Sanssouci Castle

Sanssouci Castle


Location: Potsdam   Map

Constructed: 1745- 47 by Frederick the Great

Tel. (0331) 969 42 02

Bus: 606, 695

Open: mid- May- mid- Oct: 9am- 5pm

mid- Oct- mid- May: 9am- 4pm

Closed: Fridays

Frederick the Great

Frederick the Great


Description of Sanssouci Castle or Schloss Sanssouci

Sanssouci Castle is located in the Potsdam near German capital of Berlin. It is one of the most impressive royal residences not only in the city the whole country. A big part of the residential comple is its extensive park. Sanssouci Castle is a magnificent royal residence located on the outskirts of modern day Berlin. It was constructed in 1745- 47 on the orders of Prussian king Frederick the Great. The name of the palace comes from a French "sanc souci", which means "without concern". It served as a private residency for the king, a getaway from capital's court. The New Palace today houses an extensive picture gallery.

Beautiful garden of Sanssouci Castle was intended to serve personal interests of Frederick the Great who wanted to grow wine, figs and plums. In fact gardens of Sanssouci Garden appeared before the palace of Sanssouci even was even in the plans. Trees were later compliment by a vegetable garden as well as life flower carpets. He ordered construction a series of intricate terraces was meant to mimic the palaces of antiquity. Additionally several Greco- Roman statues are spread out through the royal complex. Many pavilions and palaces spread on a an area of 287 hectares (700 acres) require a whole day to explore. As you walk through the Sanssouci residence you cann a tomb of Frederick II who was buried here on the artificial castle hill.


Planting the vineyard terraces
The famous garden view of Sanssouci was created after Frederick the Great's decision to create a terraced vineyard on the southern slope of the Bornstedt ridge. There used to be oaks on the hill. At the time of the soldier king Friedrich Wilhelm I, the trees were felled and used to fortify the marshy soil when the city of Potsdam was expanded. After Friedrich Wilhelm I had the previous pleasure garden at the Potsdam City Palace converted into a parade ground in 1714, he left the Marly Garden as a pleasure and pleasure garden as a replacement in 1715, northwest of the Brandenburg Gate, on an area that had previously been used by Potsdam citizens as a garden area Create a kitchen garden and add a half-timbered pleasure house. In this context, the first vineyards have already been planted on the slope of the otherwise bare Bornstedter Mühlenberg. In this state, Friedrich II knew the area from his time as Crown Prince.

On August 10, 1744, Frederick II gave the order to cultivate the "desert mountain" by creating vineyards. Under the direction of the architect Friedrich Wilhelm Diterichs, the south-facing slope was divided into six broad terraces with walls swinging inward in the shape of an arch towards the center in order to achieve the greatest possible use of solar radiation. On the walls of the retaining walls, surfaces alternate with trellises with local fruit and wine varieties, with 168 glazed niches in which foreign varieties grew. The individual terrace areas were bordered above the walls by strips of lawn and planted with espalier fruit. In the summer months, 84 orange trees stood in pots between 96 taxus pyramids. Philipp Friedrich Krutisch was entrusted with the gardening work. In the central axis, 120 (today 132) steps led up the slope, divided six times according to the terraces and an access ramp on each side of the slope. The work on the vineyard terraces was largely completed in 1746.

Below the terraces, on the ground floor, a baroque-style ornamental garden was created from 1745 with lawns, flower broderies and flanking bosquets. The middle of the ground floor was adorned in 1748 by a four-pass-shaped fountain basin, the "Great Fountain". The center of the four-pass basin was adorned with gilded lead sculptures with depictions from Greek mythology that have not survived. Since 1750, twelve marble statues, eight figures of gods and allegorical representations of the four elements have surrounded the water basin: Mercury, the water La pêche dans la mer, Apollo with the killed python, Diana bathing, the fire Venus looks at the shield forged by Vulcan for Aeneas, Juno with the peacock, Jupiter with Jo, the earth Ceres teaches Triptolemos how to plow, Mars, Minerva, the air Le retour de la chasse and Venus. Venus and Mercury, work by the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, and two hunting groups, Allegories of the Elements Air and Water by Lambert-Sigisbert Adam, were gifts from the French King Louis XV. The other figures come from the workshop of François Gaspard Adam, the head of the French sculptor's studio founded by Friedrich II in Berlin. The completion of the so-called French roundabout lasted until 1764. The parterre bordered a moat in the south. A kitchen garden to the southeast, the Marlygarten, remained. The soldier king mockingly called the kitchen garden laid out in 1715 under Friedrich Wilhelm I, "my Marly", following the lavish Marly-le-Roi gardens of the French King Louis XIV. Friedrich emphasized the connection between ornamental and kitchen gardens, art and nature II. Great value also for the later park expansion.

Sanssouci Palace
The harmony between art and nature is also reflected in the location and design of the Sanssouci Palace at the height of the vineyard. Viticulture, which has been common in the Mark Brandenburg since the 13th century, never played a central role in the artistic design of the princely pleasure gardens in this area. In Sanssouci, it should become the center of the park through the layout of the vineyard terraces with the crowning palace and the ground floor. With a wide view of the landscape, in the midst of nature, the Prussian king wanted to live in the summer months and pursue his personal inclinations and artistic interests, but also state business. A post mill, which had stood on the hill since 1739, underlined the rural idyll of the place. Frederick II was of the opinion that "the mill is an ornament to the castle".

Time of Frederick II

In the cabinet order of January 13, 1745, Friedrich II ordered the construction of a "Lust-Haus zu Potsdam". Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff made draft drawings based on the king's sketches. Friedrich disagreed with Knobelsdorff's proposals to raise the building with a basement, to lower the basement and to place it close to the edge of the top terrace in order to give the building a better effect when viewed from the ground floor. He didn't want a prestigious building, but an intimate residential palace in the Rococo style that only met his private needs. A single-storey building, the base of which was the mountain, a “maison de plaisance”, without a multitude of steps to get from the interior directly onto a wide terrace and from there into the garden. A close connection between home decor and the great outdoors.

In all buildings in Potsdam and Berlin commissioned by Frederick II, he intervened administratively and artistically in the construction process. Drafts were made according to his specifications and cost estimates made before each start of construction. Work was only allowed to begin after the king's approval. He interfered in everything and wanted to be instructed in every detail, which often led to disagreements between the architects and the king and also triggered demolitions. The autocratic nature of Frederick II thus also restricted the architectural ideas of Knobelsdorff, who had to architecturally implement the idiosyncratic wishes of his client. Diterichs transferred Knobelsdorff's cracks into detail, selected the materials, signed contracts with sculptors and stonemasons and commissioned Johann Gottfried Büring and Carl Ludwig Hildebrandt, with whom he had already terraced the vineyard, to carry out the work as conductors. The foundation stone was laid on April 14, 1745. On May 2, Diterichs was replaced by a cabinet order as construction manager by Jan Bouman and returned to Berlin with Büring.

After only two years of construction, the inauguration of the Weinbergschloss took place on May 1st, 1747, although not all rooms were finished. Except in wartime, Frederick II lived there from late April to early October. The building was designed only for the king and guests chosen by him. After his accession to the throne in 1740, he spatially separated from his wife Elisabeth Christine von Braunschweig-Bevern, with whom he had been married since 1733. He assigned Schönhausen Palace near Berlin to her.

In the Rococo, there was a separation of private and public areas. The Potsdam City Palace was intended for the representative obligations, the renovation of which took place at the same time and which was inhabited by Frederick II during the winter months. Potsdam developed into the actual residence, while the Berlin Palace, in which the Queen performed representational tasks, and Charlottenburg Palace, where Frederick II had the "New Wing" added on the eastern side at the beginning of his reign, took second place and the Königsberger Castle and the Wroclaw City Palace were only visited occasionally.

The Prussian monarch composed, made music and philosophized in Sanssouci. He ruled his country with discipline and lived modestly without pomp. His modesty grew in old age to the point of stinginess. During his lifetime, Frederick II did not have any repairs carried out on the outer facade and only with reluctance inside, since, as he said on another occasion, it should "only last for my life". The indifference of the king, who suffered from rheumatism and gout, towards necessary renovations was criticized by the chief building officer Heinrich Ludwig Manger later in his building history of Potsdam: "Unfortunately, the great man experienced defects in many of his buildings, the repair costs of which were extremely sensitive to him." The lack of a basement, which the king had insisted on against Knobelsdorff's advice, was found to be a construction defect, as it led to damage to the parquet from rising damp and constant cold feet.

The crypt

"Old Fritz", as he was popularly known, died on August 17, 1786 in the armchair in his study and bedroom in Sanssouci Palace. According to his own instructions, he wanted to be buried in a crypt next to his favorite dogs. He had the underground, brick-built burial chamber covered with marble slabs built in 1744, before the actual castle construction began, on the side of the top terrace of the vineyard that had just been laid out. During his 46-year reign, Friedrich repeatedly dealt with death. In addition to his Political Testament of 1752, before almost every battle, before every war, he wrote new regulations in which he regulated everything family and financial down to the smallest detail. He repeated the instructions for his funeral just as often:

“I lived as a philosopher and I want to be buried as such, without pomp, without solemn pomp, without pomp. I don't want to be opened or embalmed. I was buried in Sanssouci at the level of the terraces in a crypt that I had prepared […]. If I die in times of war or on the road, I should be buried at the first best place and brought to the designated place in Sanssouci in winter. "

His nephew and successor Friedrich Wilhelm II did not follow these instructions. Instead, he had Frederick II's coffin set up in the crypt of the Potsdam Garrison Church, right next to the coffin of his father, the soldier king Friedrich Wilhelm I. He showed visitors the grave site on the terrace with the words: "This is where my predecessor wanted to be buried, he would rather lie next to his dogs than between his ancestors." although the crypt was created in front of the dog graves. Friedrich's role model, Moritz von Nassau, was also transferred from his forest grave to a royal crypt in 1680. The custom of garden and park burials did not begin until the next generation, which was influenced by the Romantic era, so Friedrich's brother Heinrich was buried in the park of Rheinsberg Castle in 1802 in a self-designed mausoleum.

During the Second World War, soldiers of the Wehrmacht brought the coffins from the garrison church to safety. In March 1943 they came to the "Kurfürst property", an underground bunker on the site of today's Bundeswehr command and control command in the district of Geltow (West Wildlife Park) of the Schwielowsee community and in March 1945 to the Bernterode salt mine in Eichsfeld. The garrison church including the gravesite of Friedrich and his father burned down in April 1945 during the devastating air raid on Potsdam. After the end of the war, soldiers of the American army brought the coffins to the Marburg Landgrave Castle in May 1945, to the Hessian State Archives in Marburg in February 1946 and to the Elisabeth Church in August 1946. They stayed there until they were transferred to Hohenzollern Castle near Hechingen in August 1952.

After the reunification of Germany, the will of Frederick II was fulfilled. The initiative came from Louis Ferdinand Prince of Prussia, the head of the House of Hohenzollern and host of Hohenzollern Castle, who had the coffins transferred to the castle's Christ Chapel in 1953. Even after almost 250 years, the underground burial chamber proved to be largely intact, the masonry was renovated and a waterproof roof was installed. On August 17, 1991, the 205th anniversary of the death of Frederick II, the sarcophagus with the king's remains was laid out in the courtyard of Sanssouci Palace, escorted by a guard of honor from the Bundeswehr. Since the king had ordered: “For the rest, as far as my person is concerned, I want to be buried in Sanssouci, without pomp, without pomp and at night”, the burial took place at midnight, in the presence of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, by members of the House of Prussia and broadcast on television.

According to Nicolai, Friedrich II is said to have said to the Marquis d’Argens on a walk through the palace construction site: “Quand je serai là, je serai sans souci. »(German:“ When I'm there, I'll be without worry ”). The grave is adorned by the marble group Flora with Zephyr, created by François Gaspard Adam in 1749, and six portrait busts of Roman emperors set up in a semicircle.


Franz Theodor Kugler sums up the importance of the tomb in connection with the entire complex in 1840 as follows:
“Friedrich associated a secret, deeper meaning with the name Sanssouci. He had had a crypt built on the side of the castle before the foundation was laid, which would one day receive his earthly remains. It was covered with marble and its purpose was playfully concealed by the statue of a flora which lay on it. This tomb, whose existence nobody could have guessed, was actually meant by that name. He once talked to a friend about it and, pointing to the tomb, said: "Quand se serai là, je serai sans souci" (If I am there, I will not be worried!) From the window of his study he had the picture of the flower goddess every day , the guardian of his grave, in mind. "

Visitors lay flowers and potatoes on the simple tombstone with the inscription "Frederick the Great", in memory of the potato order.

Because the garrison church, which was already being rebuilt, had been torn down during the GDR era in 1968, Friedrich's father, the soldier king, was buried in the Kaiser Friedrich mausoleum at the Friedenskirche in Sanssouci Park.

Time after Friedrich II.
After the death of Frederick II, a new era began in Prussia, which was also made visible by the change in form in the architecture. When the successor Friedrich Wilhelm II took office in August 1786, the classicist architectural style, which had long been favored in Europe, also found its way into Potsdam and Berlin. After taking office, the new king had the New Garden and the Marble Palace built. In the year of his predecessor's death, he had Friedrich's dying room, the worn study and bedroom, changed by the architect Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff, apart from the fireplace. During Friedrich II. From 1763 to 1769 the Dessau architect had the New Palais built in the form of the Baroque, with Wörlitz Castle in Wörlitzer Park, the earliest neo-classical building in Germany. According to his plans, the first interior of the Potsdam and Berlin palaces consistently designed in the classicism style was built in Sanssouci. Friedrich Wilhelm lived in it in the summers from 1787 to 1790 when he moved into the Marble Palace.

The ruling from 1797 Friedrich Wilhelm III. only used Sanssouci for occasional stays without changing anything in the inventory. Only his wife Luise lived in the castle with her sister Friederike for a few months in 1794, while Friedrich Wilhelm was in Poland. The family preferred to spend the summer months in Paretz Castle or on Pfaueninsel. The castle and inventory survived the French occupation of Potsdam in 1806 unscathed, as Napoléon placed it under his personal protection and thus saved it from looting.

Time of Friedrich Wilhelm IV.
Almost a hundred years after the construction of the Sanssouci Palace, a king came to the Prussian throne who was an admirer of Frederick the Great and his world. Friedrich Wilhelm IV., The "romantic on the throne", felt that the complex interests had in common, especially in the field of architecture and artistic co-creation. Already in the time of the Crown Prince he moved into the former rooms of Friedrich II in the Berlin City Palace in 1815. In 1835 he was given permission to live in Sanssouci Palace, although he and his wife Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria had access to the Charlottenhof summer palace, built just a few years earlier, in the southwest. The Crown Prince couple moved into the former guest rooms on the west side. The rooms of Frederick II on the east side initially served as state and public rooms and were not included in private use until years later.

After the accession to the throne in 1840, the larger court made it necessary to convert and expand the side wings. Ludwig Persius made the designs based on sketches by Friedrich Wilhelm IV. The old side wings were torn down and lengthened and raised in 1841/42 under the direction of the architect Ferdinand von Arnim. The existing furniture was preserved, missing pieces were replaced by furniture from the Frederician era where possible. The death room of Frederick II, which had been redesigned under Friedrich Wilhelm II, was to be returned to its original state. However, this plan was not implemented because the documents and drafts did not appear authentic enough to Friedrich Wilhelm IV.


The uppermost vineyard terrace, which was almost bare in the Frederician era and only equipped with arcades, lattice pavilions and sculptures, was adorned in 1845 with vases and water features designed by Persius and Ludwig Ferdinand Hesse, bordered by a marble balustrade and a well on the five lower levels. Court gardener Hermann Sello planted the terraces with trees. On the ground floor Persius expanded the fountain basin into a circle in 1840/41, which also increased the sculpture circle of the “French Rondell” by around three meters. In 1848 ten (today eight) semicircular marble benches designed by Hesse were placed between the figures. From the same year, four marble columns with copies of figures based on ancient models and two marble fountain walls each with bagneroles (marble tubs) and statues of the muses Klio, Polyhymnia, Euterpe and Urania are from the same year in the outer compartments to the west and east of the “Great Fountain”. At the southern end of the parterre, in the central axis, a scaled-down replica of the equestrian statue of Frederick the Great was erected in 1866, which is now in the "New Piece" below the Orangery Castle.

Friedrich Wilhelm IV died on January 2, 1861 in Sanssouci Palace and was buried in the crypt of the nearby Friedenskirche. The last inhabitant of the castle was his widow Elisabeth Ludovika. She lived in Sanssouci for another thirteen years until she died on December 14, 1873 and was buried next to Friedrich Wilhelm IV in a ceremony.

Time since the end of the 19th century
After 1873, Wilhelm I made the castle and its inventory available for museum purposes, making it one of the oldest castle museums in Germany. After the First World War and the end of the monarchy, it initially remained in the possession of the Hohenzollerns and in 1927 came into the care of the Prussian "Administration of State Palaces and Gardens" founded on April 1st of the same year. Under the direction of director Ernst Gall, the palace administration tried to restore the interior design in the time of Frederick II with the support of the Berlin State Museums. Among other things, Frederick the Great's desk was returned to the study and bedroom. The monument preservation concept also affected the entire Frederician part of the park, the reconstruction of which was entrusted to garden inspector Georg Potente, who had been gardening director of the Sanssouci park area since June 1927. As part of this restoration work, he had the heavily overgrown vineyard terraces uncovered and replanted from 1927, two semicircular benches in the "French Rondell" removed from the central axis and the water features and sculptures from the time of Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Removed from the top terrace.


When the air raids on Berlin began in the Second World War, the windows were walled up from April 1941 and numerous works of art were moved to Rheinsberg and Bernterode. Paintings by French painters of the 18th century came from Sanssouci Palace, console vases made of Meissen porcelain, almost all furniture from the “Small Gallery” and Frederick II's library. The remaining furniture, almost all sculptures and picture frames remained in the palace. The building survived the fighting for Potsdam in April 1945 unscathed, although fighting took place on the north side, between the driveway to the castle and the historic mill, during which the gallery windmill burned down. After the Red Army marched into Potsdam on April 27, 1945, Sanssouci Park was placed under the control of Lieutenant Colonel of the Guard Yevgeny Fyodorowitsch Lutschuweit and closed to the public until June 4, 1946. Most of the art objects relocated to Rheinsberg and those that remained in Sanssouci ended up as looted goods in the former Soviet Union and only a small part came back in 1958. The art objects from Bernterode found by American soldiers were first brought to the Central Art Collecting Point in the Museum Wiesbaden and in 1957 to Charlottenburg Palace in West Berlin. After the reunification of Germany, Friedrich II's book collection returned from Charlottenburg to Sanssouci in 1992. Thirty-six oil paintings and two marble busts of Amphitrite and Neptune by Lambert-Sigisbert Adam followed between 1993 and 1995. With the help of the Kulturstiftung der Länder and the Deutsche Klassenlotterie Foundation, the paintings “Sultan in the Garden” and “Fortune Teller” by Jean-Baptiste Pater, which had been relocated to Rheinsberg, were bought back from the art trade in 1990. In 1966 a comprehensive restoration of the building began. The west wing, the so-called “ladies wing”, and since 1993 the kitchen in the east wing have been open to the public since 1981.

The castle, rather modest in its dimensions for a regent, with twelve rooms, of which Frederick II only lived in five himself, corresponded to the changes in court architecture around the middle of the 18th century. The baroque residential castles, which were built on the model of Versailles from the middle of the 17th century, primarily served the princely builders to represent their political and economic power. In terms of their size, they often went far beyond their actual use as a residence and the necessity of a befitting court.

This excess of magnificence and size aroused the longing for intimacy and comfort. However, the change was not radical, it was gradual. Frederick II, who preferred the Baroque and Rococo forms throughout his life, had the New Palace built in the western part of the park two decades after the construction of the Sanssouci Palace. After the Seven Years' War he wanted to demonstrate the power and strength of Prussia with the guest castle. He called it his "fanfaronnade" (boasting, showing off).

Exterior design
The single-storey main building with its adjoining side wings takes up almost the entire width of the top terrace. The length of the main building, with the two round cabinets on the sides, is 292 feet [91.6 m] and 49 feet [15.4 m] deep. [...] the entire height from the outside 39 feet 2 inches [around 12.3 m]. The 15-axis south side is emphasized by a protruding, semi-oval central building with a crowning dome. The name of the castle is written in gilded bronze letters above the central arched window. Between the almost floor-to-ceiling arched windows, thirty-six atlases arranged in pairs support the entablature. The sandstone figures by the sculptor Friedrich Christian Glume depict bacchantes and were carved on site in 1746 from roughly offset stone blocks. He was also involved in the design of the sculptural decorations on the surrounding roof balustrade and the groups of putti on the dome windows, as did his father Johann Georg Glume and the workshops of the ornamental sculptors Johann Melchior Kambly and Matthias Müller.


Knobelsdorff covered the side wings, unadorned in Frederician times, each 98 feet [31 m] long and 35 feet [11 m] deep, in which the kitchen, stables and rooms for the small servants were housed, covered with symmetrically arranged arcades, which in each a free-standing lattice pavilion adorned with gold-plated ornaments. In front of the arcades are portrait busts of Roman personalities and vase copies. In the eastern pavilion, Frederick II had the figure of the “Praying Boy” erected, which he had acquired in 1747 from the property of Prince Wenzel von Liechtenstein. A replica from the Berlin “Bronce-Waaren-Fabrik L. C. Busch” has been there since 1900.

The simpler north side of the castle stands in striking contrast to the sculptural playful south side. Instead of the atlases, Corinthian pilasters structure the front. The counterpart to the semi-oval central building on the garden side is a rectangular risalit with blended columns and a flat monopitch roof. The front closes at both ends with short wing structures set at right angles. Continuing colonnades enclose the unadorned courtyard in a semicircle and open to the steep access ramp to the north. The forty-four pairs of columns, arranged in two rows, leave space for walkways. As on the south side, a balustrade with sandstone vases adorns the roof approach of the castle building and the quarter arches of the colonnade. Vine and flower tendrils made of sandstone decorate the arches of the almost floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors.

After the demolition of the single-storey extensions from the Frederician era, the side wings were extended by two axes, each with ten window axes and three-arched porches on the front sides. While maintaining the eaves height of the castle building, the extensions were raised by one storey and the flat gable roof was hidden behind a baluster attica. The windows got a straight end. Persius adopted the design elements on the north side for the facade. Pilasters, balusters and decorations were cast from zinc and sanded so that they look deceptively similar to the models made of sandstone.

Interior design
The palace complies with the principles of a “maison de plaisance”, the rooms of which in Sanssouci are on one level so that you can easily reach the garden. When it comes to the room layout, great importance was attached to comfort. According to contemporary French architectural theory, the double apartment corresponded to court comfort. In this division, two rows of rooms are one behind the other: the main rooms on the side facing the garden, usually to the south, and the servants' chambers behind on the north side of the building. An "apartment double" thus consists of a main room and an adjoining servants' room. Doors connect the apartments with each other. They are arranged in an axis, an enfilade, so that the extent of the castle inside can be seen at a glance. A representative entrance area dominates the central building, which does not immediately reveal the intimate character of the building.

Frederick the Great made floor plan sketches according to these rules of courtly architecture, but these diverged from French building theory in some areas, taking into account his personal wishes and ideas of living comfort. When it came to furnishing the interior, he also determined how the rooms should look down to the last detail. After sketches that were often prepared by him, artists such as Johann August Nahl, the brothers Johann Michael and Johann Christian Hoppenhaupt, the brothers Johann Friedrich and Heinrich Wilhelm Spindler and Johann Melchior Kambly created works of art in the Rococo style. Frederick the Great was alien to any “addiction to luxury” as far as his person was concerned. He cared little about etiquette and fashion, which made him wear dirty and worn clothes as he got older, but he felt an inner need to surround himself with noble things. He had a keen sense for everything beautiful and designed his private rooms to suit his own taste and needs, often ignoring the usual. These “own compositions” in Rococo art led to the term Frederician Rococo.

Vestibule, marble hall and royal apartment
The vestibule and the marble hall facing the garden are located in the central part of the palace in the north-south axis. The royal apartment adjoins to the east, with an audience room, concert room, study and bedroom, library and an elongated gallery on the north side. To the west of the two central halls are five guest rooms.


In the vestibule, which is entered from the courtyard, the coupled column position of the colonnade is repeated. The walls of the rectangular hall are divided by ten Corinthian pairs of columns made of white stucco marble with gilded bases and capitals. You are standing in front of Corinthian pilasters that protrude only slightly from the wall. The ceiling picture above the arched cove shows the Roman goddess Flora with geniuses who scatter flowers and fruits from the sky. The painting was created in 1746 by the Swedish painter Johann Harper. The three French doors on the side of the main courtyard correspond to three flat, arched niches with doors on the opposite side. Gilded over-port reliefs by Georg Franz Ebenhech are placed above the central double door, the entrance to the marble hall, and above two doors in the west and east walls. With themes from the Bacchus myth, they create a connection to the vineyard, as do the ornaments on the door panels with gilded vine tendrils, herms and musical emblems by Johann Christian Hoppenhaupt. The marble copy of Ares Ludovisi made by Lambert-Sigisbert Adam in 1730 came as a gift from Louis XV. together with the figures from the French roundabout 1752 to Potsdam. Frederick II had the Ares erected as a counterpart to a statue of Mercury that came from the collection of his sister Wilhelmine von Bayreuth. Friedrich Wilhelm II had the Mercury set up in the Marble Palace and replaced with a Trajan statue. Both figures came into the Berlin Collection of Antiquities in 1830. A Mercury by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle came into the vestibule to replace the Trajan. In its place was the seated statue of the younger Agrippina created by Heinrich Berges in 1846.

The marble hall on the garden side served as a ballroom. Knobelsdorff used the Pantheon in Rome as a model for the oval floor plan and the dome, which is opened through a light opening at the apex. The eponymous marble from Carrara and Silesia is found on columns, walls, window reveals and in the ornamental inlay work on the floor. The gilded stucco work in the dome was carried out by Carl Joseph Sartori (1709–1770) and Johann Peter Benkert. They designed the vault with coffered fields, military emblems and attributes of the arts and sciences depicted in medallions. Four female figures and groups of putti by Georg Franz Ebenhech on the cornice symbolize civil and military architecture, astronomy and geography, painting and sculpture, as well as music and poetry. The arrangement of the eight pairs of Corinthian columns is repeated as in the vestibule. The sculptures of Venus Urania and Apollo, created by François Gaspard Adam in 1748, are placed in the niches in between next to the door. Apollon, turned to Venus, holds an open book in his hand, which can be interpreted as the work De rerum natura by the Epicurean poet Lucretius. The words “Te sociam studeo scribendis versibus esse / Quos ego de rerum natura pangere conor” (in German: “After you [Venus] I ask for you [Venus] as my companion when composing the verses that I am about things apply to her Daring to write beings ”). The bronze bust of the Swedish King Charles XII, by Jacques Philippe Bouchardon (1711–1753), has been in the Marble Hall since 1775. Friedrich II received the bust as a gift in 1755 from his sister, the Swedish Queen Luise Ulrike.

The audience room to the east was also used as a dining room in the Frederician era. In this room, which could be heated on cool summer days, the sociable "round tables" of Frederick II presumably took place and not, as shown by Adolf Menzel in the painting Round Table by Sanssouci, in the marble hall, which was only used as a dining room on special occasions. Numerous paintings by French painters of the 18th century dominate the appearance of the room. The walls, covered with purple-pink silk damask, are loosely hung with works by Jean-Baptiste Pater, Jean François de Troy, Pierre Jacques Cazes (1676–1754), Louis de Silvestre, Antoine Watteau and others. The over-port reliefs with putti playing with flowers and books are works by Friedrich Christian Glume. The ceiling painting above the cove decorated with leaf motifs, Zephyr wreaths Flora by Antoine Pesne, shows the wind god with the flower goddess.


In the concert room, the exuberant rococo ornamental shape, the rocaille, is visible in abundance on the white and gold walls and the ceiling. The wall paintings by Antoine Pesne and wall mirrors are fitted into the decoration and are framed by the rocailles with their typical S-curves and C-curves. The wooden frames come from the workshop of the sculptor Johann Michael Hoppenhaupt (the elder). Charles Sylva Dubois, Antoine Pesne painted a landscape picture and a view of the Sanssouci Palace on two overhanging portraits with landscapes, ancient monuments and ruins. The fortepiano by Gottfried Silbermann from 1746 and the music stand of Frederick II, a work by the decorative sculptor Johann Melchior Kambly from 1767, indicate the use of the space. Adolf Menzel's painting The Flute Concert of Sanssouci impressively reproduces the festive atmosphere at royal concerts.

At the time of Frederick II, the study and bedroom showed just as rich, gilded stucco and wood carving as the concert room. After the redesign in the classical style by Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff, only the fireplace remained in its place. The celadon green silk covering of the walls with overlying gilded wood carvings gave way to a light green covering. The formerly stuccoed ceiling was painted by the decorative painter Johann Fischer with a kind of velarium, around which the signs of the zodiac, sacrificial scenes and depictions of gods are grouped and in the spandrels allegories of historical fame, peace, war and poetry. The originally richly ornamented putti balustrade, which separated the working and sleeping areas, was replaced by two Ionic columns resting on pedestals and two pilasters painted with flower-fruit hangings. Under Friedrich Wilhelm IV, part of the Frederician furniture was returned to the room in the middle of the 19th century, including the death chair of Frederick II in 1843. In addition, he had the walls decorated with paintings mainly showing Frederick the Great. The works were created by Antoine Pesne, Johann Georg Ziesenis, Joachim Martin Falbe, Charles-Antoine Coypel, Edward Francis Cunningham, Christian Bernhard Rode, Johann Christoph Frisch and Anton Graff.

The library deviates from the spatial planning of French palace architecture. The circular room is almost hidden outside the enfilade at the end of the royal apartment and can be reached through a narrow corridor from the study and bedroom. The location underlines the private character of the room, into which the “philosopher von Sanssouci” could withdraw undisturbed. Walls paneled with cedar wood and bookcases made of the same wood embedded in wall niches, in which the entrance door is also integrated, show a closed picture in the wall decoration. The harmonious color scheme in brown with the gold-colored ornamentation of the rocaille creates a calm atmosphere. Benjamin Giese created four gilded bronze reliefs above the cupboards with allegories of the arts. Niches accommodate the fireplace and the sofa. The bookcases are filled with around 2,100 volumes of Greek and Roman poetry and historiography in French translation as well as French literature of the 17th and 18th centuries, the focus of which is the works of Voltaire. Friedrich II paid little attention to German literature. The books are bound in brown or red kidskin and richly gilded. The king owned the same set of works in his palace libraries and from 1771 had them marked with gold letters on the book cover.

In the case of the gallery in the north, too, Frederick II deviated from the French spatial planning of the "apartment double", according to which chambers were provided for the servants in this area. The wall of the narrow, elongated room is divided by niches in which marble sculptures of Greco-Roman deities from the collection of the French Cardinal Melchior de Polignac are placed. Paintings by Nicolas Lancret, Jean-Baptiste Pater and Antoine Watteau hang over five sofas. On the outer wall, interrupted by windows and mirrors, there are ten marble busts on pedestals and on the chimneys at the ends of the gallery the two busts of Amphitrite and Neptune by Lambert Sigisbert Adam. The five-part ceiling painting above the voute decorated with vine leaves is by Johann Gottlieb Glume and shows putti scattered with flowers. Charles Sylva Dubois made the temple ruins on the east side overhang painting and Antoin Pesne made the figure decoration on the west overlay.

Guest room

The five guest rooms adjoining the marble hall to the west have windows facing the garden and the first four rooms have an alcove on the opposite wall. Next to this bed niche, a door leads through a narrow corridor into the servants' room adjoining to the north and another door into a small chamber that was intended for storing clothes.

The walls of the first guest room are paneled with white painted wood, in whose narrow fields Friedrich Wilhelm Hoeder painted pale pink ornaments and figurative representations in the chinoise style. The room underwent a change as early as 1747, when a blue satinade (semi-silk atlas) was stretched over the paneling. Presumably, the use of damp wood led to the formation of cracks, which were supposed to be covered in this way. After the removal in 1953, the up to then fourteen paintings would have covered Hoeder's painting, so that only two works by Antoine Pesne and Jean-Baptiste Pater could be placed on the alcove wall.

The walls of the second and third guest rooms were already covered with a textile wall covering when they were furnished. In addition to over-port paintings with still lifes by Augustin Dubuisson (1700–1771), a son of Jean Baptiste Gayot Dubuisson, works by painters from the 18th century hang on the blue and white striped covering of the second room and on the red and white striped wall surface of the third room Landscapes and vedute by Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Luca Carlevaris, Michele Marieschi and others.

It is not known exactly who received the privilege of living in Sanssouci over the decades. Due to the naming of the fourth room, the “Voltaire room”, and the fifth, the “Rothenburg room”, two guests are associated with Sanssouci. It is not certain whether Voltaire lived in the summer palace during his stay in Potsdam from 1750 to 1753, as he lived in rooms in the Potsdam City Palace; in any case he was a frequent guest of the king during the three years. The “Voltaire room” is referred to as the “flower room” in an inventory list from 1782 and, like the first guest room, was presumably so in need of repair due to damp wood that Johann Christian Hoppenhaupt made new wood paneling in 1752/53. The original painting by Hoeder, with gray-purple ornaments, is now only visible in the bed niche. Hoppenhaupt created yellow-lacquered oak paneling with colorful, plastic wood carvings depicting flowers, fruits, bushes and animals. The colorful flower decoration made of stucco and sheet iron continues on the ceiling. Wilhelm II had a bust of Voltaire based on the model created in 1774 by the porcelain modeler Friedrich Elias Meyer the Elder. Ä. Copy 1889 and put in the room before 1905.

The counterpart to the library is the circular “Rothenburg Room”, also located outside the enfilade. It was named after a close confidante of the king, Count Friedrich Rudolf von Rothenburg, who lived in the room regularly until his death in 1751. The light green painted wood paneling was painted by Hoeder with Chinese motifs, which are similar to the design in the first guest room. The pictures by an unknown artist in the bed niche show grotesques that go back to ornamental engravings by Antoine Watteau. All rooms were equipped with chimneys and today, with the exception of the "Rothenburg Room", are furnished with furniture and art objects from the 18th century.

Side wing
In Frederick times, the single-storey side wing on the east side contained the rooms for servants and on the west side the castle kitchen and stable boxes for the horses. With the new building under Friedrich Wilhelm IV., The kitchen was in the east wing and the rooms for servants in the upper floor. The west wing accommodated the living quarters for ladies-in-waiting.


The wine store, an ice-making room, larger storage rooms, the lamp room, workrooms for cellar servants and the confectionery were housed in the newly built kitchen wing. The work rooms for the direct supply of the castle residents were on the ground floor. In addition to the 115 m² kitchen, which takes up the entire width of the side wing, there was a coffee kitchen for preparing breakfast and cold dishes, a coffee room, a baking chamber, the master kitchen’s office (coffee room), a small pantry and two rooms for cleaning the table silver. The kitchen master, the caretaker and other servants lived on the upper floor. Since the kitchen was only used from 1842 to 1873 and no structural changes were made after that, the fixed inventory is still available today. This includes a cast iron "cooking machine" with brass fittings and a rotating brass rod. The stove, which was state-of-the-art at the time, is equipped with hotplates in various sizes with compartments for roasting and baking, a water bubble and a heating cabinet.

The west wing, also known as the ladies' wing, was used to accommodate ladies-in-waiting and guests. In addition to smaller coffee kitchens and a room for the orderlies, three apartments for court ladies have been set up on the ground floor and two cavalier apartments and one women's apartment on the upper floor. Each apartment has two rooms. The sequence of rooms corresponds roughly to the "apartment double". Next to the bed niche, a door leads through a short corridor into the adjoining servants' room or the stairwell and another door into a small toilet room. Friedrich Wilhelm IV had the preferred rooms on the ground floor, with their direct access to the garden, designed with wood-paneled walls more elaborately than the usually wallpapered rooms on the upper floor. Almost all of the chimneys date from the Frederician era and were probably built into Frederick II's western apartment in the Potsdam City Palace, which was redesigned around 1800. The rooms were furnished with rococo furniture from the Frederician era and newly made pieces in the "second rococo" style. In later years, however, contemporary furniture was also added.

The “second Rococo” was a style of the multi-layered art of the 19th century from the mid-1820s and especially in the 1840s. For Friedrich Wilhelm IV. In connection with Sanssouci, however, not only a fad, but also a return to the artistic values ​​of Frederick II and, as a result, can only be found in Sanssouci. In the numerous other buildings that arose during his reign in Potsdam, he preferred styles of antiquity, the Renaissance and classicism.

Sanssouci Park
After the terracing of the vineyard and the completion of the Sanssouci Palace, the surroundings were included in the design. A baroque ornamental garden was created with lawns, flower beds, hedges and trees. 3000 fruit trees were planted in the hedgerows. Oranges, melons, peaches and bananas were in the greenhouses of the numerous park gardeners. The goddesses Flora and Pomona, who adorn the obelisk portal at the eastern exit of the park, point out the connection between the ornamental and kitchen gardens.

The expansion of the facility after the construction of further buildings resulted in a dead straight, around two kilometer long main avenue. This began in the east at the obelisk erected in 1748 and extended over the years to the New Palace, which forms the end in the west. At the height of the picture gallery erected in 1764 and the new chambers erected in 1774, which flank the castle, the avenue opens up to roundels with fountain basins, which are lined with marble sculptures. From these points, paths branch off in a star shape between tall hedges into further garden areas.

When designing the park, Frederick the Great continued what he had already started in Neuruppin and Rheinsberg. During his stay in Neuruppin, where he was the commander of a regiment from 1732 to 1735 when he was crown prince, he had an ornamental and kitchen garden laid out at his residence. Already here he deviated from the classic design of the baroque gardens, which were purely for representation, based on the model of Versailles, by combining the beautiful with the useful. He followed this principle in Rheinsberg as well. When the palace was redesigned, which Friedrich II received as a gift from his father, the soldier king Friedrich Wilhelm I, in 1734, he had hedged fruit and vegetable quarters set up. The main axis and a larger transverse axis were no longer directed towards the castle, as was usual in French-style parks, but ran at right angles to the building from the south wing.


Frederick the Great invested a lot of money in the park's fountain system, as water features were an integral part of Baroque gardens. In Sanssouci, however, the project failed due to the lack of specialist knowledge of the builders, so that it was not possible to channel water from a high basin on the ruin mountain down into the park. The Neptune Grotto in the eastern part of the park, completed in 1757, did not fulfill its intended function, nor did the fountain systems or the marble colonnade built from 1751 to 1762 according to plans by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, which was located in the western section of the main avenue, within the Rehgarten. The water feature, also known as the “Rehgarten Colonnade” due to its former location, is no longer preserved, as it had to be demolished in 1797 due to its dilapidation.

It was not until a hundred years later that the project succeeded with the help of steam power, and the purpose of the water reservoir was fulfilled. In October 1842, an 81.4 hp steam engine built by August Borsig went into operation and raised the water jet from the "Great Fountain" below the vineyard terraces to 38 meters. A pumping station was built especially for this machine at the Havel Bay, which, as Persius wrote in his diary, was commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm IV. And between 1841 and 1843 by Persius, in the style of Turkish mosques with a minaret as a chimney was erected.

Years earlier, Friedrich Wilhelm III. an area that bordered Sanssouci Park to the south, and gave it to his son Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm (IV.) at Christmas 1825. Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Ludwig Persius built Charlottenhof Palace on the site of a former manor house. Peter Joseph Lenné was commissioned to design the surrounding area. Taking into account the baroque ornamental and kitchen garden from the Frederician era, the garden architect transformed the flat, in places swampy terrain into an open landscape park. The wide meadows created visual axes between Charlottenhof Palace, the Roman Baths and the New Palace with the friendship temple from the time of Frederick the Great. Loosely set groups of shrubs and trees enliven the large park area, at the south-eastern end of which a moat has been expanded into a pond. Lenné used the excavated earth to create a gently undulating terrain, at the top of which the walking paths meet in a star shape. This southern part is also known as Park Charlottenhof.

Friedrich II. And Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Shaped the complex in the 18th and 19th centuries in a contemporary style and created a total work of art of architecture and garden design with their own artistic cooperation through their architects, sculptors, painters, decorators and gardeners, the heart of which is the vineyard terraces with the crowning lock. The historic Sanssouci park with an area of ​​around 290 hectares and almost 70 kilometers of paths is the largest in the Mark Brandenburg.

In the park and on the adjacent Klausberg, in addition to the Sanssouci Palace, other buildings and garden architecture under Frederick II were built, which are still preserved today:
Picture gallery
New chambers
Neptune grotto
Chinese house
New palace with the communs and the triumphal gate
Friendship stamp
Temple of Antiquity
Obelisk Portal and the Obelisk
Ensemble of artificial ruins on the ruin mountain (north of the park)
Belvedere on the Klausberg (north of the park)
Royal vineyard on Klausberg (north of the park)
Drachenhaus on the Klausberg (north of the park)

Friedrich Wilhelm IV had the Park Sanssouci supplemented with further buildings:
Charlottenhof Palace
Roman baths
Friedenskirche with the adjoining groups of buildings
Orangery Palace, also New Orangery (north of the park)
A buried, no longer visible model fort northeast of the New Palace, near Maulbeerallee, dates from the time of Wilhelm II.

Visitors at the time of Friedrich
The park was open to all visitors, as was the picture gallery, which could be viewed under the guidance of the supervisor. But the New Palace and even Sanssouci Palace itself were made accessible to visitors when the king was not present.

The French general Count Guibert wrote about Sanssouci in Friedrich's time:

“There you never found that noise, that tumult, that eternal to-and-fro of idle greatness, order-bearing conceit and bustling intrigue, as you usually do on the streets leading to the courtyards. The eye was not injured by the sight of hopes, greed and ambition, of all those passions which are more often unhappy than satisfied. One could believe that one was coming to the residence of an ordinary citizen. Having three or four unarmed soldiers standing near the castle as the only guard did not change that impression much. Hardly that a few scattered servants showed up here and there. Everything seemed deserted and was therefore all the more sublime, as in those temples, where loneliness, far more than crowding, proclaims the presence of the Godhead and calls to worship. One walked through this castle, and its deserted expanse, the splendor that seemed more developed for curiosity than for use, the small apartment to which Friedrich confined himself, everything could have aroused the belief that a king lived there, who indeed would have kept his palace but laid down the crown. "

Marshal Francisco de Miranda wrote in 1785:
“We took a clerk and a carriage and visited the palace of Sans-Souci… In the library by the window the king's armchair stood at a lectern with the open 'Art of War' of Marshal von Pussegur. Our guide told us that His Majesty was in it earlier would have read. The library and living rooms are extremely artistically and sumptuously furnished, splendid furniture. In the midst of all this splendor, a simple round wooden table stands out in the dining room. The bed in a corner separated by a screen, an ordinary wooden frame, would be too poor for a monk. Otherwise, curtains and furniture are precious, but because the use of handkerchiefs is apparently unknown, they look very disgusting. "

And after a visit in 1778 Goethe wrote:
"And I got really close to old Fritz because I saw his being, his gold, silver, marble, monkeys, parrots and torn curtains, and heard his own rag-dogs argue about the great man."