Potsdam is best known for the magnificent palaces and parks that date back to its time as the former royal seat of Prussia. Prussian pomp and splendour, a heritage of great architects and scholars, and a focal point during the Cold War: Potsdam offers a breathtaking panorama of culture and history.
300 years ago, the garrison outpost of Potsdam was transformed into one of Europe's most splendid royal cities. The Prussian kings, in particular Frederick William I and his son Frederick the Great, created a baroque dream in Potsdam and the surrounding area, to which their successors added great monuments to classicism. In 1990 the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status – at that time still at the request of the two rival German states. The original site comprised the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, Neuer Garten, Babelsberg, Glienicke and Peacock Island. In 1992 the UNESCO site was extended to include Sacrow Palace and park and Saviour's Church, while in 1999 another 14 monuments joined the list, including Lindstedt Palace and park, Belvedere Palace on Pfingstberg hill, Kaiserbahnhof station and the observatory at Babelsberg Park. All told, the world heritage site now covers about 500 hectares of parkland, encompassing 150 buildings dating from 1730 to 1916.