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Across the banks of River Havel and a few steps from Berlin, the gem of Brandenburg awaits to be discovered! Search for cheap air tickets to Potsdam, if you wish to see a different view of German history. A great city with an even greater history, Potsdam never fails to impress with its elegant skyline. The fact that the city served for years as the seat of Prussia’s royal family cannot be ignored; a “royal” touch of magnificence and elegance is evident throughout Potsdam, in every street, building and garden. Book one of Potsdam’s cheap hotels and enjoy the UNESCO-listed Potsdam, one of the most valued rivals of Berlin!
Potsdam is the capital of the German federate state of Brandenburg. Situated among lush forests and serene lakes and featuring a splendid skyline with immaculate views, Potsdam bears the marks of Prussian monarchs like Frederik the Great, who built the legendary Sanssouci Palace.
The city centre of Potsdam was heavily bombed during World War II and remained secluded and hardly accessible from Berlin, despite its short distance from it.
Most of the buildings you see today in Potsdam are the result of restoration and refurbishment, which took place under the auspices of the Government of East Germany.
Proud creators of this marvellous cityscape are largely five main architects; Peter Joseph Lenné, Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, Carl Phillipp Christian von Gontard, Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Friedrich Ludwig Persius.
The nearest airport to Potsdam is the airport of Berlin (Berlin Tegel Airport), located 32 kilometres from Potsdam and accessible by train (S-Bahn) and bus.
Getting around Potsdam
You can get around Potsdam using the city’s tramway and bus network. Fares start from 1.30€ and minimum taxi fare costs around 3.00€.
From the old, pre-war city of Potsdam, three gates have survived; the Jägertor Gate, the oldest of the three, constructed in 1733 and the Brandenburg Gate – different than Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate – , of equal beauty and importance, built in 1770.
Your day in Potsdam begins at the historic centre of the city, the Alter Markt. For three centuries, the Alter Markt served as the seat of Potsdam’s City Palace (Stadtschloß), the official residence of Brandenburg’s rulers.
Frederik the Great used it as his and his family’s winter residence, but the building did not endure the World War II bombings. 2002 was marked as the year of the official commencement of its reconstruction. The building was finally completed in 2013 and it is now the seat of the Parliament of Brandenburg.
Continue to the Sanssouci Park, a wide area of elegant gardens that surround Potsdam’s most significant palaces.
- The Schloss Sanssouci is a small palace that once served as a residence and art centre of the king and was later used as a guesthouse for honourable guests of the palace – one of whom was Voltaire!
Allow some time to explore the palace’s 12 beautiful halls and take in all the glory of its 97-metre-tall façade, decorated with 35 caryatids and a monumental dome.
- At the west end of the park, you can see the Neues Palais, Frederik’s most spectacular palace. Built in 1769 to honour Prussia’s victory over Austria during the Seven Years’ War, the Neues Palace is far larger and more glorious than the Sanssouci Palace, with over 200 rooms and halls. It remains decorated with fine frescoes, gilded ornaments and extravagant furniture, as it was during the King’s era.
North of the historic centre, you will come across Alexandrowka, the Russian Quarter of Potsdam and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alexandrowka was Frederik III’s gift to his friend, Tsar Alexander I of Russia in 1820. The first residents of the district were members of the Russian Army Choir, descendants of whom still reside in traditional wooden houses.
For a different view, style and character of Potsdam, head to the Dutch Quarter (Holländisches Viertel); a series of 150 red-brick buildings in the traditional Dutch architecture, initially built to house Dutch artists invited by Frederik I, now house small shops, bars and cafes and rank among the Potsdam’s top tourist hotspots.
The official language of Potsdam is German.