A tour through Potsdam’s town centre has much to offer: the old market with its Nikolaikirche; its Obelisks; the Fortuna gateway; the “Square of Unity”; and the Dutch Quarter.
Wonderful landmarks they may be, but Potsdam is a much older town than they suggest. First mentioned in 993, the town grew successively and its town walls were moved several times to accommodate its expansion.
Changed by a succession of princes and kings, Potsdam developed into a town with many faces. It was founded as a garrison town at the turn of the 18th century by the Prussian soldier King Friedrich Wilhelm I: he drained the marshlands and arranged for a number of characteristic two-storey houses to be built in the town centre. Greater renown came during the reign of his son Friedrich II with the construction of Schloss Sansscouci as a summer palace.
Passing through Potsdam’s Brandenburg gate, our route takes us over the Luisenplatz along the avenue to Sansscouci. Leaving the palace, we return to the town centre via the Russian colony Alexandrowka, itself a product of the early 19th century when it was built for the Russian singers of the Prussian guard regiments.
I particularly liked the ascent of the tower of the Church of St. Nicholas at the beginning of the tour. With this ascent, you get a good first overview.