The initial design of Sanssouci park was laid by Frederick the Great for cultivating plums, figs and producing wine in 1744. Only a year after the king commissioned architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff to build a summer residence neighbouring the park due to the spectacular view to the surrounding vineyard terrace known as Weinberg (Mountain of Wine).
The palace was constructed in Rococo style between 1745 and 1747. The king, who took part in the initial sketching, used the residence to find retreat with his dogs and didn’t allow any renovations or repairs. It was a place where he could live without worries during turbulent times, hence the name of the palace, sans souci, meaning ‘without worries’ in French. Legendary philosophers such as Voltaire stayed in Sanssouci Palace on the king’s invitation. He would meet them in the central room called Marmorsaal (Marble Hall), which was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. The king had very specific habits, including not allowing any women inside the palace, even his own wife. The king wished the palace to belong only to himself and last only his lifetime.
Despite this, the palace has remained unchanged, with the rooms kept in the same decor as in the 18th century. Although the king wanted to be buried here, this was realized only in 1991, on the 205th anniversary of his death. The tomb of King Frederick the Great can be found on one of the castle hills.
The last royalty to live in this palace was the widow of Frederick William IV. Later, Sanssouci palace was turned into a museum and opened to the public in 1927. Some of the oil paintings and King Frederick’s books were taken from the palace. Thirty oil paintings were brought back to Sanssouci only after the reunification of Germany.
A tour to the best rooms of the palace is an absolute must. All of them are decorated with splendid wall art and paintings. The most memorable rooms are the Little Gallery, the Concert Room, the Bedroom, the Library, the Voltaire Room and, most importantly, the Marble Hall.
The palace initially had only twelve rooms and symbolized the modestly of King Frederick. New buildings were later constructed within the borders of the park to accent the power of the Prussia. The most impressive of them is the Neues Palais, consisting of two hundred luxurious rooms and designed in Baroque style.
Sanssouci palace is just one of the many attractions nestled in the 700-acre park. It has around 70km of walkways and consists of several sections like the New Palace, New Chambers Palace, Chinese House, orangery and Charlottenhof Palace. The beauty of the park is enhanced by marble-white statues and colourful flower buds. The entire park is divided into gardens; the largest is Grosse Fontäne (Big Fountain).
Some of the ruins of the northern sector of the palace were later grouped together
Today Sansouci Palace serves as a venue for numerous cultural events such as concerts and festivals. It’s an inseparable part of the Prussian palaces in Potsdam and one of the most visited attractions in Germany.