No other palace represents the personality of Frederick the Great as much as the magnificent Sanssouci. Originally designed as a summer residence near Potsdam (now Germany), it represents Frederick’s ideals through its elegant Rococo architecture.
Sanssouci (“without care”) wasn’t only Frederick’s favorite place to stay but also his retreat and sanctuary. Built between 1745 and 1747 by architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff according to the king’s sketches, the palace features an impressive park with unique decorative features.
It’s no wonder that the Prussian king selected this particular style for a summer palace instead of the opulent Baroque style. The Rococo style is characterized by its grace, lightness, and playfulness, based on carefree themes such as aristocratic life and romance.
Natural images are found throughout the palace. The interiors are covered with foliage, flowers, vines, fruits, and birds. It’s almost as if nature became part of the palace, transforming it into a paradise. The elegant interior rooms reflect a clear expression of the king’s love for nature, most of which open onto the gardens. Highlights include the concert room with intricate rocaille decoration; the square Jasper Hall, featuring precious jasper; and the Marble Hall, inspired by images of antiquity.
Other highlights include the Picture Gallery, which features works by Caravaggio and Rubens, and the New Chambers palace in the late Rococo style, located on the right and left of the central palace structure. Frederick William IV later enlarged the palace and redesigned the Baroque garden as a landscape garden, with structures such as the Orangery Palace and the Roman Baths, bringing Italy to Prussia. However, most of the original style remained, as an homage to Frederick the Great’s vision.
Today, Frederick, the “philosopher of Sanssouci” as he was affectionally called, rests on the grounds of his beloved summer home.