Potsdam Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Potsdam

Potsdam is practically an open-air museum. The number of monuments, sculptures and historic buildings on display is endless. Due to its important place in the history of Prussia, the city boasts a multitude of immortalized witnesses of that period in the form of statues, all very well preserved. Take this tour and discover Potsdam's most popular attractions.
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Potsdam Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Potsdam Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Potsdam (See other walking tours in Potsdam)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 Km or 3.3 Miles
Author: nataly
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Old Market Square
  • St. Nicholas' Church
  • Lustgarten
  • Potsdam Film Museum
  • Platz der Einheit
  • Saint Peter und Paul Kirche
  • Dutch Quarter
  • Nauener Tor
  • Jägertor
  • Brandenburger Straße
  • Luisenplatz
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Friedenskirche
  • Sanssouci Palace
  • Orangery Palace
Old Market Square

1) Old Market Square

Old Market Square is Potsdam's historical center. For three centuries this was the site of City Palace, a royal palace built in 1662. Under Frederick the Great, the palace became the winter residence of the Prussian kings. The palace was severely damaged by bombing in 1945 and was demolished in 1961 by the Communist authorities. Old Market Square is dominated today by the dome of Nicolas Church (Nikolaikirche), built in 1837 in the classical style. It was the last work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, who designed the building but did not live to see its completion. It was finished by his disciples Friedrich August Stüler and Ludwig Persius. The eastern side of Market Square is dominated by the Old City Hall that was built in 1755 by the Dutch architect Jan Bouman (1706–1776). It has a characteristic circular tower, crowned with a gilded Atlas bearing the world on his shoulders.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Nicholas' Church

2) St. Nicholas' Church (must see)

St. Nicholas' Church (German: St. Nikolaikirche) is an Evangelical church on the Alter Markt ("Old Market Square"). The central plan building in the Classicist style and dedicated to Saint Nicholas was built to plans by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the years 1830 to 1837. The tambour of the 77 metre high church that towers above the roofs of the city was built later, from 1843 to 1850. Its construction was taken over by Ludwig Persius and, from 1845, Friedrich August Stüler.

Towards the end of the Second World War the church was hit during the air raid on Potsdam and subsequently badly damaged by Soviet artillery fire. After many years of rebuilding the church was re-consecrated in 1981 by the Evangelical Parish of St. Nicholas, Potsdam, and, today, is open to visitors. In addition to the normal church services, concert events are also held in the church.
Sight description based on wikipedia

3) Lustgarten

Lustgarten is the oldest garden in Potsdam. It was founded in 1660 on the shores of the Havel River. Lustgarten was a part of the City Palace complex and was considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Potsdam. The garden houses many architectural masterpieces, the most famous of which is the Colonnade, which stands just near the river. The sculptures and monuments of Lustgarten will be sure to impress you, so put the garden on your must-see list.
Potsdam Film Museum

4) Potsdam Film Museum (must see)

The Potsdam Film Museum was founded in 1981 and is located in a historic building - the Royal Stables, which is the only original building remaining from the Old City Palace. The museum exhibits all the sound, video and text materials from the Babelsberg Film Studios. After browsing through the museum, you can catch the latest German and international movies here. The museum also has a great collection of silent films available for viewing.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm
Platz der Einheit

5) Platz der Einheit

Platz der Einheit is located in the center of Potsdam on the same street as the famous Holland Quarter and Old Market. It is the oldest square in Potsdam and was founded in 1831. It is a beautiful rectangular square, with two alleys crossing its middle. In 1975 a monument to the victims of fascism was erected in the park. The first memorial to the "Unknown Deserter" was built in the square in 1990. Today there are seven such memorials scattered across Germany, which are dedicated to “… a man who who refused to kill his fellow man.”
Saint Peter und Paul Kirche

6) Saint Peter und Paul Kirche

The Catholic Church of Saint Peter and Paul is located in the heart of Potsdam. The church was built in 1870 and was designed by two German architects August Stüler and Wilhelm Salzenberg. The building is a great example of the eclectic style popular at the end of 19th century, as it contains both Byzantine and Romanesque elements. The bell tower is almost 63 meters high and its design was inspired by St. Zeno, located in Verona, Italy. Inside Saint Peter and Paul Church you can admire three masterpieces by famous painter Antoine Pesne.
Dutch Quarter

7) Dutch Quarter (must see)

The Dutch Quarter, also known as the Holland Quarter, is one of the most popular landmarks in Potsdam. There is no other place in Europe like Potsdam's Dutch Quarter, where about 150 red-brick, Dutch houses occupy four city blocks, which are arranged in two quarters. The houses were built between 1734 and 1742 by the famous Dutch architect Jan Bouman.
Nauener Tor

8) Nauener Tor

Nauener Tor is one of three preserved gates in Potsdam. It was built in 1755 and is one of the first examples of English Gothic Revival architecture in Continental Europe. The first Nauener Tor was built around 1720 about 400 meters away from the current site. The second gate was built in 1733 at the current site. In 1755 the gate was rebuilt in its present form by the architect Johann Gottfried Büring who worked off a sketch by Frederick II. Originally there was a city wall connecting the Nauen Gate with the other two gates, the Jägertor and the "small" Brandenburg Gate. Today the three Potsdam gates are connected by a promenade instead of a city wall. Nauener Tor is located in close proximity to the Dutch Quarter. Its users were the military and merchants, craftsmen and administrators. Today the square in front of Nauener Tor has a high density of cafes, restaurants and bars and is a popular meeting point for Potsdam residents and their guests.
Sight description based on wikipedia

9) Jägertor

Jägertor is one of the oldest entrances to the city from the north and was built in 1733 as part of Potsdam’s city wall. In 1869 the city was demolished, but Jägertor remained standing as an independent architectural monument. On the top of Jägertor is sculpted a scene from a hunt of a dog tearing a deer to pieces.
Brandenburger Straße

10) Brandenburger Straße (must see)

Brandenburger Straße is a popular shopping street that begins at the Luisenplatz with its famous Brandenburg Gate and ends at the beautiful St. Peter and Paul’s Church. Start from either end to explore shops and boutiques that offer a wide range of products. Here you can find a great selection of souvenirs, delicious pastries, fashionable clothes and jewelry and other traditional local products.

11) Luisenplatz

Luisenplatz is located in front of Brandenburg Gate. In 1733 the gate was part of the city wall, which means that the square was situated outside of the city. In 1793, at the 17th birthday of the Princess Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the square was given the name Luisenplatz. In 1854 architect Peter Joseph Lenné added the fountain to Luisenplatz, which today is the largest of its kind in downtown Potsdam.
Brandenburg Gate

12) Brandenburg Gate (must see)

The Brandenburg Gate (German: Brandenburger Tor) on the Luisenplatz, was built in 1770/71 by Carl von Gontard and Georg Christian Unger by order of Frederick II of Prussia. It stands at the western end of Brandenburger Straße, which runs in a straight line up to the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Previously, from 1733, there was another, simpler gate on the same spot, which resembled a castle gateway. Together with the city wall, a form of toll or excise barrier, and the other gates it was intended to prevent desertion and smuggling.

Towards the end of the Seven Years' War, Frederick the Great had the old gate demolished and built, in its stead, this new Brandenburg Gate, as a symbol of his victory. For that reason the Brandenburg Gate resembles a Roman triumphal arch. Its prototype was the Arch of Constantine in Rome. The Roman influence of its architectural style can be seen, for example, in the double columns of Corinthian order as well as the design of the attic.

A feature of the Brandenburg Gate is that it has two completely different sides, designed by two architects. Carl von Gontard designed the city side, his pupil, Georg Christian Unger, the field or countryside-facing side. Gontard made the city side as a rendered facade with Corinthian-style lesenes and trophies, Unger designed the field site in the style of the Arch of Constantine with Corinthian double-columns and ornamentation like the golden trumpets.
Sight description based on wikipedia

13) Friedenskirche (must see)

The Protestant Friedenskirche, or the Church of Peace, is situated in the Marly Gardens on the Green Fence in the palace grounds of Sanssouci Park. The church was built according to the wishes of the artistically gifted King Frederick William IV and was designed by the court architect Ludwig Persius. The church is a columned basilica with three naves and no transept. It has a free-standing bell tower. The 13.5-meter-high central nave overlaps the side aisles, which are half as wide. An arcade of central arches mark the crossing point. An etching of the Basilica di San Clemente in Rome made by early Christians resembles a draft design of the Potsdam church. The altar canopy, which rests on four dark green columns, was created from Siberian jasper (semi-precious stones) and was a gift from Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, the king's brother in law. It was installed in the Church of Peace in 1842. An arcade surrounds the inner courtyard.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Sanssouci Palace

14) Sanssouci Palace (must see)

Sanssouci is the name of the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. It is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park. The palace was designed by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfill King Frederick's need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court.

The palace's name emphasises this; it is a French phrase (sans souci), which translates as "without concerns", meaning "without worries" or "carefree", symbolising that the palace was a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power. The palace is little more than a large single-storey villa—more like the Château de Marly than Versailles. Containing just ten principal rooms, it was built on the brow of a terraced hill at the centre of the park. The influence of King Frederick's personal taste in the design and decoration of the palace was so great that its style is characterised as "Frederician Rococo", and his feelings for the palace were so strong that he conceived it as "a place that would die with him". Because of a disagreement about the site of the palace in the park, Knobelsdorff was fired in 1746. Jan Bouman, a Dutch architect, finished the project.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Orangery Palace

15) Orangery Palace (must see)

The Orangery Palace (German: Orangerieschloss) is also known as the New Orangery on the Klausberg, or just the Orangery. It was built by the Romantic on the Throne, Friedrick William IV, from 1851 to 1864. The building of the Orangery began with a plan for a high street or triumph street. The building, with its 300-meter-long front, was built in the style of the Italian Renaissance, after the image of the Villa Medici in Rome and the Uffizi in Florence. The middle building with its twin towers is the actual castle. This building is joined to the 103-meter-long and 16-meter-wide Plant Hall, with its almost ceiling-to-floor windows on the south side. In the western hall, the original floor duct heating system is still present and functioning. In front of the peristyle, Elizabeth, Friedrick William IV's wife, had a statue of the king erected after his death in 1861.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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.
Tour of Potsdam's Sanssouci Park, Part 1

Tour of Potsdam's Sanssouci Park, Part 1

Sanssouci Park is a unique Potsdam landmark that occupies 290 hectares in the center of the city. You will learn more about the history of Prussia during the reign of Frederick the Great by walking through this marvelous park than by reading a history book. Take this tour to discover the beautiful, historic landmarks found at the east entrance of Sanssouci Park.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Tour of Potsdam's Babelsberg Park

Tour of Potsdam's Babelsberg Park

Babelsberg Park is located in the Babelsberg district of Potsdam. This amazing park offers an exquisite ‘collection’ of Gothic buildings. The famous Babelsberg Palace and the surprisingly beautiful Engine Pump House can be found here. Take this tour to discover the most notable landmarks in Babelsberg Park.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Cultural Venues

Cultural Venues

Potsdam is the capital of the Brandenburg Federal State of Germany and is a city with a rich cultural life. Explore the city's famous museums and art galleries, cinemas, concert halls and theaters, and enjoy an exhibition or performance by a German artist. Take this tour to discover the most interesting and notable cultural venues in Potsdam.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Tour of Potsdam's Neuer Garten

Tour of Potsdam's Neuer Garten

Neuer Garten (New Garden) was founded at the behest of Friedrich William II in 1787. It was "new" compared to the already established Sanssouci Park. This beautiful garden lies on more than 100 hectares of land and houses wonderful historic buildings. Take this tour to discover the famous architecture found in Potsdam's Neuer Garten.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Tour of Potsdam's Sanssouci Park , Part 2

Tour of Potsdam's Sanssouci Park , Part 2

The famous 290-hectare Sanssouci Park is home to some of the most significant structures built during the reign of Frederick the Great. All the historic buildings are surrounded by beautiful gardens and greenery. Take this tour to discover the most noteworthy landmarks situated at the west entrance of Sanssouci Park.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 Km or 2.7 Miles
Potsdam's Architectural Jewels

Potsdam's Architectural Jewels

Potsdam is considered one of the most beautiful cities in all of Germany. You can feel history in the air while you walk among the city's well preserved buildings. Most of the structures have been recently renovated and are ready to impress you with their grandeur and style. Take this tour to discover Potsdam's most architecturally stunning buildings.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles