The German City Phoenix

Barberini Palace 1910. Photo: Barberini Museum Potsdam

In 1771/72, Frederick the Great (1712-1786), King of Prussia, had the Barberini Palace built on the bank of the Havel River. Along with the St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche) and the Old Town Hall (Alter Rathaus).Tthese buildings formed the center of Potsdam for many years. The architects Carl von Gontard (1731-1791) and George Christian Unger (1743-1799) modeled the palace on the baroque Palazzo Barberini (1625) in Rome, constructed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and Francesco Borromini (1599-1667) . The architects Ludwig Persius (1803-1845), Friedrich August Stüler (1800-1865) and Ludwig Ferdinand Hesse (1795-1876) added two wings to the palace in the middle of the nineteeth century by royal decree of the Prussian King Frederick William IV (1795-1861). The building was largely destroyed in April 1945 however, together with the Old Town Hall and the St. Nicolas Church. The latter two were rebuilt in the 1960´s and 1980´s. It took a bit longer to make a palace out of the ruins again, but the centre of Potsdam knows a happy end by the recent opening of the Barberini museum on the same spot. City by city, the Römerplatz in Frankfurt am Main, the Marktplatz in Hildesheim, the Frauenkirche in Dresden and the Stadtschloss in Berlin, German cities get their old-new centres as an architectural Phoenix . (Further information: www. http://museum-barberini.com).