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Baroque to Biedermeier in Berlin and Brandenburg

The cultural landscape of Berlin and Postdam has all the elements of a Prussian arcadia. It is a match made in heaven – kings yearning for grandeur and beauty, and artists willing to turn these dreams into reality. Closer examination of the exquisite décor reveals a journey from the opulent baroque, the rococo of Frederick the Great and Schinkel-inspired Classicism, right through to Biedermeier and "Wilhelminism".
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Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace was built at the end of the 17th century as a gift from Elector Friedrich III to his wife, Sophie Charlotte. Over the next 150 years, the former summer residence was extended by a variety of successors, transforming it into a handsome and prestigious palace that is now the finest example of baroque architecture in Berlin. It is the only palace that exhibits the preferred architectural styles of virtually all the Prussian rulers. Its park is the epitome of enchantment, with a baroque parterre, classical statues and coloured gravel framed by mediterranean potted plants, manicured hedges and tree-lined avenues. It is adjoined by an idyllic landscaped garden with ponds and bridges. The real Prussian arcadia, however, can be found at Berlin's southernmost point: Peacock Island with its amazing fairytale castle – a cross between a medieval castle and a Roman villa with a hint of Gothic. This exquisite building, still intact, is a remarkable example of early Classicism in Berlin.
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Rheinsberg Palace

Rheinsberg Palace captures the imagination like no other with its picturesque setting on the eastern shores of Lake Grienerick. Frederick the Great is said to have spent the happiest years of his life here when he was Crown Prince. His younger brother, Prince Heinrich of Prussia, made it a leading centre of artistic endeavour, and strongly moulded the palace and gardens in the early classicist style. Rheinsberg is even mentioned in literature, with references in works by Theodor Fontane and Kurt Tucholsky. Today, it serves as a museum and a literature museum, and has been staging an international opera festival since 1991.
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The Marble Palace in the New Garden

The finest of Potsdam's palaces sits in splendour on the shores of Heiliger See lake, offering awe-inspiring views of the Havel river landscape as far as Peacock Island. At the end of the 18th century, Friedrich Wilhelm II chose this location for his summer residence and commissioned architects Carl von Gontard and Carl Gotthard Langhans to build a neo-classical palace. Of particular interest inside are the Grottensaal, the concert hall and the king's magnificent living quarters.
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  1. Charlottenburg Palace
  2. Rheinsberg Palace
  3. The Marble Palace in the New Garden