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World Heritage List (1997) C 532

Sanssouci Palace

The small rococo palace sits on the top of a hill, his southern front overlooking the Havel landscape. King Friedrich II designed it as his personal "Maison de plaisance" (fig.1). The architect G.W. v. Knobelsdorff implemented the royal plans 1745-1747. The result was a one-storey building with a cupola over the oval marble hall and the vestibule in the center, and only four rooms on each side. The northern entrance was flanked by a semi-circular colonnade, the southern front decorated with 36 sandstone sculptures between the tall ground floor windows.

The interior, the walls, ceilings and doors of all rooms were richly and intricately embellished and furnished in the rococo style. Among them were the intimate library with cedar wood panels (fig.2) and the magnificent concert room, artistically preserved in the etchings of A. Menzel.

The palace gained additional charm through its setting (fig.3). The southern hill slope, called Weinberg, was shaped into six terraces through talus walls in parabolic curves. The foot plain was transformed into a baroque style garden with a round pond (and later a fountain) in its center, with artistically cut hedges and flower beds and with many marble sculptures.

A few years after the completion of the palace a picture gallery with the Dutch garden was added on the hill slope to the east, the similar new chambers with the rose garden to the west of the palace. They form the rococo core in the park of Sanssouci (map fig.4).


fig.1: Sketch of the Sanssouci palace by Friedrich II in 1744


fig.2: Library of the Sanssouci palace (etching by A. Menzel)


fig.3: Sanssouci palace and the Weinberg terraces (etching by A. Menzel)



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