Norman Tower on Ruinenberg
Just north of Sanssouci Palace the Ruinenberg Hill served Frederick II. and later King William IV. in different ways. Originally there was a water basin planned on the hill to feed the fountains of Sanssouci Park. Ancient ruins and a lookout tower should turn the hill into a spectacular eye-catcher or “point-de-vue” - not only for the Prussian rulers.
He surrounded the basin with an artistic arrangement of gigantic columns, a Doric rotunda and a pyramid – which were reflected in the water - a wall of ruins made to look like an ancient theater and a natural backdrop of trees. Influenced by trends in England, it’s one of the first scenic landscapes with decorative architecture on the European Continent.
The nearly 23 meter-high Norman Tower, based on a medieval watchtower, was erected in 1846 under King Frederick William IV. At the same time Peter Joseph Lenné integrated the Ruinenberg and the surrounding fields of the Bornstedt estate into the full ensemble of Sanssouci Park. The Norman Tower on Ruinenberg is one of the historical lookout points in Potsdam. The 360° view takes in a panorama that spans from Peacock Island in lake Wannsee, across the entire breadth of Sanssouci Park, to the Wilhelmshöhe in the West direction near the town of Werder.
The Doric rotunda in the guise of an ancient monopteros was in danger of collapse early this century and could be restored in 2013/14 thanks to generous donations.
These measures were supported within the framework of the German investment program for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, also with other national funding from the Federal Republic of Germany, by the state capital of Potsdam as well as from the private patron Gerhard Elsner.