Roman Baths (Potsdam)
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The Roman Baths (German: die Römischen Bäder), northeast of the nose Charlottenhof in the park of Sanssouci in Potsdam, reflect the Italiensehnsucht ("Sehnsucht/longing for Italy") of its creator Frederick William IV of Prussia. Various Roman and antiquated Italian styles were melded into the architectural ensemble created between 1829-1840.
While still a crown prince Friedrich Wilhelm had first Charlottenhof (1826-1829) and then the adjunct Roman Baths built. Coming up with numerous ideas and drawing many actual drafts, the artistically-gifted heir to the throne had great influence on the plans of the architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Charged with managing the actual construction was Ludwig Persius, a student of Schinkel's.
The garden house (Gärtnerhaus) (1829/30) and the house for its keepers (Gärtnergehilfenhaus) (1832) were both built in Italian country house style(Landhausstil). The Roman bath (1834-1840) for which the whole ensemble was named was styled after ancient villas. Together with the tea-pavilion (Teepavillon) (1830), modelled on temples of antiquity, it forms the complex of buildings, tied together by pergolas, arcades and sections of garden. The individuals buildings play on the memories of Schinkel's second trip to Italy in 1828.Thus the Roman bath, which has never been bathed in, came to be thanks purely to the romantic fantasy of the royal Italophile.
The names of the rooms connote a mixture of antique villas und Roman baths. The atrium, the courtyard of a Roman house, is the reception area. The Impluvium, actually only a glorified rainwater-collection device, gives its name to the whole room in which it is located. The Viridarium (greenhouse) is actually a small garden.Names associated with Roman thermal baths are Apodyterium for the changing room, and Caldarium.
The whole nostalgic creation borders on an artificial lake created during Peter Joseph Lenné's formation of the Charlottenhof areal. The so-called machine pond (Maschinenteich) gets its name from a steam engine house and adjacent pumpstation torn down in 1923. The large hull of a well marks the former location of the building. The steam engine was not just responsible for keeping the artificial waters of Charlottenhof moving - its smokestacks were also a symbol of progress and what was at this time highly-developed technology.
- Gert Streidt, Klaus Frahm: Potsdam. Die Schlösser und Gärten der Hohenzollern. Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Köln 1996. ISBN 3-89508-238-4
- Amtlicher Führer der Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg: Schloss Charlottenhof und die Römischen Bäder. 7. neu bearbeitete Auflage, Potsdam 1998