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Vacation 2010

September 25, Germany

Potsdam, Havel Bay & Wide Street

Potsdam City

Right before our trip came to its end, Volker went to downtown Potsdam for one last time and walked one of Potsdam's main streets, Wide Street (Breite Straße in German), from one end to the other. The hike started at the New-Town Havel Bay (Neustädter Havelbucht in German).
Most prominent buildings at this bay are a restaurant called Water Lily (above left) and a mosque that actually isn't one. (above right).
The restaurant is a pleasant relief from the usual concrete slab architectur around here.

The mosque is actually a pump station in disguise. Ever since 1842, the water for the fountains in town is pumped from river Havel to Louise Square and all the way to Sanssouci Park using a pump inside the "Mosque." The style of a Moorish mosque was choosen because the minaret was a perfect disguise the original steam engine's funnel.

To learn more about the mosque and the bay, click the Tourist-Info sign.

Under different names, Potsdam's "Wide Street" has been connecting the center of town with the western parts since 1683. Until
World War II, it ended at the Neustadt Gate. The gate was destroyed in the war and later, in 1973, the street was extended further west.

The only surviving part of the Neustadt Gate is an Obelisk dating back to 1753 (above left). It had been brought back to its original location in 1981. Many of the baroque buildings in this street were irrecoverably lost in World War II, but still, a lot of the original structure survived or has been restored. Amongst them are the House of Nobles (above center), the Royal Exercise and Riding Hall (above right) and the Hiller & Brandt Houses (below left & right). Next to the latter is a small house that claims to be Potsdam's oldest building, although all that is left from the original house built in 1674 is a bust of the Great Elector (below center).
The largest baroque ensemble in this street (and most likely the largest one in town) consists of four buildings, covering an entire city block and belongs to a foundation created by Soldier-King Frederick William I. For almost 200 years, from 1724 until the end of World War I (1918), the "Great Military Orphanage" (above) took care of the children of fallen Prussian soldiers. At times, up to 1,500 children lived her.

The main building is adorned by a temple with a statue called "Charity." The statue disappeared at the end of World War II. Rumor has it, that the copper-made "Charity" was melted to produce some of the last bullets of the war.

In 2004, a copy of the statue was placed on top of the now completely renovated complex. "Charity" (left) is now once again an important part of Potsdam's skyline.
We have a lot more pictures and infomation about all important buildings in this street. Click the Tourist-Info sign and check it out.

Amidst all the historical building is a giant, modern, about 80 ft long mosaic, called "Man Conquers Space." However, even that one is already historic, since it represents a time when - at least in East-Germany - all the brave men conquering space were Russian.
XXXXXXXXXXXXMore about the mosaic is behind the info-sign above.

The mosaic is at the location of Potsdam's most famous lost church, the Garrison Church, which was built here in 1732. The church burned out after the British 1945 air raid and was consequently demolished by communist authorities in 1968.
We have an entire site dedicated to past and future of this church. Click the Tourist-Info sign to get there.
At the last day of our vacation, Steffen introduces us to a totally different part of Potsdam.
Click the left turn sign to get back to the previous page.
Or turn right to visit Hiroshima Square.

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