The main rooms of the palace all face onto the lovely garden – be sure to have a wander through it if weather permits.
Though it is sometimes touted as Germany’s answer to Versailles, the truth is that Sanssouci is much more in keeping with the modesty of a king who once said “A crown is just a hat that lets the rain in.” Originally, Frederick the Great had simply wanted to grow grapes, plums and figs on the hills outside Potsdam, but on seeing the place he immediately fell in love with the beautiful view, and decided that this was to be the location for his new summer residence.
The Palace Without Cares
The job of designing the palace was given to the famed Prussian architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff. He decided on the light, airy Rococo style, which was in vogue at the time, and which he felt perfectly suited the purposes of the new residence. The name was conceived with the same thought in mind; sans souci is a French expression meaning “without a care”.
The simple single-storey exterior of Sanssouci belies a much more royal interior. Although the principal block contains just ten rooms, they are luxuriously furnished, with plenty of marble, mahogany and gold inlay used throughout. Coming in through the entrance hall, you’ll see the fashionable exterior colonnade motif continued inside in the form of ten pairs of Corinthian-style stucco marble columns. Particularly intriguing are the king’s study and bedroom. Here you can see the very armchair in which Frederick died, returned in the mid-19th century after a long period of absence.
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