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Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Visit to Potsdam

Describing the town of Postdam - it's hard to know where to start.Situated about 10 km from Berlin suburbs like Charlottenburg where we stayed, this town has so much to offer.It played an important role in German history and is a beautiful little town, surrounded by lakes, marshes and forests.
The magnificent castle of Sanssouci comes to mind first.

                                           Bildergebnis für schloss sanssouci potsdam                                                  
The smallish castle is a gem with beautiful gardens and water fountains. It was built by "The Old Fritz", as this king was lovingly called ( King Friederich II of Prussia or Friederich the Great, * 24. January 1712 in Berlin; † 17. August 1786 in Potsdam). He got his name for being a successful yet reluctant king, statesman and hero -  he won 3 so called Silesian Wars and the 7-Year War establishing Prussia as a super power besides Austria, England, France and Russia in the 18th century.
A friend of Voltaire, he was dedicated to the idea of Enlightenment; he abolished torture and practiced tolerance towards the Huguenots and Catholics..
                                                Bildergebnis für der alte fritz
We had visited the castle on a winter day winter before a couple of years ago. It was a joy to stroll through the gardens on a summer's afternoon.
                                    Bildergebnis für schloss sanssouci potsdam   
When visiting Potsdam, the Dutch Quarter is a must. The Old Fritz had it built primarily by Dutch builders who were used to building on swampy land. It still resembles Dutch towns; the quarter is a cute little town in itself with lots of cafes, restaurants and boutiques vying for your attention.
                                         Bildergebnis für holländisches viertel potsdam

Potsdam maybe mostly known for its role at the end of World War II. The three heads of state, Josef Stalin, Truman, Winston Churchill and later France met in Potsdam's Cecilienhof  (another castle) to discuss the future of Germany in July- August 1945. The Allies signed the Potsdam Treaty which effectively decided paved the way for denazification, the establishment of democracy and the rebuilding of Germany. Until 1989 when the wall fell, Potsdam, however, remained in the hands of the Russians and under GDR rule (German Democratic republic=communist Germany and not so democratic at all!).
So worth a day trip! We still want to go back on day.

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