Not to be outdone by his uncle Frederick The Great, his successor, Frederick William II, decided to build his own legacy for posterity in the form of the rather unoriginally named Neuer Garten (New Garden). This epithet was presumably to distinguish it from the “old” gardens associated with his uncle at Sanssouci. All the Hohenzollern rulers appear to be called Frederick, William or when they ran out of ideas Frederick William – it does get a bit confusing!
The Cecilienhof, site of the famous Potsdam Conference, sits at the northern end of the park and after a quick visit (see here) we wandered round the rest of the park grounds. The Neuer Garten is beautifully laid out with serene views over a couple of lakes, the Heiliger See and the Jungfernsee.
The Marmorpalais, constructed at the same time, dominates the scenery but in a stylish and pleasant way. Frederick William II had a couple of wives (not at the same time!) and several mistresses. The official mistress, Wilhelmine, Graefin von Lichtenau, oversaw much of the interior design of the palace. With a charming Orangerie, pretty English style gardens and dreamy views it conjures up images of bygone times.
The royal household came up with an ingenious way of storing perishable goods and presumably keeping the royal wine collection in tact. The Ice House, which sits near Heiliger See in the grounds, is constructed in the form of a pyramid. During winter ice was removed from the lake and buried deep under the structure – this acted as a refrigeration unit and royal beer fridge for the rest of the year!
The Neuer Garten is reminiscent of a grand country estate. On the way out of the grounds we passed by Dutch style houses used mainly in the past for stables and servants quarters.
Just outside the Neuer Garten, en route into the centre of town, we came across a rather curious little settlement. The Alexandrowska is, as its name suggests, a nod to the Russian Empire. It transpired that Frederick William III (Frederick William II’s son and successor) was a good friend of the Russian Tsar. As a tribute he had the Russian colony constructed between 1826 and 1827. The Russian wooden style houses were home to Russian singers and musicians who were attached originally to the First Prussian Regiment Of The Guards. Today a small museum can give you an insight into this fascinating historical episode (something that will have to wait for another day as we ran out of time to visit).
For more inspiration and wonderful walks around the world visit Restless Jo at her regular Monday Walk!
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