In the 16th and 17th centuries life at the court of Louis XIV set new trends such as the ‘Parforcejagen’ (hunting by force) which spread and turned into a passion among European princes, including Frederick William I.
The existing hunting facilities from the time of the Elector Friedrich Wilhelm and his successor King Frederick I did not fulfill the conditions for the par force hunt.
King Frederick William I decided therefore to create new spaces for the parforce hunt, one at Potsdam and the other at Wusterhausen. A new hunting ground was built in 1726-1728 between the villages of Neuendorf, Stolpe, Drewitz and Gütergotz (Güterfelde) about 6.5 km from the Potsdam City Palace. There were originally 16 aisles (beaten paths) in the forest, which was designed in the shape of a star that led to the center of the hunting complex. The Wegestern was used for facilitate navigation after the hunt and made it possible to close off sections with the help of hunting lobes, in order to straighten the hunting area. The hunting lodge Stern was then built in 1730-32, and the ensemble of buildings is still recognizable today as a Baroque hunting lodge.
After the death of Frederick William I in 1740, the fate of the par force hunt was in limbo until Prince Carl of Prussia (1801-1883) resuscitated the English style hunting form.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Parforceheide was crossed by construction measures (Teltowkanal, railway lines, motorway, roads). The residential areas known as Drewitz and Kirchsteigfeld were built directly into the Parforceheide. Unfortunately, the historical paths and aisles were largely ignored.
Since then, the remaining Parforceheide is a small green island in the midst of urbanized Potsdam city space. It was declared a nature reserve. Explore it with Google Maps or, preferably, on foot on the trails through the Parforceheide! You can find some route suggestions on this flyer, which is also available at the events of the Förderverein at Jagdschloss Stern: