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Old Town Hall ( Das Alte Rathaus )
Das Alte Rathaus

Situated in Old Market Square in the heart of Potdam, the Old Town Hall or Altes Rathaus was completed in 1755. Although built in the eighteenth century, the site’s role as the location of Potsdam’s town hall reaches back to the Middle Ages.

Prussian King Frederick II, also known as Frederick the Great, led efforts to rebuilt Potsdam beginning in 1745 with the aim of creating a new royal seat. The effort included the redevelopment of the Old Market and surrounding area to reflect the king’s love of lover of art and Italian palace architecture during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. These influences are seen today in the Old Town Hall and its grandiose façade in the style of Venetian architect Andrea Palladio. They can also be found on the nearby Barberini Palace, which was modelled on Rome’s Palazzo Barberini. Residences around the Old Market also feature Baroque facades. An obelisk is also found in the square. This stunning architecture makes Old Market in Potsdam remains one of the most beautiful squares in Europe

The construction of the Old Town Hall was overseen by Jan Bouman, the architect who was also commissioned in 1732 to design the Dutch Quarter in Potsdam. Bouman was also responsible for designing the city’s Berliner Tor. Satisfied with his work in Potsdam, Frederik the Great eventually commissioned the architect as Berlin’s master builder in 1748.

Bouman modified an unused plan for the Palladian Palazzo Angarano in Veneto when designing the Old Town Hall in Potsdam. The two-storey façade was divided with eight Corinthian three-quarter columns similar to classical pilasters used in Attica. Sandstone sculptures by Gottlieb Heymüller line the upper section of the façade. The statues represent the civic virtues of vigilance, fortitude, wealth, justice, trade and caution. The originals have been replaced by copies, although the original statue representing trade is found inside on the stairway. Above the entrance is Potsdam’s coat of arms.

The Old Town Hall is topped with an ornate dome divided by eight Corinthian pilasters crowned by a gilded statue of Atlas, a Titan from Greek mythology that held the weight of the world on the shoulders. The figure was the source of jokes for Potsdam’s residents, who had little appreciation for Greek or Roman mythology. The statue was referred to as ‘the doll’. Inmates in the jail, which was housed in the Old Town Hall’s tower until 1875, often called it ‘The Doll House’. The statue of Atlas was replaced by a gilded copper version in 1777.

Although the Old Market emerged into a magnificent Roman square, there were eventual problems related to space. In 1875, the city council and treasury were located in the building and were running out of room. Even the prison had already been relocated and part of city’s administration was moved to the Barberini Palace from 1885. When the Old Town Hall was destroyed during World War II only the Stadtsparkasse, the city’s savings bank, was based in the building. The building was so badly damaged in April 1945 that it had to be almost completely demolished, although the middle staircase to the dome and the Atlas figure remained unscathed. Starting in 1960, the Old Town Hall was rebuilt. The Potsdam Museum opened in 2012 in the historic building, which hosts art and history exhibitions. The Old Town Hall and its restored splendor is also a popular venue for cultural events.

Old Town Hall Map

Events in Potsdam

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Music Festival in Potsdam

The Music Festival in Potsdam will be held again in June. This year's theme "Music and gardens" ubiquitous. So even on the opening day in June. Interesting and unique you can take guided tours and visits to many different places. For those interested there is an Opera Workshop.

TICKETS

Details about the Music Festival in Potsdam can be found here.

The concert on the eve and Night of the Palaces in Potsdam

The Park of Sanssouci and Sanssouci Palace with its terraced vineyards and the New Palace are undisputedly the most important monuments in Potsdam, therefore provides the Night of the Palaces as an excellent temporal orientation, to learn more about the state capital of Brandenburg.

TICKETS

Details about the Night of the Palaces can be found here.

Miscellaneous

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Official Contact

Official Park Sanssouci Contact

The Foundation for Prussian Palaces and Gardens.

Phone : +49 (0)331/9694-0

Fax : +49 (0)331/9694-107