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Sanssouci Palace, which Frederick the Great had built to his personal specifications, is one of the most important 18th-century royal palaces. Architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff finished the single-storey building in 1747 in only two years. Planned on the lines of a French pleasure castle, Sanssouci represents the pinnacle of Frederician Rococo. The statuary, the structure of the building itself and its site pay tribute to 'carefree leisure'. Beneath a striking dome is the famous oval Marble Hall, where Frederick the Great held his legendary round-table meetings with the intellectual elite of his day, sharing his many artistic and philosophical interests with guests such as Voltaire in an idyllic rural setting. Most of the 18th-century furnishings have survived to provide an authentic view of this place of cultural meetings, on which in large part rests the reputation of Frederick the Great as a monarch of the Enlightenment and major patron of the arts.
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