Alter Markt - Potsdams historic city center
Alter Markt with the parliament palace and its Fortuna portal, St. Nicholas Church, the Egyptian obelisk, the Italian palace facades and the Barberini art museum form the heart of the baroque city of Potsdam. The design of the Old Market copies an Italian piazza. Also St. Nicholas Church has an Italian model - St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. St. Nicholas was built in the Classicist style by Karl Friedrich Schinkel from 1830 and completed with the imposing drum dome by Ludwig Persius and August Stüler in 1850. The palmette walkway above the large columns offers visitors a fascinating 360 degree view of the Old Market, the baroque old town as well as the surrounding palaces Babelsberg, Glienicke, Sans Souci and the Belvedere on Pfingstberg.
The museum in the Old Town Hall presents the interesting history of Potsdam. The town hall with its front façade is based on an Italian model by Andrea Palladio. Johan Boumann built the town hall by the order of King Friedrich II in 1753-55. The dome with the golden atlas carrying the globe, on the other hand, got its prototype from Amsterdam. In 1776, only two years after its installation, the heavy lead figure fell down on the Old Market and was subsequently redesigned in lighter copper. The domed building was used as a city prison until 1875. After 1945 the Old Town Hall was rebuilt as Potsdam´s art and leisure centre. After Germany´s reunification it was designated as the location for the new Potsdam Museum. With the recovery of the square ensemble after 1990, the Old Market has become one of the most beautiful baroque squares in Europe in the recent years.
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