Sanssouci – the castle without a care.
Friedrich the Great built Sanssouci as a summer retreat. Without a show of pomp and circumstance, he guided the fate of Prussia in the eighteenth century. His beloved summer palace was his ideal of everyone’s wish of living without a care – Sans souci.
The rococo castle is build on a small rise, covered with vineyard terraces, near Potsdam (just 30 km from Berlin) in 1745-47. It was Frederich’s personal sanctuary, a place he retreated in times of difficulties to relax.
Today Sanssouci still possesses a special kind of magic and charm. And the barock garden and spreading park and grounds, with the Neues Palais, the Chinese House, Orangery (botanical garden) and the Charlottenhof are all very impressive…like a mini-version of Versailles (but much more minimalistic).
Sanssouci survived the Second World War unscathed, though some of the art works and furniture removed for safe keeping went missing. The palace is elegant rather than opulent – after all, it was intended as a summer residence, a retreat to enjoy the country air. Since we went on a Monday the castle, that today is a museum, was closed. But it was a beautiful and sunny day, so we spend all our time hanging out in the park. There is a parking lot just behind the castle, but it is also very easy to arrive by train.
The park is huge, so it took us a while to get through, but we took it slow and had lots of snacks and water with us. It is prohibited to ride bicycles or similar inside the park, so wear good shoes and at least plan to have half a day or more to cover the grounds.
The entire complex with its palaces and park is UNESCO World Heritage, and is recognised as “an outstanding example of architectural creations and landscaping” and “a cultural property of exceptional quality”.