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World Heritage List (1997) C 532

New Palace

The building complex of the New Palace is the last and most impressive baroque monument of the Prussian kings. Its main buildings are the New Palace and the Communes.

The plan to extend the baroque gardens of Sanssouci to the west was considered around 1750 already, but only after the successful end of the Seven Years' War king Friedrich II ordered the construction of the New Palace. It was meant as manifestation of the success and self-confidence of the absolute ruler of Prussia in competition to the palace of Versailles of the French kings. The New Palace was built 1763-1769 by J.G. Büring, and (since 1765) C. v. Gontard as main architects. It is 220 m long, three storeys high, crowned with a majestic tambour cupola and decorated with 428 large sculptures (fig.1). It comprises more than 200 rooms, spacious living quarters and representative rooms for royal functions, among them the grotto hall, richly decorated with shells and semiprecious stones, the marble hall and the small theatre.

Behind the New Palace two larger square buildings were constructed. They housed the residences of the courtiers and servants, the kitchen and other utilities. They were called Communes. Facing the palace they were blended with palace like column fronts and connected by an impressive semicircular colonnade (fig.2).

fig.1: Park front of the New Palace (Etching by A. Menzel)

fig.2: Palace front of the Communes (Etching by A. Menzel)

Department of Cartography within the Department of Geographical Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, June 1997