Steam engine building (Mosque)
Since 1841 there has been a mosque with a minaret in Potsdam. Frederick William IV, who was also referred to as "the romantic one on the throne", had the richly decorated mosque erected at the "Neustädter Havelbucht" in the centre of Potsdam at a bay of River Havel. The Moorish architecture of Córdoba served as model for the mosque, which was built by the architect Persius. At the time of construction, the mosque was the highest building in the area and could be excellently spotted from the terrace of Sanssouci Palace. It may appear as a mosque, however, this oriental piece of architecture was never conceived as a house of prayer, but deliberately built to accommodate a technical ingenuity: the most powerful steam engine at the time, constructed by August Borsig with an output equalling 81.4 horse power. The steam engine allowed pumping water from the River Havel all the way up to Ruinenberg Hill. From there the water gardens and main fountain in front of Sanssouci Palace could be fed with water. The central fountain could shoot up 38 metres high thanks to steam power. Frederick the Great had already dreamed of achieving such a miracle, unfortunately, no appropriate technical solution was available at the time of his reign. The performance of the steam engine elated the kings and was proudly demonstrated to distinguished guests. One clearly intended to contrast with England, the world's forerunner of the industrial revolution. The historic steam engine remained at the mosque and can be visited within the course of a guided tour. Today, electric pumps are in place of the steam engine and also accommodated in the historic building.
The Steam engine building is closed in 2016.
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