A little postscript following on from last week’s post about Sanssouci (see here).
To the side of the front terrace you come across a curious tomb. Covered with potatoes, this is the final resting place of Frederick The Great!
The reason for the potatoes is apparently because Frederick introduced them into Prussia in the mid 18th century. They seem to fit with the lack of ostentation (for the times) that Frederick displayed during his life.
However the story of Frederick’s final resting place has had more than a few twists and turns. He wished to be buried near his beloved vine terraces and alongside his favourite dogs. However, after his death in 1786 (he died in an armchair in his study), his nephew and successor, Frederick William II, went against his uncle’s instructions. Instead Frederick William had his uncle buried in what he considered a more fitting place, the Potsdam Garrison Church (see here for an interesting article on the church’s controversial past). Frederick was thus laid to rest next to the tomb of the father he hated, Frederick William I, the Soldier King. We had heard some pretty traumatic stories of Frederick’s upbringing during our tour round the palace and one could well understand his wishes to be kept apart from his father even in death.
Frederick’s coffin stayed in the garrison church until 1943 when it was removed by German soldiers for safekeeping. His father’s coffin was removed at the same time and after a few twists and turns they both ended up at the Burg Hohenzollern in Hechingen Baden Wuerttemberg.
Happily after the reunification of Germany, Frederick’s final wishes were fulfilled. On 17th August 1991, the 205th anniversary of his death, Frederick’s sarcophagus was laid out on the forecourt of Sanssouci with a military guard of honour. He was buried in his chosen resting place later that night.
You can still see all the graves of Frederick’s favourite dogs next to the main tomb (they had lain there undisturbed all that time).
His father was reburied in the Mausoleum of the Church Of Peace (Die Friedenskirche) in Sanssouci Park. We found this church a bit dark and forbidding in comparison to the charms of Sanssouci and I’ve only shown the better photos of it here.
In addition to his summer palace at Sanssouci, Frederick also had the larger and more overtly palatial Neues Palais (The New Palace) built some 20 years or so later. It was partly built to show the rest of Europe that Prussia had survived stronger and intact following the Seven Years’ War though Frederick disliked its “ostentation” and hardly ever lived there himself.
Frederick apparently said of his desired final resting place, “”Quand je serai là, je serai sans souci” (Once I am there, I shall be carefree). Sanssouci Park is a beautiful legacy enjoyed by visitors from far and wide to this day.
Copyright © 2017 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved