January 18, 2018

The Grandeur, the Fall and Rebirth in Potsdam

To experience the grandeur, the fall and rebirth of Potsdam Germany one only needs to visit the Old Market Square.

The square is the historical city center and was part of the City Palace complex for years.  The City Palace was originally built in 1662 as the winter residence of Prussian Kings beginning with Frederick the Great.

To bring a Roman feel to the square, a reconstruction began in 1745 adding the Old Town Hall to the east side and an obelisk in the middle.

Old Town Hall Potsdam GermanyOld Town Hall

Even though there has been a church here since the 1300’s, in 1837 the classical St. Nicholas Church was added and today dominates the square.

St Nicholas Church and Obelisk Potsdam GermanySt Nicholas Church and Obelisk

For hundreds of years the square was the regal hub of the city.  Then came WWII.


Not much of the square survived World War II intact.

City Palace Potsdam Germany after bombing 1945City Palace 1945 by Max Baur/German Federal Archives

After the war the square struggled, as did Potsdam. The City Palace was heavily damaged during WWII and was demolished by the Russians in 1962.  It wasn’t until 1979 that the Obelisk was returned to the square and St. Nicholas’ Church didn’t reopen until 1981.  But without the City Palace the square just wasn’t the same.

Restored Fortuna Portal on Old Market Square Potsdam GermanyRefurbished Fortuna Portal

Although not always looking her best, the City Palace stood on the square for 300 years. Today there is a major reconstruction effort going on in Potsdam which includes rebuilding the City Palace bringing the square back to its glory.

Reconstruction of City Palace Potsdam GermanyCity Palace being rebuilt.  Recognize these pillars?

The effort to restore the Old Market Square began with returning the Fortuna Portal tower and reconstruction is continuing at a feverish pace.  In an attempt to add authenticity to the palace, during reconstruction builders are using as much of the historic façade and other original pieces as possible. Once completed, the restored palace will become the new Parliament House of the Federal State of Brandenburg.

Reconstruction City Palace on Old Market Square Potsdam GermanyMore reconstruction of City Palace

It has been a long struggle but it seems that Potsdam is finally about to reclaim her glory.


These pictures are part of Travel Photo Thursday! For more great pictures,make sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.



Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people at the PotsdamTourist Office!  For more information please contact either organization or visit their websites.  Even though my trip was paid for by these organizations, all opinions are my own.

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  1. Hi there,
    Frankfurt/Oder is the boarder city on the way to Poland, interesting historical city ,”Sighseeing” and more… Tourist Information Office speaks english “www.frankfurt-oder-tourist.de” and for your easy way to stay you will find Hotel located close to the main train station at http://www.messehotel-frankfurt-oder.de
    good fun!

    Juan Carlos

  2. Margaret says:

    I love your photos of the reconstrution. It’s so interesting to see how that process works.
    Margaret recently posted..Me, Myself, and I

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      It is really fascinating the effort they’ve gone to to reconstruct the cities that were destroyed!

  3. Denise says:

    I would have loved to go to Potsdam when I was in Berlin, but unfortunately I only have 4 days there. Thanks for giving me a glimpse of it.

  4. Lisa says:

    So much destruction during WWII – it’s amazing to see the reconstruction efforts now under way in Potsdam. Also nice to see that it is being rebuilt in a way that is authentic to the original time period. We visited Gdansk a couple of years ago and I would not have known that the Old Town had been destroyed and rebuilt if I had not been told – the restoration had been done so well.
    Lisa recently posted..Viva Las Vegas (With Kids)

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I have seen many reconstructed buildings that you’d never know they weren’t old if someone didn’t tell me!

  5. Another Polish city I’d like a look at, Debbie. I think Dad was there briefly on a coach tour before he was reunited with the family.
    Johanna Bradley recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge : A Day in my Life

  6. Krista says:

    Hi Debbie. 🙂 I found your blog through your comment on Jan’s interview of me this week. I’m so glad to hear that Potsdam is finally being restored. I can’t imagine the amount of money, effort, and materials that would go into a project like this, but I’m delighted that someone found it worthwhile. 🙂
    Krista recently posted..Italian Inspiration and an Australian Easter Break

  7. What a great and interesting history. It’s wonderful to know they’re making such an effort to restore the square. Those buildings are beautiful and I can imagine what a glorious sight it will be when it’s all finished.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..5 Fun and Free Things to do in Austin with Kids

  8. Leigh says:

    When you see that photo taken back in 1945 it’s a wonder they can save a building. What a long arduous process!
    Leigh recently posted..The Not-To-Be-Missed Maligne Canyon Icewalk in Jasper

  9. Jessica says:

    I love a story with a happy ending!
    Jessica recently posted..Wildflowers of Texas

  10. It’s great that they’re restoring Potsdam. I haven’t been there before but it looks like a really pretty city.
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Photo Essay: Lighthouses of the World

  11. budget jan says:

    St. Nicholas is a beautiful building, and it good to know that the City Palace will soon be strutting her stuff again soon.
    budget jan recently posted..Budget Travel Interview with Krista Bjorn from Rambling Tart

  12. Thank you for both these beautiful photos and the history lesson. I’m glad Germany is investing in a reconstruction effort. It’s not the cheapest way to fix things, but the value of the effort goes far beyond dollars and cents.

  13. I’m impressed by St. Nicholas — magnificent. It’s great to see that they’re bringing the city back to life.
    War causes so much destruction.

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      St Nicholas was very interesting and it dominates the square since there is so much construction going on.

  14. Jackie Smith says:

    Such an interesting post – I like seeing all the reconstruction taking place. It does make me ill at what various wars have done to so much of Europe’s amazing architecture. And that church. . .wow!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..The Gift of Greece

  15. Perfect timing! We’re about to visit Berlin and I have Potsdam on our itinerary! It’ll be interesting to see the changes in the renovation projects since you were there.
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..Pickle Heaven in Istanbul!

  16. What an amazing reconstruction effort. It’s sad when a glorious city is ravaged by war, but it’s good that they’re moving forward. The church of St. Nicholas looks magnificent and imposing. I’d love to see it in person.
    Marisol@TravelingSolemates.com recently posted..Memories of Buenos Aires

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