Click the Brandenburg Flag for a German translation
Für eine deutsche Übersetzung dieser Seite einfach die Brandenburger Flagge anklicken

Home Towns - Potsdam, Germany

Castle Tour

This site is part of our Potsdam, Germany site. Click the left turn sign to get back to the Potsdam Start Site.

Potsdam is surrounded by lakes and one of the best ways to see a lot of the town is to take a boat tour. There are a number of companies offering all kind of tours from one hour cruises to day trips to Berlin. Pretty much everybody agrees that the most rewarding tour is the Castle Tour, covering three lakes with close passages along some of Potsdam's most interesting buildings. The Prussian Kings left no less than 11 castles - this scenic ride offers a unique view at some of them.

We took the tour on our first day in Potsdam. Later, we visited many of the sights up close. For now, take the boat tour with us, click on any picture for a larger image or click on any of the little right turn signs below the picture for more information.

The tour starts at a berth in downtown Potsdam, near the Pleasure Garden.

Judy and Volker's mother on board Berth at Pleasure Garden

Ready to go
The tour starts with views of two modern buildings which both have a rather unique style. Germaniabogen (#2) is also called "the Hairpin" because of its steeple; Potsdam's Theater (#3), following shortly after that, has been designed after the Sydney Opera.
The "Hairpin"

Hans Otto Theater

Tiefer See

Passing the theater, the boat enters Tiefer See (Deep Lake), one of the many lakes surrounding Potsdam and approaches one of the most beautiful castles of the Hohenzollern dynasty. Babelsberg Palace (#5) is a copy of a Windsor Castle, built in 1833. Next to it is Flatow Tower (#4), a tower in neo-gothic style, built in 1856. From here, the boat enters Jungfernsee (Virgin Lake), and the first building we see is Potsdam's old Casino. (# 7), an Italian style villa built in 1825 as part of Glienicke Palace.
Babelsberg Castle

Flatow Tower

Casino of Glienicke Palace

Technically, we now left Potsdam and entered Berlin. What is now just a dotted line on a map was once the heaviest guarded border in the world – the Berlin Wall. In addition to the castles, the tour offers some Cold War reminiscence, especially when the boat passes underneath Glienicke Bridge (#6), which became famous for being the location of exchanges of Russian and American spies during the Cold War.

Since 1949, a white line in the middle of the bridge marked the border between West-Berlin's American Sector and Russian controlled East-Germany. With the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the bridge was closed for traffic and was open only for members of the Allied Forces.
Each side maintained its half of the bridge, resulting in different paint colors. Today, the white line in the middle is gone but the "tradition" of different colors has been kept.

We now paid a short visit to Wannsee, the largest lake in the area. Main highlights here were Peacock Island with its summer castle (# 9), built in the late 1700s by King Frederick William II for his mistress, Wilhelmine von Lichtenau, and the Church of the Redeemer (#8), a Neo-Romanic-style church built in 1844.
Church of the Redeemer

Peacock Island

Turning around and passing the Church of the Redeemer one more time, the boat re-entered Virgin Lake. At the banks of this lake Lake are the Royal Daily Farm (#11), built in 1790 in Norman style and Cecilienhof Castle (# 12), built in 1917, just one year before the Revolution of 1918 that ended 500 years of royal line. It was named after Emperor William II's daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Cecilie. The castle became internationally famous as the location of the Potsdam Treaty, signed by US President Truman, British Prime Minister Churchill and Soviet Leader Stalin in 1945.
Royal Daily Farm

Cecilienhof Castle

The Potsdam Treaty divided Germany and eventually the world. It was the beginning of 40 years of cold War and one of its leftovers, an old East German Waterway Border Control Post (# 10) is the last sight of the tour. While passing the FM Tower Schäferberg and the cruise ship Moby Dick, we end our tour and hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Former Border Control Post FM Tower Schäferberg

MV Moby Dick

Back to Potsdam Page

Back to Home Towns

Back to Germany Page

Back to English Main Page

Back to Start Page