Old City Hall, Potsdam

Old City Hall, Potsdam

The first city hall was built in 1524 but destroyed in 1536 during a terrible fire. The second city hall was used from 1536 to 1722 when a larger hall was needed. The third hall was only used for thirty years before the city again needed a larger hall.

The current Old City Hall was built between 1753 and 1755. Architects Carl Ludwig Hildebrant and Jan Bouman designed the square under King Frederick’s direction. Old City Hall’s facade is a copy of a facade designed by Andrea Palladio for Vicenza’s Count of Angarano.

This beautiful building actually served as the town jail from 1755 to 1875. The city council finally moved into the building in 1875, and the jail continued to operate in a portion of the building. Then, in 1916, the city council moved into the Barberini Palace.

Old City Hall features a dramatic statue depicting Atlas. The architects had planned on featuring a Roman god. However, they got confused and chose the Greek Titan Atlas. The statue was originally decorated with gold-plated leaves, which fell off within two years.

Today, the Atlas statue has gold-plated copper and has survived every catastrophe over its history. Residents don’t appreciate mythology and call the statue “The Doll”. When the city hall housed the jail, it was known as “The Doll-House”.

Old City Hall was damaged during World War II bombing raids and reconstructed during the 1960s. Today, Old City Hall houses a portion of the Potsdam Museum and hosts exhibitions, conferences, and lectures.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Potsdam. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Old City Hall on Map

Sight Name: Old City Hall
Sight Location: Potsdam, Germany (See walking tours in Potsdam)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Potsdam, Germany

Create Your Own Walk in Potsdam

Create Your Own Walk in Potsdam

Creating your own self-guided walk in Potsdam is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Neuer Garten Walking Tour

Neuer Garten Walking Tour

Laid out at the behest of Friedrich William II in 1787, Potsdam's Neuer Garten (New Garden) was indeed "new" compared to the already in place Sanssouci Park.

Between 1816 and 1828, the area was modified further as an English-style, open landscape garden, with an aim to reproduce nature – trees and plants were left to grow naturally, unshaped and untrimmed. Rural life was also...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Sanssouci Park Walking Tour

Sanssouci Park Walking Tour

Sanssouci Park is a unique Potsdam landmark that occupies 290 hectares in the heart of the city. The Park is named after the Sanssouci Palace that it surrounds, which in turn takes its name from the French phrase "sans souci", which means carefree, and implies that the palace was designated as a place of fun, rather than a seat of power.

Indeed, the Sanssouci Palace was built in 1747...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Potsdam Introduction Walking Tour

Potsdam Introduction Walking Tour

Potsdam was likely founded during the seventh century by the Hevelli tribe. The town was mentioned by the name of Poztupimi in a document from Emperor Otto III. The name likely came from an old Western Slavonic term roughly meaning "beneath the oaks."

By the early 1300s, a small town had formed with a town charter. By 1573 the town had around 2,000 people living there. Potsdam rose to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles