Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, Brandenburg
The capital city of Brandenburg, Potsdam, lies on the River Havel about 24 km from the city center of Berlin. Prior to 1918, Potsdam was home to Prussian kings and German Kaisers and its rich culture and history is reflected in its many superb landmarks, some of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Sanssouci Palace and Park, the New Garden, the Chateau of Cecilienhof, the Babelsberg Park and Palace, and the Church of the Redeemer.
Surrounding the Sanssouci Palace, Sanssouci Park is a beautifully landscaped area featuring a broad straight main avenue measuring 2.5 km long and bordered by clipped hedges and tall trees. Ponds, fountains and statues are scattered throughout the park, as are various buildings and themed features. Among these is the Neptune Grotto, built in 1751 featuring a high archway and conches arranged as waterfalls. The Sanssouci Picture Gallery was built in 1755-1764 by the order of Frederick II of Prussia to indulge his passion for collecting paintings. Frederick II, also known as Frederick the Great, also commissioned the building of the New Chambers as accommodation for guests, with no expense being spared in the decoration of the seven guestrooms and two ballrooms.
As the name suggests, the Chinese House features elements of Chinese architecture, a style which enjoyed favor for a time during the 18th century. This garden pavilion is elaborately decorated with gold-leaf covered pillars, statues, and other designs. The ceilings were painted by artist Thomas Huber and feature Oriental men surrounded by monkeys, parrots and images of Buddha. The nearby Temple of Friendship was commissioned by Frederick II in memory of his sister who died in 1758. The open round temple has a domed roof supported by eight columns and features a life-sized statue of Frederick the Great's favorite sister Wilhelmine of Bayreuth.
Located on the western side of the Sanssouci Park, the 18th century New Palace is a magnificent three-story building with a central dome, four grand festival halls, a theater and a host of reception rooms and bedrooms. Having escaped the extensive bombing of the area during World War II, the palace is a superb example of Prussian baroque architecture. Other features of the park include the Antique Temple, the Obelisk, Roman Baths, and the Church of Peace.