A failed enterprise

We were in Potsdam in the early 1990s, and went around Sanssouci gardens, then noticed what looked like some ruins on a hill the distance. As we approached, there were all sorts of tumbledown classical structures and a huge circular concrete construction full of stagnant water.

Turns out we had stumbled on Ruinenberg where in the mid 18th Century Frederick the Great of Prussia had had a massive water tank built to supply the planned water features of Sanssouci. He surrounded this with artificial ruins, follies, for fun.

Turns out the water tank never succeeded in supplying the water for the gardens, so the fountains weren’t created then. However, around a century later, a pump room was created with the technology of the time, so Sanssouci could have its fountains.

I’ve hunted high and low for the classical follies but cant find the images, so here’s a stagnant pond with a bit of a folly:

Linked to February Squares at Becky’s here


  1. An interesting background to your shot, Sue. A strong conclusion to your odd follies

    • Sue

      I’m narked that I can’t find the other image, shall have to search through slides (which I thought had been scanned), and get some new scans….

  2. You’ve certainly kept the oddest till last. A great series.

  3. The building of deliberate ruins as a folly is the perfect way to end your interesting series, Sue.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. I have loved your series and this is a great image to end on.

  5. I didn’t think you were going to make it, but you did!

  6. I am always rather torn when looking at follies. On one hand they are sometimes quite amazing whilst at the same time smacking of arrogance – ‘I am so wealthy I can waste my money on this’.

  7. Like everyone else I have loved this series, so glad that odd squares inspired you. Can’t wait to see what you will do with the next theme

  8. Rich and powerful people did a lot of weird things with water back then. We were at Heidelberg Castle last weekend and came upon what looked like … dungeons? But in an outlying area. Turns out they were “baths and musical automaton grottos” – whatever that is. Bathing chambers, heated rooms, fish-farming basins, trick fountains and artful mechanical water organs. None can be viewed, though. But my imagination runs riot. – Love that monochrome look of that ruin.

  9. Nothing like a good stagnant pond, eh? Very odd! Like everyone else I have loved your follies.

  10. I love the very apt name. Did the stagnant pond smell. Great photo and narration, Sue.

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