The New Chambers in Sanssouci Park, Potsdam, were constructed for King Frederick the Great of Prussia from 1771 to 1775. The building, which stands to the west of Sanssouci Palace, serves as a complement to the Picture Gallery, which lies to the east. Both buildings flank the summer palace.
The chambers replaced an orangery, which had been built at that site in 1745 on plans by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff and held the terraces' potted plants during the winter months. Ramps, on which the tubs were taken in and out, serve as reminders of the building's original use. Master builder Georg Christian Unger was commissioned to turn the orangery building into a guesthouse. The building's basic elements were left alone, as were its size and floor-to-ceiling french doors. The most obvious change was the addition of a cupola on the middle section. The similarities between the architecture of the New Chambers and that of the Picture Gallery are such that the both buildings can be mistaken for the other.
The real alteration occurred in the interior, where seven guest rooms and two ballrooms were created. The building is a highpoint of the late style of Frederican Rococo, even though classicism was already largely set as the prevailing taste of the period. The guest rooms were decorated differently with lacquered, painted, or inlaid cabinets, whose costly inlays of native woods decorated the entire wall from the ceiling to the floor. For paintings, the guest rooms have views of Potsdam, which document the town's design under Frederick the Great and were specially commissioned for the guesthouse by the king.
In the middle of the building, under the cupola, lies the largest room, the Jasper Room. The ballroom's walls are gloriously decorated with red jasper and grey Silesian marble. The same colors are found in the floor design. The ceiling painting Venus mit ihrem Gefolge (Venus with her Retinue) was created in 1774 by Johann Christolph Frisch. Decorated panels from both antiquity and the 18th century were attached to the background of red jasper.
The second, large ballroom, located in the eastern part of the New Chambers is the Ovid Gallery, decorated in the style of French mirrored rooms. On the long side of the room is a mirror stretching almost to the ceiling, across from which, on the garden side, are french doors. Frederick wished that the walls be decorated with gilded reliefs of the liaisons of the ancient gods, which had been told by the Roman poet Ovid in his Metamorphoses. The room's rich decoration comes from the workshop of the Bayreuther sculptors and brothers Johann David Räntz and Johann Lorentz Wilhelm Räntz.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.