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 Square 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.[citation needed] 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, in 1996 strong encouragement was provided by the “Potsdam Project” run by the Summer Academy for Young Architects of the Prince of Wales’s London Institute of Architecture. [2] The Project recommended reinstatement of the historical footprint of the Palace via a partial reconstruction.[3]

In 1999 an association for the reconstruction of the main gate of the Palace, the Fortuna Gate, was established. Large donations by the television presenter Günther Jauch and the Federal Association of the German Cement Industry, led by Jürgen Lose, made the rebuilding possible.[2] The structure was seen as the bait to encourage rebuilding of the Palace itself, which there was still considerable opposition to by those of the political Left.[4]

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."[5]

The initial plan was for only the principal northern facade to be an historical reconstruction, with the wings and interior modern. However, a donation of 20 million euros by software mogul Hasso Plattner enabled the entire historic facade to be reconstructed, with a modern interior. Plattner later provided a further large donation to enable the roof to be clad in the original copper.[2] The Palace was completed in late 2013. The building now houses the parliament of the federal state of Brandenburg.[6]

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. ^ a b c "Brief history of the new Landtag building: The long road from city palace to Landtag palace", Landtag Brandenburg, 2014. http://www.landtag.brandenburg.de/media_fast/5701/Schriftenreihe_1_2014_englisch.pdf
  3. ^ The Potsdam project, 1996, HRH The Prince of Wales, Charles; Hanson, Brian; Steil, Lucien; Prince of Wales's Urban Design Task Force; Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture, Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture, 1998
  4. ^ Karutz, Hans-Rüdiger (2000-04-14). "Beton-Spende macht Portal möglich". Welt Online. Retrieved 2016-06-28. 
  5. ^ "In Surprise Vote, Potsdam Decides to Rebuild Baroque Palace | Culture | DW.COM | 05.01.2007". DW.COM. Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
  6. ^ 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