By Steven Schnelle
A visit to Potsdam, a small city adjacent to Berlin, is certainly worth the S-Bahn ride out of the capital. The quaint streets and buildings of Potsdam’s Dutch Quarter are the perfect backdrop for a peaceful stroll, while an excursion to any of the numerous castles and palaces brings a visitor back to the time of Frederick the Great, and of Frederick the Great Elector, his abusive and militaristic father. Sans Souci, a palace built by Frederick the Great as a safe-haven from the repressive and competitive Prussian mentality, was constructed to resemble Versailles; its beautiful gardens and grapevines will bring any visitor the same sense of tranquility it surely brought this Prussian ruler.
You’ll also find remnants of Potsdam’s darker and more recent past written on many of the city’s other buildings. Bullet holes and collapsed buildings are still plainly visible and common across the landscape.
The tram and buses running through Potsdam are both clean and convenient, and all destinations and routes are clearly marked. For a personal guided tour, contact Dr. Martin Jander, an NYU-affiliated faculty member and historian who offers personal tours of Berlin and Potsdam.
See http://www.unwrapping-history.de for more.