Berlin's status as a true royal city dates to 1701, when Elector of Brandenburg Fredrick III crowned himself the King In Prussia in distant Königsberg (now known as Kaliningrad). This royal ascent confirmed Berlin's position as the second city of a growing European power - led by the Hohenzollern dynasty - and subsequently saw a boom in royal residences as the family rushed to envelop itself with the same heavenly authority as other European monarchies.
Frederick I contributed significantly to the Prussian legacy, as a patron of the arts known for his lavishness - his most crucial palatial addition to the city, the Schloss Charlottenburg, is named after his wife, Sophie Charlotte. After a period of state-building under the frugal rule of Frederick's son and successor, Frederick William I, the matter of developing Prussia into a lavish European contender was continued under Frederick II - more commonly known as Frederick the Great. His decision to locate his 'philosophers residence' - Schloss Sanssouci - on a desolate hill in nearby Potsdam would see the area develop into the so-called crown jewel of Imperial Prussian and what is now a UNESCO listed site. With more than 20 royal residences, Potsdam is widely referred to as Berlin's Versailles.
Following the defeat of Germany in WWI and the abdication of Emperor Wilhelm II, the many palaces and royal residences in this region were converted into palatial museums; now maintained as cultural heritage sites. Many complete with impressively landscaped gardens and ostentatious interiors just waiting to be experienced.
Come explore the opulent legacy of a fallen empire.