Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Germany : Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin (1990)

With 500 ha of parks and 150 buildings constructed between 1730 and 1916, Potsdam's complex of palaces and parks forms an artistic whole, whose eclectic nature reinforces its sense of uniqueness. It extends into the district of Berlin-Zehlendorf, with the palaces and parks lining the banks of the River Havel and Lake Glienicke. Voltaire stayed at the Sans-Souci Palace, built under Frederick II between 1745 and 1747.

The Sacrow estate includes the 18th century seigneurial residence (converted from a 14th century castle), the Church of St Saviour, built to the designs of the architect Ludwig Persius in 1841-44, and the park, created for Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia by Persius and the gardener Peter Joseph Lenne. This was integrated into the overall landscape of chateaux and gardens of Potsdam and Babelsberg, most of which survives relatively intact.
The estate stood until recently on the boundary between the former German Democratic Republic and the territory of West Berlin and was in consequence seriously neglected. Access to the church was prohibited and the building was abandoned. It was only following the intervention of the West Berlin authorities, strongly supported by the press, who demanded that restoration work be carried out and supplied the necessary funding, that work began to put at least the roof of the church into repair in 1981-82. Work is continuing in the interior of the church, the chateau and the gardens, under the management of the Berlin- Potsdam chateaux and parks administration.

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