Established in 1826 at the request of Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III, Alexandrowka is a Russian colony located in the north of Potsdam. It was named in honor of the recently deceased Tsar Alexander I and was originally built as a home for the Russian singers of the First Prussian Regiment of the Guards.
Today Alexandrowka is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features 13 wooden houses designed in a quintessential Russian style. Few descendants of the original inhabitants still live here, however, preservationists and current owners are working closely to reconstruct the buildings to their original condition.
Of particular note is the modern Museum Alexandrowka, which is situated within house number two. It illustrates the 19th-century living conditions of the Russian singers that lived here, the historical events that preceded the colony’s establishment and the architectural style employed.
Alexandrowka was designed in the form of a hippodrome, with an inlaid St. Andrew’s cross and the sergeant’s house standing at the center. Drawings by the Italo-Russian architect Carlo Rossi were used as the basis for the colony’s architecture, which features half-timbered houses with semicircular wooden trunks that appear like Russian log cabins. Large gardens were established around each of the gabled residences and the wood shingle roofs were replaced by slate at the end of the 19th century.
The Alexander Nevsky Memorial Church was built on the nearby Kapellenberg in 1829 and stands as the oldest Russian Orthodox church in Germany. It is one of the earliest examples of Byzantine Revival architecture in the country and its iconic pink walls still support an active congregation.