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:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.