Babelsberg Castle | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Babelsberg Castle

Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany

Lucy Davidson

28 Apr 2021

About Babelsberg Castle

Babelsberg Castle is a picturesque 19th century Gothic castle which boasts stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

The castle was built between 1833 and 1849 and was an example of 19th century neo-Gothic architecture, and served as the summer residence of Emperor Wilhelm I.

Another unique feature of Babelsberg are the beautiful grounds, which contain landscaped gardens, terraces, sculptures, and fountains, and are part of Babelsberg Park more widely.

Babelsberg Castle forms part of the ‘Palaces and Parks of Potsdam’ UNESCO World Heritage Site.

History of Babelsberg Castle

Babelsberg Castle (also known as Babelsberg Palace) is in the eponymous park and quarter of Potsdam, the capital of the German state of Brandenburg, near Berlin.

The castle was modelled after British – particularly Tudor – designs, and was thus designed and built in the English Gothic Revival style in two phases over the period 1835-1849.

It was built to be a summer residence for Crown Prince Wilhelm – later Emperor Wilhelm I. Indeed, for over 50 years, Prince Wilhelm and his wife, Augusta of the House of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, German Empress and Queen of Prussia, enjoyed it every summer.

Wilhelm commissioned famed architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel to design and build the palace, with the result being a palace that was unlike anything else in the capital.

The castle is two stories high, and includes private rooms for Wilhelm and Augusta, as well as a number of outbuildings. The interior features a hall-like dining room, an octagonal ballroom with a starry sky, and rooms for the royal couple’s children. There are also castle elements, with battlements and pointed arches punctuating the skyline.

Following Wilhelm’s death, interest in the palace subsided as his successors chose to live in other castles in the Potsdam area. After the Second World War, the palace was the location for a School for Film and Television, and was the temporary home of a pre- and early history museum.

Babelsberg Castle Today

Today, visitors can enjoy the castle and its stunning setting, with breathtaking views of the Havel river and the steamers chugging by remaining unchanged since the Crown Prince Wilhelm gazed over the very same landscape.

The park is over 124 acres in size, and features attractions such as the Pleasure Ground, Golden Rose Stairs, the Victory Column, and the Flatowturm (Flatow Tower).

The castle is less well-known than the nearby and equally resplendent Sanssouci, which makes for a relatively uncrowded historical experience.

Getting to Babelsberg Castle

Babelsberg Castle is an hour-long walk from the centre of Potsdam, via Friedrich-List-Straße/B1. By car, it takes around 15 minutes, via Allee nach Glienicke. The best way to reach it is probably by Berlin’s excellent public transport system, with a number of connecting buses and trams departing  from the centre of Potsdam every 20 minutes.

 

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