5 Interesting Facts About Sanssouci Palace


1. Despite Frederick the Great’s wish to be buried in Sanssouci in 1786, his wish only came true in 1991, 205 years after his death.
Frederick died on 17 August 1786 in Sanssouci Palace, and before his death in the instructions he left he wanted his body to be buried in a crypt he had already built there. His successor, however, ordered his body to be put next to his father Frederick William’s in Garrison Church. At the end of World War II, Frederick’s and his father’s coffins were moved to Hohenzollern Castle by US Army. On 17 August 1991, on the anniversary of his death, his coffin was finally placed in the crypt in Sanssouci Palace as he had instructed 205 years ago.

2. Sanssouci Palace hosted many prominent philosophers and artists of the period.
Especially during Frederick the Great’s reign, Sanssouci was a place in which many arts were performed and even the most extraordinary ideas for the time could be freely discussed. In 1747, Johann Sebastian Bach visited the palace and his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who was a court musician for Frederick. Bach even played together with the King and later wrote “The Musical Offering” to propose to the King. Famous French philosopher Voltaire, a friend of Frederick, lived in the palace between 1750-1753 upon the King’s invitation. Voltaire even wrote his “Micromegas” during his stay there in 1751. Voltaire’s presence attracted other leading philosophers of the time to visit the palace.

3. Frederick lived there seperated from his wife, and women mostly weren’t welcome in the palace.
After the construction of the palace in 1747, Frederick moved in to his new palace and only went to Berlin for formal occasions. However, Frederick’s wife Elisabeth Christine did not move in with him, but instead resided in Schönhausen Palace in Berlin. During the reign of Frederick, Sanssouci’s guests consisted of men most of the time, and because of that, there were no facilities for women in Sanssouci. After Frederick’s death, women became common guests and the west wing of the palace started serving as a facility for women spesifically.

4. Sanssouci was built in rococo style with Frederick’s personal touchs, which created the “Frederican Rococo” style.
Frederick ordered his new palace to be built in a rococo style, with a simple looking exterior and an astonishing interior. During the construction, Frederick often added new features although some of them were out of fashion at the time. With these new features, Sanssouci became a unique piece of architecture style, which became named after Frederick as “Frederican Rococo”. This style is mostly attributed to architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff. Other buildings built in this style include Charlottenburg Palace and Potsdam City Palace.

5. Sanssouci literally means “without worries” or “without concerns” in French.
Frederick, who was an admirer of French literature and arts, usually spoke French in his court and even his library mainly consisted of French books. When the palace was built, Frederick named it with a French phrase, “sans souci”, which literally means “without worries or concerns”. This palace was not intended to be a show of strength by Frederick but a mere representation of his humble and artistic lifestyle. Frederick did not use his palace for state matters or formal meetings, Sanssouci was a place of relaxation for him.


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