Sanssouci Park, Potsdam, Germany

 

Potsdam, the capital of the state of Brandenburg, lies around 25km south-west of Berlin. It is home to a number of interesting visitor attractions, but the most famous one is probably Sanssouci Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is named after Sanssouci Palace, built between 1745 and 1747 as a summer residence for King Frederick the Great. Its garden facade is shown in the photo at the top as well as in the wide-angle shot below.

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The French term 'sans souci' means 'without worries', an appropriate name for what was meant to be a peaceful retreat. If you look carefully at the inscription on the central part of the building, you will notice that there is actually a (rogue) comma between the two words. To my knowledge, nobody has yet come up with a satisfactory explanation for why it is there. It is very unlikely to be a simple mistake, though.

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I liked this unusual gazebo, just a few metres from the palace itself.

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The windmill pictured below is also not far from the palace. It is a reconstruction, completed in the 1990s, of the historic mill which once stood here. It seems a rather odd thing to have in this location, but apparently Frederick the Great's father had a mill built here well before the first plans for the palace were ever drawn up.

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The park has many water features.

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The fountain below is at the Orangery Palace, a short walk from the summer residence.

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The Orangery Palace itself is more clearly visible in the shot below. It was built in the mid-19th century under King Frederick William IV.

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The next photo is a close-up of the archer in front of the fountain.

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The park is huge and there are gardens, sculptures, and other interesting features around nearly every corner.

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The sheer size of the park means that even on a busy Sunday afternoon – which was when these photos were taken – it is possible to enjoy a quiet walk through the grounds away from the crowds.

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Whilst Sanssouci Palace lent its name to the park, Frederick the Great also built another large palace here. Constructed between 1763 and 1769, this is simply referred to as the 'New Palace', which is depicted in the two photos below.

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On top of the main cupola is an impressive sculpture of the three graces holding a golden crown.

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The photo below shows the main entrance to the New Palace.

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Opposite the entrance are the so-called 'Communs'. These two buildings housed the palace kitchens, guards, gardeners, and other servants.

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The colonnades linking the two buildings can be seen more clearly in the shot below, which was taken from the other side.

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In case you are wondering why the grass in many of the photos looks dead – very little rain had fallen in this part of Germany for many months.

Entrance to Sanssouci Park is completely free of charge, but there are admission fees for the palaces. Getting here from Berlin is easy: the S7 S-Bahn line takes you to Potsdam's main station. From there you can take a local bus directly to the park's visitor centre. Alternatively, you can take a regional train from one of Berlin's railway stations. They are fast and quite frequent and many also stop at one of the stations on the periphery of the park itself. This saves having to take a bus, but you need to be aware that you will be some distance from the visitor centre.

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