City Palace, Potsdam

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City Palace, Potsdam
Potsdamer Stadtschloss
Potsdam-stadtschloss-landtag.JPG
The Potsdam City Palace in 2013 with St. Nicholas' Church in the background
City Palace, Potsdam is located in Germany
City Palace, Potsdam
Location in Germany
General information
Type Palace
Architectural style Baroque, Rococo
Town or city Potsdam
Country Germany
Coordinates 52°23′38″N 13°03′36″E / 52.394°N 13.060°E / 52.394; 13.060
Construction started 1662
Completed 1669
Renovated 1744-52, 2006-13 (rebuild)
Client Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg
Frederick II of Prussia
State of Brandenburg
Design and construction
Architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff


The Potsdam City Palace (German: Potsdamer Stadtschloss) was a historical building in Potsdam, Germany. It was the second official residence (the winter residence) of the margraves and electors of Brandenburg, later kings in Prussia, kings of Prussia and German emperors. The original building stood on the Old Market in Potsdam, next to the Church of St. Nicholas (Nikolaikirche) and the Old Townhall.

A partial reconstruction with a historic facade including numerous original components and a modern interior was completed in late 2013. The building has since served to house the parliament of the federal state of Brandenburg.

History[edit]

The Baroque palace was constructed on the site of an earlier fortification from 1662 to 1669 under Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm, and was rebuilt by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff under Friedrich II from 1744 to 1752, who performed additional interior decoration. It stood as one of the most important examples of Frederician Rococo.

During an Allied bombing attack on 14 April 1945 the City Palace was bombed and burned out, although 83 per cent of the building structure survived.[1] However, the ruling communist party (official name: Socialist Unity Party of Germany, SED) demolished the ruin in 1960 for ideological reasons. The formerly cohesive Old Market lost its face. The only portion of the palace left standing was the stables, which today houses the Potsdam Museum of Film.

In 1991, construction of a modern theatre began on the site of the City Palace, but this was halted as it would have obstructed the view of the Church of St Nikolai. Only the skeleton of the building had gone up before it was torn down.

Reconstruction[edit]

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the ruling Left Party (the successor to the communists) twice rejected initiatives to reconstruct the Palace. However, a group of wealthy citizens succeeded in reconstructing the Palace's famous courtyard entrance, the Fortuna Gate. In 2007 a referendum was held to decide three building options for the remainder of the site. The Left Party was stunned when almost 50 percent of voters turned out (far more than for elections for the European parliament), and voted decisively for reconstruction of the Palace. "It’s not what we wanted," the Left Party's parliamentary leader Hans-Jürgen Scharfenberg stated following the vote, "But we’ll respect people’s decisions."[2]

The initial plan was for only the principal northern facade to be an historical reconstruction, with the wings and interior modern. However, the final project saw reconstruction of the entire historic facade with modern interior. It was completed in late 2013. The building now houses the parliament of the federal state of Brandenburg.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "In Surprise Vote, Potsdam Decides to Rebuild Baroque Palace | Culture | DW.COM | 05.01.2007". DW.COM. Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
  2. ^ "In Surprise Vote, Potsdam Decides to Rebuild Baroque Palace | Culture | DW.COM | 05.01.2007". DW.COM. Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
  3. ^ http://www.pnn.de/potsdam/804384/

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°23′41″N 13°03′38″E / 52.39472°N 13.06056°E / 52.39472; 13.06056