Palaces as far as you can see
If you love palaces you will be spoiled for choices. Potsdam has the highest number of Palaces per inhabitant in Germany. With 16 Palaces and three historic parklands, history and garden lovers will get their money's worth. Prussia’s kings and prince electors created a fascinating retreat comprising palaces and parklands. Many parts of the overall ensemble were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1990. The biggest World Heritage Sites in Potsdam are
- Sanssouci Park with its famous palace of the same name
- New Garden where world-changing decisions were made
- Babelsberg Park which is the masterpiece of Peter Joseph Lenné and Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau
But apart from the park areas there are a lot more UNESCO World Heritage Sites waiting to be explored by you. The entire cultural landscape impresses with its authenticity and uniqueness and the numerous influences from Italy, France and Holland which merge here.
If you want to know more about Potsdam's palaces, you can take a look at our overview.
The German Dream Factory
Proud of its parks and palaces, Potsdam also has a great history in filmmaking. In fact, Potsdam is the birthplace of the film as we know it. Images first started moving in the city of Babelsberg, which is now a part of Potsdam. The world’s first silent film was made here in 1912. Marlene Dietrich and Heinz Rühmann were the star idols at UFA, where today George Clooney and Tom Hanks are making cinematic history. Best examples are international blockbusters like Grand Budapest Hotel, Inglorious Basterds and Bridge of Spies as well as famous series' such as Berlin Station, Babylon Berlin and Homeland. In 2019, Potsdam was designated the first German UNESCO Creative City of Film.
Of course there is lot more to explore about filmmaking in Potsdam. Just ask our Potsdam experts at the Tourist Information Centres, browse our website or visit the Filmmuseum Potsdam and the Filmpark Babelsberg.
Potsdam in Cold War years
Adjacent to Berlin, Potsdam during the Cold War years was the hotspot for eastern and western secret services and the Glienicke Bridge (Bridge of Spies) was used for exchanges of captured spies. Looking at Glienicke Bridge from afar, you can see that the bridge's eastern half is painted a slightly brighter shade of green than the western half.
From here, only a 20 minutes-walk away, at Cecilienhof Country House the Potsdam Conference was held in 1945. Here, the allies Soviet Union, United Kingdom and the United States agreed to divide Germany into four occupation zones, which later led to the division of Europe.
The Cold War years and the German reunification shaped Potsdam and its history. Take your time to find out more stories about Potsdam during the Cold War.
The isle of inspiration
Potsdam combines world heritage, enriching sources of knowledge and royal tolerance. However, the designation “isle of inspiration” is not only appropriate from a philosophical point of view, but also in relation to the city’s geographical location. The River Havel, the Große Zernsee lake, Lake Templin and the Sacrow-Paretzer Canal lap the shores of Potsdam, turning Brandenburg's capital into an island. And what better way to explore an island than from the water side when cruising down the river Havel?