Berlin: Places to Explore

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Potsdam

A trip to Berlin wouldn't be complete without paying a visit to Potsdam, known for its 18th-century baroque architecture; Sanssouci Park, the former residence of the Prussian royals; historical landmarks; and charming boutique and café-lined cobblestone streets. The bonus is that it's only a half-hour trip from Berlin.

Although Potsdam was severely damaged in bombing during World War II, much of the city has been restored to its former glory and still retains the imperial character it accrued during the many years it served as a royal residence and garrison quarters. The Alter Markt (Old Market) and Neuer Markt (New Market) show off stately Prussian architecture, and both are easily reached from the main train station or Sanssouci Park by tram. The charming Holländisches Viertel (Dutch Quarter) is home to a collection of redbrick, gable-roofed buildings, many of which are popular restaurants, boutiques, and cafés today. Just north of Sanssouci Park is Neuer Park, site of the Potsdam Conference in 1945. Both are home to manicured gardens, stunning architecture, lakes and fountains, and several palaces, galleries, and former royal buildings.

Potsdam sits on the Havel River and its small Harbor area shows off modern and vintage-style boats, a casting off point for boat tours around the area or back to Berlin.

Potsdam also plays a central role in the history of film. The world’s first major movie studios opened in 1911 in Babelsberg, just south of Potsdam, developing the area into a prewar Hollywood. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and The Blue Angel with Marlene Dietrich were both filmed here, and many modern filmmakers continue to use the studios. The historic Filmmuseum Potsdam will interest film buffs.

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