The Park Sanssouci was originally an orchard near Potsdam. This was the favorite retreat of King Frederick II - later known as Frederick the Great. Here he could stay without worries (hence the name sans souci, French for "without worries"). No women were allowed in Sanssouci, not even the king"s wife.
In 1744 the king commissioned architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff to build a summer palace, the Schloss Sanssouci. Here he could leave all the formalities of the royal court behind and spend time on his hobbies like music and philosophy. In the central room, the Marmorsaal which was loosely based on the Pantheon in Rome, he would invite famous philosophers like Voltaire.
The design of the Sanssouci Palace was based on sketches made by Frederick the Great himself. The relatively small palace with only twelve rooms was completed in 1747. It is located on top of a terraced vineyard, known as the Weinberg (wine mountain). The palace is only one storey high, but beautifully decorated in rococo style. Over the years, several other buildings were added to the grounds of the Sanssouci park.
The most impressive of all is the Neues Palais, a large Baroque palace. It was commissioned by King Frederick the Great in 1750 but construction only started in 1763 after the Seven Years" War, which solidified Prussia"s status as a powerful nation. The Neues Palais is one of Germany"s most impressive palaces; in contrast to the Sanssouci Palace, which is rather modest, the imposing sumptuous palace contains more than two hundred lavishly decorated rooms spread over two storeys. The central ballroom is topped by a large dome. Another noteworthy building in the Sanssouci Park is the Chinesisches Teehaus, an oriental style teahouse constructed in 1756. It currently houses a collection of porcelain.
The 700-acre / 287-hectare large park around the palace consists of several different gardens, all with their own character. The park contains many statues and fountains, the largest of them, the Große Fontäne (Great Fountain) in front of the Neues Palais.
The Friedenskirche (church of peace) was built by King Frederick William IV between 1845 and 1854. It was based on the Santa Maria Clemente church in Rome.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.