5 Grand Palaces Around The World
Palaces depict the prosperity, art, culture and tradition of an era. But not all palaces have faded in history. Here are five grand palaces from across the world which have not only stood the ravages of time but still ooze opulence and grandeur of the royal family.
The Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan
The Imperial Palace, the residence of Emperor of Japan, is located in the heart of Tokyo. Designed by Japanese architect Shōzō Uchii, the modern residence was completed in 1993. The palace was destroyed once during the World War II but it was reconstructed again in the exactly same design. The main hall, which was the largest building, had a traditional Japanese exterior with the roof having the same shape as Kyoto Imperial Palace. The palace has three wings --- Seiden State Function Hall, Hōmeiden State Banquet Hall, Chōwaden Reception Hall, Rensui Dining Room, Chigusa Chidori, Drawing Room and The Emperor's work office. Spread across 3.41 sq km, the palace is opened to the public on January 2 and December 23 every year.
Winter Palace St. Petersburg, Russia
The Winter Palace in St. Peterburg was the official residence of the royal family of Russia from 1732 to 1917. The construction of the palace was done to reflect the mightiness and power of imperial Russia. The green-and-white palace is built in a rectangular shape with its principal façade being 250-m-long and 100-ft (30 m) high. The Russian Tsar ruled over 22,400,000 sq km (8,600,000 sq miles) (almost 1/6 of the Earth's landmass) and over 125 million subjects by the end of the 19th century, from the Winter Palace, truly the sign of Russian might. Only the principal façade is visible to the public. The rest of the building architecture is hidden from the public view (behind the granite walls). The palace is said to contain 1,500 rooms. Its dining room can seat up to 1,000 guests. On October 30, 1917, the palace was declared to be part of the Hermitage public museums. Today, the palace attracts footfall of 3.5 million.
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Topkapi Palace was the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years (1465–1856) of their 624-year reign. The palace did not have a strict design plan. Over the time, various rulers have added and changed various structures and elements, resulting in asymmetry of the palace. It housed more than 4,000 people and consisted of mosques, a hospital, bakeries, and a mint. The harem of the palace, the treasury gives a mesmerising glimpse of the opulent lifestyle of the sultans during that time. The tourists are advised to be dressed appropriately while visiting the palace.
Buckingham Palace, London, Britain
Buckingham Palace is the residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch of United Kingdom. Located in Westminster, it is the focal point of British architecture. The palace was originally known as Buckingham House and was under private ownership for 150 years. The palace measures 108 m (354 ft) by 120 m (390 ft), is 24 m (79 ft) in height and contains more than 77,000 sq m (830,000 sq ft) of floor space. It houses 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 principal bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms and has its own post office, cinema, swimming pool, doctor's surgery, and jeweller's workshop. As many as 4,76,000 people visited the palace in a year till March 31, 2015. The palace is opened for the public during the summers.
Mysore Palace, Mysuru, India
Last but not the least, Mysore Palace in India is the symbol of the grandeur and the golden era the country has seen. It is the official residence of and the seat of the Wodeyars. The palace is east-facing, located in central Mysore. The architectural style of the palace is known as Indo-Saracenic, which combines, Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles. The palace has a three-storied stone structure having marble domes and a 145-ft five-storey tower. It has three entrances viz. the East Gate (the front gate, opened only during the Dasara and for VVIPs), the South Entrance (for public), and the West Entrance (usually opened only during the Dasara). Palace of Mysore is illuminated with more than 96,000 lights during the two-month period during the celebrations of Dasara. It gets around six million visitors in a year, which is next to the Taj Mahal.