Potsdam


Potsdam

:"Also see: "Potsdam, New York" (in the USA).":"For the Potsdam Conference, see:" Potsdam Conference.Infobox German Location
Name = Potsdam
Art = City
image_photo = Potsdam - Schloss Sanssouci.jpg
image_caption = Sanssouci, former summer palace of Frederick the Great
Wappen = Potsdam Wappen.pnglat_deg = 52 | lat_min = 24 | lat_sec = 0
lon_deg = 13 | lon_min = 4 | lon_sec = 0
Bundesland = Brandenburg
Landkreis = urban
Höhe = 35-114
Fläche = 187.28
area_metro =
Einwohner = 150000
pop_metro =
Stand = 2008-02-14
pop_ref = [ [http://www.maerkischeallgemeine.de/cms/beitrag/11134113/60709/Menschen_wohnen_seit_gestern_offiziell_in_der_Stadt.html] News report of population having reached 150,000]
PLZ = 14401–14482
Vorwahl = 0331
Kfz = P
Gemeindeschlüssel = 12 0 54 000
Gliederung =
Website = [http://www.potsdam.de/ potsdam.de]
Bürgermeister = Jann Jakobs
Bürgermeistertitel = Oberbürgermeister
Partei = SPD
ruling_party1 =
ruling_party2 =
ruling_party3 =
year =

Potsdam IPA| [ˈpɔtsdam] is the capital city of the federal state of Brandenburg in Germany. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin. It is a part of the Metropolitan area Berlin/Brandenburg.

Potsdam is known as the former residence of the Prussian kings until 1918. The city features a series of interconnected lakes and unique cultural landscapes, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany.

The Potsdam district of Babelsberg also serves as one of the leading centres of European film production. The Filmstudio Babelsberg has significant historical value as the oldest large-scale film studio in the world. The Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg frequently records soundtracks for domestic and foreign-based film productions.

The city developed into a centre of science in Germany beginning in the 19th century. Today there are 3 public colleges and more than 30 research-institutes in Potsdam.

Geography

Potsdam is situated south-west of Berlin. The area was formed from a series of large moraines during the last ice age. Today the city consists of 75% green area, with just 25% covered with buildings or streets. There are about 20 lakes and rivers in Potsdam, for example the Havel, the Griebnitzsee, Templiner See, Tiefer See, Jungfernsee, Teltowkanal, Heiliger See and the Sacrower See. The tallest hill is the convert|114|m|ft|0|sing=on-high "Kleiner Ravensberg".

Potsdam is divided into 7 historic city districts and 9 new "Ortsteile" (village parts), which joined the city in 2003. The appearance of the city districts is quite different. The districts in the north and in the centre consist mainly of historical buildings, the south of the city is dominated by larger areas of newer buildings.

History

Potsdam was probably founded in the 7th century as a Slavic village called "Poztupimi," centred on a castle. A possible translation of the name might be "beneath the oaks". It was first mentioned in writing in 993, and by 1317 it was mentioned as a small town, by now German, which gained its town charter in 1345. In 1573 it was still a small market town of 2000 inhabitants. The Thirty Years' War (1618 - 1648) destroyed nearly half the town.

Potsdam's fortunes changed dramatically when it was chosen in 1660 as the hunting residence of Frederick William I, elector of Brandenburg, the core of the powerful state that later became the Kingdom of Prussia. It also housed a Prussian barracks.

[
Voltaire at the residence of Frederick II in Potsdam. Partial view of an engraving by Pierre Charles Baquoy, after N. A. Monsiau.]

After the Edict of Potsdam in 1685 Potsdam became a centre of European immigration. Its religious freedom attracted people from France (Huguenots), Russia, the Netherlands, and Bohemia. The edict allowed a faster population growth and a recovery of the economy.

Later the city was adopted as a full residence of the Prussian royal family. The majestic buildings of the royal residence were built mainly during the reign of Frederick the Great. One of these buildings is the Sanssouci Palace (French: "without cares", by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, 1744), famed for its formal gardens and Rococo interiors. Other buildings in the royal residence complex include the Neues Palais and the Orangery.

While Berlin was the official capital of Prussia and later of the German Empire, the court remained in nearby Potsdam, where many government officials settled. In 1914 the Emperor Wilhelm II signed the Declaration of War in the New Palace in Potsdam. The city lost this status as a second capital in 1918, when World War I ended and Wilhelm II abdicated.

At the beginning of the Third Reich a ceremonial handshake between President Paul von Hindenburg and the new Chancellor Adolf Hitler took place on 21 March 1933 in Potsdam's Garnisonkirche (Garrison Church), symbolising a coalition of the military (Reichswehr) and Nazism. Potsdam was severely damaged in bombing raids during World War II.

The Cecilienhof palace was the scene of the Potsdam Conference from 17 July to 2 August 1945, at which the victorious Allied leaders (Harry S. Truman; Winston Churchill followed by Clement Attlee; and Stalin) met to decide the future of Germany and postwar Europe in general. The conference ended with the Potsdam Agreement and the Potsdam Declaration.

The government of East Germany (also known as the GDR) endeavoured to erase the symbols of Prussian militarism. Many historic buildings, some of them badly damaged in the war, were torn down.

Potsdam, lying to the southwest of Berlin, bordered on West Berlin after the construction of the Berlin Wall. The walling off of West Berlin not only cut Potsdam off from West Berlin, but also doubled commuting times to East Berlin. The Glienicke Bridge across the Havel connected the city to West Berlin and was the scene of some Cold War exchanges of spies.

After German reunification, Potsdam became the capital of the newly re-established state of Brandenburg. There are many ideas and efforts to reconstruct the original appearance of the city, most remarkably the Potsdam City Palace and the Garrisonchurch.

Politics

Administration

Potsdam has had a mayor ("Bürgermeister") and city council since the fifteenth century. From 1809 the city council was elected, with a mayor ("Oberbürgermeister") at its head. In the Third Reich the mayor was selected by the NSDAP and the city council dissolved; it was reconstituted in token form after the Second World War, but free elections did not take place until after reunification.

Today the city council is the central administrative organ of the city. The last local elections took place on 26 October 2003, with the next in 2008. From 1990 to 1999 the Chairman of the city council was known as the "town president". Today this person is called simply the "chairman of the city council". The mayor is elected directly. In the last mayoral election, on 22 September 2002, no candidate gained an overall majority, and a run-off election was held between Jann Jakobs (SPD) and Hans-Jürgen Scharfenberg (PDS), with Jann Jakobs gaining the narrowest of victories, with 50.1%.

The Landtag of Brandenburg, the parliament of the federal state of Brandenburg is situated in the capital Potsdam. It is planned to move into the building of the Potsdam City Palace, after the end of the reconstruction in 2011.

ister towns

Potsdam has city partnerships with the following cities:

Education and research

Potsdam is a university town. The University of Potsdam was founded in 1991 as a university of the State of Brandenburg. Its predecessor was the "Akademie für Staats- und Rechtswissenschaften der DDR "Walter Ulbricht", a college of education founded in 1948 which was one of the GDR's most important colleges. There are about 17,500 students today in the University.

In 1991 the Fachhochschule was founded as the second college with today 2400 students.

In addition there is a College of Film and Television ("Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen "Konrad Wolf" HFF"), founded in 1954 in Babelsberg, the foremost centre of the German film industry since its birth with 600 students today.

There are also several research foundations, including a Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research, Max Planck Institutes for [http://www.aei.mpg.de/english/contemporaryIssues/home/index.html Gravitational Physics] ("Albert-Einstein-Institute"), [http://www.mpikg.mpg.de/en/index_e.html Colloids and Interfaces] , and [http://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/index-e.html Molecular Plant Physiology] , the [http://www.aip.de/ Potsdam Astrophysical Institute] and the [http://www.pik-potsdam.de/ Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research] , which employs 140 people in researching climate change.

Along with universities, Potsdam is home to known secondary schools. Montessori Gesamtschule Potsdam, located in western Potsdam, attracts 400 students from all around Brandenburg and Berlin.

Sights in Potsdam

Potsdam was historically a centre of European immigration. Its religious tolerance attracted people from France, Russia, the Netherlands, and Bohemia. This is still visible in the culture and architecture of the city.

The attraction that draws most visitors to Potsdam is Park Sanssouci, 2 km west of the city centre. In 1744 King Frederick the Great ordered the construction of a residence here, where he could live "sans souci" ("without worries", in the French spoken at the court). The park hosts many magnificent buildings:

* The Sanssouci Palace (Schloss Sanssouci), a relatively modest palace of the Prussian royal and German imperial family
* The Orangery Palace (Orangerieschloss), former palace for foreign royal guests
* The New Palace (Neues Palais), built between 1763 and 1769 to celebrate the end of the Seven Years' War, in which Prussia ousted Austria from its centuries-long role as the dominant power in German affairs. It is a much larger and grander palace than Sanssouci, having over 200 rooms and 400 statues as decoration. It served as a guest house for numerous royal visitors.
* The Charlottenhof Palace (Schloss Charlottenhof), a Neoclassical palace by Karl Friedrich Schinkel built in 1826
* The Roman Baths (Römische Bäder), built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Ludwig Persius in 1829-1840. It is a complex of buildings including a tea pavilion, a Renaissance-style villa, and a Roman bathhouse (from which the whole complex takes its name).
* The Chinese Tea House (Chinesisches Teehaus), an eighteenth-century pavilion built in a Chinese style, which was the fashion of the time.

The Old Market Square (Alter Markt) is Potsdam's historical centre. For three centuries this was the site of the City Palace (Stadtschloß), a royal palace built in 1662. Under Frederick the Great, the palace became the winter residence of the Prussian kings. The palace was severely damaged by bombing in 1945 and demolished in 1961 by the Communist authorities. In 2002 the "Gate of Fortune" (Fortunaportal) was rebuilt in its original historic position, which marks the first step in the reconstruction of the palace. The Old Market Square is dominated today by the dome of the Nicolas Church (Nikolaikirche), built in 1837 in the classical style. It was the last work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, who designed the building but did not live to see its completion. It was finished by his disciples Friedrich August Stüler and Ludwig Persius. The eastern side of the Market Square is dominated by the Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus), built in 1755 by the Dutch architect Jan Bouman (1706-1776). It has a characteristic circular tower, crowned with a gilded Atlas bearing the world on his shoulders.

North of the Old Market Square is the oval French Church (Französische Kirche), erected in the 1750s by Boumann for the Huguenot community, and the Brandenburg Gate (built in 1770, not to be confused with the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin).

Another landmark of Potsdam is the two-street Dutch Quarter (Holländisches Viertel), an ensemble of buildings that is unique in Europe, with about 150 houses built of red bricks in the Dutch style. It was built between 1734 and 1742 under the direction of Jan Bouman to be used by Dutch craftsmen who had been invited to settle here by King Frederick Wilhelm I. Today this area is one of Potsdam's most visited neighborhoods.

North of the city center is the Russian colony Alexandrowka, a small enclave of Russian architecture (including an Orthodox chapel) built in 1825 for a group of Russian immigrants. Since 1999 the colony has been a UNESCO world heritage site.

East of the Alexandrowka colony is a large park, the New Garden (Neuer Garten), which was laid out beginning in 1786 in the English style. The site contains two palaces—one of them, the Palace Cecilienhof, where the Potsdam Conference was held in July and August, 1945. The Marble Palace was built in 1789 in the style of Classicism.

Another interesting area of Potsdam is Babelsberg, a quarter east of the centre, housing the UFA film studios (Babelsberg Studios), and an extensive park with some interesting buildings, including the Babelsberg Palace (Schloß Babelsberg, a neo-Gothic palace designed by Schinkel). The Einstein Tower was built between 1920 and 1924 by architect Erich Mendelsohn on the top of the "Telegraphenberg".

There are many parks in Potsdam, most of them belonging to UNESCO World Heritage sites. Some of them are:


Belvedere near Park Sanssouci
Babelsberg to Berlin.
Chinese House

References

Literature

* Paul Sigel, Silke Dähmlow, Frank Seehausen und Lucas Elmenhorst, Architekturführer Potsdam Architectural Guide, Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-496-01325-7.

External links

* [http://www.potsdam.de/cms/ziel/26670/EN/ Official city homepage]
* [http://www.potsdam-tour.co.uk Interactive aerial tour of Potsdam]


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