A palace is a royal residence, any splendid residence, or the official residence of some high dignitaries, as of a pope. Here’s a list of some of the most magnificent palaces in the world and their notable features.
Istana Nurul Iman – The Largest Residential Palace in the World and the World’s Largest Residence
The world’s largest residential palace in the word is the Istana Nurul Iman Palace. It is the official residence of Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei. The palace is located in Brunei’s capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. It is also the largest residence of any type in the world.
Amazing features of the Palace;
- The palace was built at a cost of around $1.4 billion USD.
- Its domes are made of gold.
- It has a floor area of 2,152,782 square feet or 200,000 square meters.
- It contains 1,788 rooms and 257 bathrooms.
- It has 564 chandeliers, 51,000 light bulbs, 44 stairwells, and 18 elevators.
- It has 5 swimming pools.
- It has an air conditioned stable for the Sultan’s 200 polo ponies. Wow, lucky animals.
- It has a 110-car garage. Home to a car collection that includes custom-made Ferraris and Bentleys as well as 165 Rolls Royce.
- It has a banquet hall that can be expanded to accommodate up to 4,000 guests.
- It has a mosque that can accommodate 1,500 people.
Buckingham Palace, London, UK – World’s Largest “Working” Royal Palace
The title of the world’s largest “working” royal palace belongs to the Buckingham Palace. It is the official London residence of the British monarchy.
Remarkable features of the Buckingham Palace;
- The palace has a total area of 828,818 square feet or 77,000 square meters.
- The Buckingham Palace Garden is the largest private garden in London.
- Buckingham Palace is one of the world’s most familiar buildings and more than 50,000 people visit the palace each year as guests to banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and the royal garden parties.
- The Gallery is hung with numerous works including some by Rembrandt, van Dyck, Rubens, and Vermeer.
- The State Ballroom is the largest room at Buckingham Palace. State banquets often over 150 guests dine off in gold plates.
- The palace contained 19 state rooms, 52 principal bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.
Royal Palace of Madrid in Spain – Largest Palace in Western Europe
The largest palace in Western Europe is the Royal Palace of Madrid in Spain. The Palacio Real de Madrid, also called Palacio de Oriente – Eastern Palace, is the official residence of the King of Spain. However, the king and the royal family do not actually reside in this palace, instead choosing the smaller Palacio de la Zarzuela.
Distinct features of the Palace;
- The palace has the distinction of being the largest royal palace in Western Europe in size, with over a combined area of over 135,000 m² or 1,453,122 square feet.
- The palace has more than 2,800 rooms.
- The vast palace is richly decorated by artists such as Velasquez, Tiepolo, Mengs, Gasparini, Juan de Flandes, Caravaggio and Goya.
- Royal armory and weapons dating back to the 13th century are kept in the palace.
- The world’s only complete Stradivarius string quintet is kept in the palace, including collections of tapestry, porcelain, furniture, and other objects of art of great historical importance.
Stockholm Palace, Sweden – The Largest Royal Palace in the World that is Still in Use for its Original Purpose
Stockholm Palace is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch. It is “the largest royal palace in the world that is still in use for its original purpose”.
Notable features of the Palace;
- The personal offices of the monarch and the other members of the Swedish royal family as well as the administrative offices of the Royal Court of Sweden are located there.
- The palace is used for representative purposes by the king whilst performing his duties as the head of state.
- The palace is guarded by the Hogvakten, a royal guard of members of the Swedish Armed Forces which dates back to the early 16th century.
- The palace is built of brick, with midsections of the west, south, and east facades covered by sandstone.
- The roof is covered with copper and is surrounded by a stone balustrade which stretched around the entire main building.
- The palace has 609 rooms and is one of the largest royal palaces in the world still in use for its original purpose.
- The palace contains Sweden’s oldest museum, which includes old weapons and uniforms.
- The Treasure Chamber which contains the Swedish crown jewels is located at the west.
- Museum of antiques is located in the northeast wing and contains ancient sculptures found in Italy.
The Forbidden City, Beijing, China – World’s Largest Palace Complex
The Forbidden City which is the world’s largest palace complex, is neither occupied as a residence nor is it one continuous building.
Splendid features of the Palace;
- The total square footage of the complex is just less than 7,750,000 square feet, but with the vast open courtyards of the complex, the totaled square footage of the Forbidden City’s collective buildings is smaller than that of Istana Nurul Iman.
- For almost five centuries, it served as the home of the Emperor and his household, and the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government.
- The complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 square meters.
- The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture.
- The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
- The construction of the palace lasted 15 years, and required more than a million workers.
- The Forbidden City is the world’s largest surviving palace complex and covers 72 hectares.
- The Forbidden City is surrounded by a 7.9-meter high city wall and a six-meter deep, 52-meter wide moat. The walls are 8.62 meters wide at the base, tapering to 6.66 meters at the top.
- At the four corners of the wall sit towers with intricate roofs boasting 72 ridges.
- The Hall of Supreme Harmony which was the ceremonial center of imperial power, is the largest, and rises some 30 meters above the level of the surrounding square. It is the largest surviving wooden structure in China.
- The northern ramp, behind the Hall of Preserving Harmony, is carved from a single piece of stone 16.57 meters long, 3.07 meters wide, and 1.7 meters thick. It weighs some 200 tons and is the largest such carving in China.
- The Forbidden City is surrounded on three sides by imperial gardens.
- The Forbidden City contains Equestrian painting of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735-1796) by Giuseppe Castiglione.
- The collections of the Palace Museum are based on the Qing imperial collection. Some 1.17 million items were stored in the Forbidden City.
- The imperial libraries housed one of the China’s largest collections of ancient books and various documents.
- The Palace Museum holds 340,000 pieces of ceramics and porcelain.
- The Palace Museum holds close to 50,000 items of paintings. Of these, more than 400 date from before the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). This is the largest such collection in China.
- The Palace Museum’s bronze collection dates from the early Shang Dynasty (founded c. 1766 BC). Of the almost 10,000 pieces held, about 1600 are inscribed items from the pre-Qin period (to 221 BC).
- The Palace Museum has one of the largest collections of mechanical timepieces of the 18th and 19th centuries in the world, with more than 1000 pieces. The collection contains both Chinese- and foreign-made pieces.
- The Museum’s collection of jade includes some 30,000 pieces.
These palaces are amazingly beautiful. Other palaces with notable features are; the Russian Imperial Palaces in St Petersburg, the Papal Palace in Rome, Potala Palace, Palace of Versailles in France, and many others.
The Winter Palace – St. Petersburg, Russia
The Winter Palace was the winter residence of the Russian tsars.
The Papal Palace or Palace of the Vatican – Vatican City
The Papal Palace is the official residence of the Pope in the Vatican City.
The Potala Palace – Tibet
The Potala Palace was the former chief residence of the Dalai Lama. Today the Potala Palace has been converted into a museum by the Chinese.
The Palace of Versailles in France
It was once the center of power and the former official residence of the French Monarchy.
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