Today in Potsdam in the Province of Brandenburg just outside Berlin, restoration continues on the various monuments of the city. Potsdam was the un-official Capital of Prussia, the Royal family lived in Potsdam.
I started visiting the city back in 1998 when posted in Warsaw, there is a direct train link between Warsaw and Berlin. Back then the old city of Potsdam was still in ruins from the bombing of 1945. The Communist government of East Germany had done nothing to restore the city and had in fact inflicted more damage by destroying some monuments considered contrary to communist ideology and building instead a very cheap version of brutalist architecture.
It was all a bit sad to see and already efforts were made to rebuild and restore the old city and its many canals. Potsdam through the centuries and especially after 1700, the Prince of Brandenburg at the time, was Freidrich I who made himself King of Prussia in 1701 and started building Potsdam as his seat with largely Italian influences, Venice was a model and all things baroque with a great deal of chinoiserie. He built a city palace which stood until 1945 when it was utterly destroyed. I remember visiting the centre of Potsdam then and where the palace stood once only a field of weeds. All around there were some old architectural fragments of palaces and great houses but nothing else. The Church of St-Nicholas had been restored quickly and around it the GDR government had build ugly buildings with a strong utilitarian look.
Prince Charles now King Charles III came in 1998 to visit the city based on an invitation by the German government to see their plans to restore the City Palace. The new function would be as the Provincial Parliament of Brandenburg. Queen Elizabeth II also came a few years later, it is good to remember that they are related to the German Royals, first cousins.
The palace was rebuilt and inaugurated in 2008, the outside is in the baroque style. All paid for by donations from the public. The inside is very modern since the use is for the seat of the legislature. On the side of the building there was originally a staircase called the angel or flag staircase. It was used to gain access to the cedar wood room where regimental flags of the Prussian regiments were stored. King Friedrich-Wilhelm, known as the sergeant king renovated the staircase but made it plain and austere, he was more interested in his army than baroque architecture. It was his son Friedrich II the Great who remodelled the staircase with 9 putti (angel) in gold plate and a very ornate bannister. It quickly became a curiosity for visitors to Potsdam. However the staircase like the palace was destroyed in 1945.
Since 2000, a massive program of restoration everywhere in Potsdam has taken place and various groups of friends of the city have contributed to the restoration of various buildings. Many corporations and wealthy donors have also rebuilt or restored buildings. The Prussian Foundation also undertook to restore the great royal park where several palaces are located including Sans Souci.
So this picture shows the taste of Freidrich II who designed the staircase. The putti are playing instruments of music. All the palaces of Freidrich II have this extravagant baroque look, there is always a lot of gold and his favourite colours where green and gold, black and gold, white and gold, pink was also fashionable and this is the colour of the Armoury building in Berlin. Here the city palace is a salmon pink and built in a classical style. The work is not complete and will be completed once more funds are donated by the public. In all another 5 million Euros for all the other ornamental elements.