August 10, 2012

0303 GERMANY (Brandenburg) - Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin - The Neues Palais from Potsdam (UNESCO WHS)

Even if the area around Potsdam was inhabited since the Bronze Age, the city became important only after it was chosen in 1660 as the hunting residence of Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg, the core of the state that later became the Kingdom of Prussia. After the Edict of Potsdam (1685), the city became a centre of European immigration (attracting Protestants from France, Russia, the Netherlands and Bohemia), and later a full residence of the Prussian royal family. The royal residences were built mainly during the reign of Frederick the Great.

Between 1815 and 1918 Potsdam was the capital of the Province of Brandenburg, interrupted and succeeded by Berlin (1827-1843, 1918-). Berlin was the official capital of Prussia and later of the German Empire, but the court remained in Potsdam. During WWII the city was severely bombing, and it was also the scene of the Potsdam Conference, at which the Allied leaders met to decide the future of postwar Europe.

The baroque Neues Palais (New Palace - in the image), built from 1763 to 1769 to celebrate Prussia’s success in the Seven Years' War, is the largest 18th century structure in the Sanssouci Park, and served Frederick II as a palace for his guests. After his death, the huge Rococo-style construction was rarely occupied for a while, but in 1859 it became the summer residence of the German Crown Prince, Frederick William, later German Emperor Frederick III. In the reign of William II it was renovated, and until 1918 it remained the preferred residence of William II and the Empress Augusta. In 1914, in this palace signed the Kaiser Wilhelm II the Declaration of War.

After the abdication of William II, the New Palace became museum, but much of its furniture had been taken to the residence of the exiled emperor, in the Netherlands. Moreover, some of the palace’s treasures were looted by Soviet Army at the end of the WWII. The majority of the furnishings were discovered by the Dutch in the 1970s, and returned to Potsdam. Now, out of the 200 palatial rooms, some 60 can be viewed, among them the Grottensaal (Grotto Hall), the Marmorgalerie (Marble gallery), and the guest apartments.

The Neues Palais is part of the site Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990, because "the ensemble of the chateaux and parks of Potsdam is an exceptional artistic achievement whose eclectic and evolutionary features reinforce its uniqueness".

About the stamp, illustrating St. Peter's Cathedral of Regensburg, I wrote here.

Potsdam - Wikipedia
New Palace (Potsdam) - Wikipedia
Potsdam Sanssouci - 100% German Places
Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin - UNESCO official site

sender: Sandra / Cenicienta (postcrossing)
sent from Berlin (Germany), on 22.07.2012
photo: U. Findeisen

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.