor stage or exercise and play sports.

For nature walks and cycling the Lennesche Feldflur is a large area of meadows and fields with networks of footpaths and cycling paths. Created by royal decree in 1842 to make the area more attractive, the area continues to delight with copses, trees, meadows and hedges.

Friendship Island is famous for its remarkable plants and flowers. It also has a playground, cafes, an exhibition pavilion and an open-air stage. It was designed in 1938 as an Exhibition and Viewing Garden for perennial blooming plants, grasses and ferns, and continued to be developed until 1970.

Just as Fredrick the Great wished, Potsdam is still a relaxing place to visit and leave worries behind.


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