UNESCO World Heritage in Germany
Sign for World Heritage

Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin

Potsdam, the former seat of the Prussian kings and with a past covering more than 1000 years, presents itself as the capital of the federal state of Brandenburg.

The 18th- and 19th-century castles, palaces, churches and parks are significant architectural monuments of theWorld Cultural Heritage and give visitors the opportunity of experiencing Prussian and German history. All over the world Sans Souci is associated with Rococo architecture and landscaping and also with the person and life of the Prussian king Frederick the Great, the "philosopher" of Sans Souci.

Yet the UNESCO World Heritage encompasses much more than this. The New Garden with its Cecilienhof Palace, which was made famous by the Potsdam Declaration, Babelsberg Park with the former summer residence of the Emperor William I, Babelsberg Castle, are just as much a part of this as are the Sacrow Church of the Redeemer, the idyllic Peacock Island and Glienicke Castle and Park, belonging to Berlin.

Potsdam fits in with the attractive countryside along the River Havel. in the city and its surrounding areas there are delightful lakes, woods and parkland which the horticulturist Lenné included in his landscaping to form a harmonious unity of architecture and nature. It is the castles, palaces and gardens as a whole, the extensively shaped cultural landscape which UNESCO named a World Treasure.

This becomes apparent, for example, on a lakes and palaces boat tour with the Weisse Flotte. The music festivals held annually in the palaces and gardens, Potsdam Sans Souci Festival in June and Potsdam Court Concerts given from May to December at the Palace Theatre of the Neues Palais, have as their central theme people of importance for the Potsdam cultural landscape and the music of their time.

Potsdam and Sans Souci, however, is not only a treasure of World Heritage. There is Berlin, the booming capital of Germany, with all its conflicts of cultural heritage vs. modern metropolis.

In 1999 some more place became World Heritage: so the buildings of the Russian colony Alexandrowka which were built by Friedrich Wilhelm II in 1826 for the members of a Russian chorus he got from Czar Alexander I.
The so called Kaiserbahnhof, (the emperor's railway station) was built 1905-1908 near the Neues Palais.

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Last update:10 Dec 1999 - If you have any comments or questions, please contact me:

Wolfgang M. Werner wmwerner@web.de