SEE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PALACES OF THE WORLD FROM FRANCE TO INDIA WHERE KINGS AND QUEENS USED TO LIVE.
The historical and magnificent palaces of the world that have become backgrounds to many art works from movies to literary works are among the greatest touristic destinations with the lives they reflect, stories they have witnessed, decorations, and atmosphere. Our selection consists of the most magnificent dynastic palaces of the world from France to India. We wish you a trip fit for kings and queens…
PALACE OF VERSAILLES / FRANCE
If the crowds that disembark the tour buses locked to the target do not shock you first, you will become amazed by the world’s largest palace famous Château de Versailles where Louis the XIV and the 20 thousand royal members lived. A new capital had been created from the beginning to accompany the palace, which is 20 minutes away from Paris by train. Those who planned the construction of the palace had imagined giant buildings and larger boulevards than Champs-Elysees.
Damaged during the revolution
Although it was intruded by the angry mob during the French Revolution, thanks to the renovations done at large scales, the visitors can feel the Sun King and the atmosphere of his palace greatly today. The palace is not only the place where the Sun King used to reside, but it was also the new control center of the French government between 1682-1789 and 1871-1879. The Hall of Mirrors where the balls were held, official section, private chambers, fountain with striking engravings, gardens, and garden mazes will welcome you. A door to a different world is going to open up for you with the Hameau de la Reine, the Rustic retreat where Marie Antoinette pretended herself as a shepherd’s daughter to escape the chaotic palace life. Before visiting, consider committing to spend the whole day at the palace and its surroundings.
HAWA MAHAL / INDIA
India was called the ‘Land of the Kings’ once upon a time. The Pink City located in the heart of Rajasthan in India’s northern region is a feast for the eyes thanks to this palace. Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh ordered the construction of the highly photogenic Hawa Mahal Palace (Palace of Winds) for the use of the women of the royal household, so they could go outdoors for fresh air and observe the street while unseen from the outside.
Windows cool the building
This interesting five-storey structure, where only the western breezes can enter through its 953 windows, is chilled by the wind easily because each window is as big as a room. Servants used to try to make the place cooler by wetting the window grates. The facade with 1000 windows of the pink sandstone palace that disguises into another appearance at sunsets and sunrises is honeycomb figured and resembles the crown of Krishna. Do not miss to see the mesmerizing landscape of Jaipur from the top through the grated windows.
AL HAMRA PALACE / SPAIN
Granada is a dashy place. Sierra Nevada, the highest mountains of Andalusia, and the Al Hamra Palace that rise above the town, mysterious looking narrow cobble stone streets, the old Muslim neighborhood Albayzin and the legacy of poet Federico Garcia Lorca are enough to make Granada indispensible. Do not miss to view the ‘Red Palace’ the Alhambra at sunset from the observation terrace. The Alhambra with the number of visitors reaching up to two million annually is the most powerful magnet of the Spain’s tourism.
The name of the palace means ‘red’
The name of the palace is derived from red in Arabic. The redness that captures the towers and walls during the sunset might have its share on this. The name of the hill where the palace is settled is La Colina Roja, meaning ‘Red Hill.’ The palace was constructed in 1238; it was ordered by Ibn al-Ahmar, the first king of Nasrids. The dynasty is the last Muslim one to settle in Granada, Banu al-Ahmar, which means ‘Sons of the Red.’ The summer residence of the Nasrid Kings, Generalife, which is the garden of the palace, is as legendary as the palace itself. The word has Arabic origins and it means ‘heaven aloft.’
Purchase your ticket in advance
Terraces and walking trails offer you the prettiest scenes of the town. You will see the caves that used to be the Roman catacombs at Saint Miguel Hill. You can take a pleasant walk on de Darro Street around this area. It would be useful to purchase your ticket in advance because the daily tickets are sold in limited numbers.
PRAGUE CASTLE / THE CZECH REPUBLIC
The city of Prague where Vlatava River runs freely in the middle leaves even the globe-trotters amazed. The fairytale castle of the city is dated from 880 according to the archeological studies and old inscriptions. The palace complex consists of many buildings that are connected by inner courts. The most important among them is the Starý Královský Palace. This palace is still the royal residence and the center of the Czech Republic’s political power even today. St Vitus Cathedral that hosts the holy relics from the significant saints of the country is a place that you must see.
The sections that are opened to public after the communist regime
Following the fall of the communist regime in 1989, some sections of the palace that were closed to public before opened once again. Today, Royal Gardens, South Garden, Royal Stables, royal memorials, and exhibitions can be visited. Do not miss seeing the castle’s gallery of paintings. The gallery exhibits the Emperor Rudolph the II’s collection that includes paintings by Titian and Rubens.
PALAZZO PITTI / ITALY
Florence is a city that welcomes you with an artwork each step you take. When you are here, you should definitely see a palace that is an art piece all by itself. As we move away from the world famous historical heritage of the city and go to the other side of the Arno River, we see that Palazzo Pitti is getting ready to astound you. The Toscana dukes and the Italian king used to live in this place once upon a time.
The most famous paintings are here
In the hands of the Medici family, which had their name written in Italy’s history of art in gold letters by means of the gorgeous furniture and art pieces, Palazzo Pitti had been transformed literally into a structure of the Renaissance in 1549. Today, the palace holds many museums that exhibit porcelain, costume, and modern art works. The most significant among those is the Galleria Palantina. An important collection that includes Titian’s portraits is exhibited here, as well as the best paintings of Raphael. The museums are dizzying; however, if you miss to visit the Boboli Gardens, we guarantee that you will regret it.
GRAND PALACE / THAILAND
The royal palace complex that takes place in the heart of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is the most visited and respected place of the country. The palace had been the host of the Siamese Kingdom since 1782 and had been left by the royal family in 1925. Although the buildings of the complex that is surrounded by walls are closed to public, this place is still used for official receptions and it is free to look inside and walk through the area.
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha
The palace complex consists of many buildings, courts, gardens, and the famous Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This is one of the most sacred temples in the country. Chakri Maha Prasat is a place worth seeing because it is a striking synthesis of the classic Thai architecture and the 19th century European style.
WINDSOR CASTLE / ENGLAND
Carrying the title of being the only British castle that has been used by the royal family uninterruptedly and the largest inhabited castle in the world, Windsor Castle has been the host of many kings and queens such as William, who ordered its construction, and Queen Victoria, and many more, who have been ordered the renovation and expansion of the castle many times.
Moreover, Charles the II had interfered with the design of the castle in order to compete with his cousin Louis the XIV’s Palace of Versailles. Change of guards is at 11am every day between April and July, and at the same time every other day on the other months.
SCHÖNBRUNN PALACE / AUSTRIA
The Schönbrunn Palace that takes place at the border of Vienna like a jewel used to be the summer residence of the Habsburg Dynasty. The palace that was constructed by the order of Emperor Leopold the I at the end of the 17th century went through a transformation forty years later for the only empress of Habsburgs, Maria Theresa, Mary Antoinette’s mother. The royal chambers of the palace are as impressive as the magnificent gardens; however, the more humble room preferences of the kings such as Franz Josef is an interesting fact.
Only forty among the 1441 rooms of the structure that was designed in baroque style with detailed gardens and perfect symmetry can be visited. The Hall of Mirrors is worth seeing. In 1762, Mozart had played the harpsichord for Empress Maria Theresa and he even had fallen in love with Marie Antoinette who was seven years old at the time. The participants of the Vienna Congress who took apart the fallen empire of Napoleon in pieces in 1815 had danced at the ball that had been held at the Great Gallery that night. Do not forget to look at the ceiling of the Great Gallery.
TOPKAPI PALACE / TURKEY
The breath taking treasures of the Topkapı Palace, which is the heart of the capital city İstanbul, is the only reason to visit this place for some; especially the Kaşıkçı Diamond that contributes to the fame of the palace worldwide. You should reserve plenty of time for the treasure that includes the Topkapı Dagger as well. The visitors of the palace get into the expectation of seeing a traditional palace like the ones in Europe. However, the Topkapı doesn’t enter any category in this aspect.
Illuminates Ottoman history
The Topkapı that was built by the order of Sultan Mehmet the II has taken its final state through the many changes and additions ordered by different sultans since 1470. It is possible to spend a whole day at the palace. The palace that was inhabited by five thousand people once is a place not to miss visiting, especially the gardens, the Harem, Kitchen, and Treasury sections. The Topkapı is a significant palace that illuminates Ottoman history by means of the events that took place in here, as well as its architecture, Ottoman artwork engravings, porcelains, and tile works.