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Royalty Revisited: 4 Most Extravagant Palaces in the World

See how the many royal palaces around the world have stood their ground for centuries, with their sheer size, extravagance, magnificence, and value

Imagine the kings and emperors of yesteryear taking a stroll on their perfectly manicured lawns – no doubt conjuring grand visions for their empires. Over time, the majestic aura surrounding royalty dwindled significantly, the seat of power changed hands, but the mysterious charm prevailed. The royal palaces around the world have stood their ground for centuries with their sheer size, extravagance, magnificence and value. Most countries and communities in the world are moving away from the monarchy system of government to other forms of elected governments, so most palaces are being transformed into museums and cultural heritage centres. Preserving these palaces is always in the best interest of every country that has them, since they are a testament to a rich history and amazing ancient architecture.


What mortal is there who has come to England and has not heard of Buckingham Palace? This gigantic structure of grandiosity has served as the official London residence of London’s sovereigns 1837, and today serves as the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. Statistics concerning its architectural magnificence bring home the vastness of its proportions, it consists of 775 rooms, which include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. However, the palatial architecture is not just a venue for holding official functions, but, also has the imprints of family remembrances and histories embedded all over it. The State Rooms serve the purpose of reception for the visiting dignitaries who are received by the monarchs. Upon a visit to the 19 state rooms, one can witness a treasure of paintings ranging from the works of Van Dyck and Canaletto, sculpture by Canova, exquisite pieces of Sèvres porcelain, and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world.


Mysore Palace is built in Indo-Saracenic style, and this tradition is reflected in the domes, turrets, arches and colonnades. A walk through the palace would reveal the hidden treasure of exquisite carvings and precious works, each a visual treat to stop and wonder upon. The Mysore Palace is also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, and was constructed by Henry Irwin, the British consultant architect of Mysore State. The majestic Durbar Hall, with its ornate ceiling and sculpted pillars, the Marriage Pavilion with its chandeliers and cast-iron pillars and the Belgian stained glass adorned with peacock designs on the dome ceilings, are the main attractions. Witness the magnificent jewel studded golden throne, the pride of the Wadiyars and the symbol of their sovereignty, which are displayed for the public during the festival of Dasara in October. Walk your way amongst a row of souvenir shops, and you will come across the Residential Museum. It houses musical instruments, Tanjore and Mysore paintings, besides an array of personal artefacts belonging to the Maharaja’s family.


The land of Thailand is blessed by the gods themselves – the entire place is a happy conglomeration of culture, arts and festivals. And, nowhere is this festive spirit more reflected than the Grand Palace, which is believed to have been constructed during the reign of King Rama 1 of the Chakri dynasty. The palace served as a royal residence until 1925, and now fulfils largely ceremonial purposes. The Outer Court is one of the zones of the Grand Palace, the major attraction of which is the Temple of Emerald Buddha, or Phra Kaeo Morakot, so named because it was carved from flawless green jade, situated amid gold-gilded sculptures and ornaments. At the centre of the Middle Court is the Chakri Mahaprasat Throne Hall, which reveals an outstanding combination of European architecture influenced from the Renaissance era and traditional Thai roof tiles and spires.


To witness the culture and arts of France in all its unlimited glory, visit the Château de Versailles, or, the Palace of Versailles. For well over 30 years now, this palace has occupied a respectable spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and is considered to be the one of the most marvellous achievements of 18th century French art. The history of the palace itself is quite an interesting one, first serving as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge, before being expanded and transformed by his son Louis XIV when he shifted the seat of power to Versailles. The Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Grand Apartments and the Museum of the History of France has continued to leave the populace awestruck over the years. The Grande Galerie, or, the La Grande Galerie, stretching across 73m, glorifies the economic, political and artistic achievements of France in all its splendour. The 30 compositions in the arch painted by Le Brun, highlight the glorious epoch in the reign of Louis XIV. The 357 mirrors adorn the 17 arches opposite the windows, highlighting that France was the undisputed economic power with its grand scale production of mirrors, while smashing the monopoly held by France. The artistic success is reflected in the Rance marble pilasters decorated with a model of gilded bronze capitals called “French order,” which represent national emblems a fleur de lys topped by a royal sun between two French cockerels.

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