Tag Archives: palace

China – UNESCO WHS – Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa

The Potala Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley, at an altitude of 3,700m. Also founded in the 7th century, the Jokhang Temple Monastery is an exceptional Buddhist religious complex. Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama’s former summer palace, constructed in the 18th century, is a masterpiece of Tibetan art. The beauty and originality of the architecture of these three sites, their rich ornamentation and harmonious integration in a striking landscape, add to their historic and religious interest.


Germany – Potsdam


Potsdam  is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, 24 km (15 miles) southwest of Berlin city center.

The name “Potsdam” originally seems to have been “Poztupimi” from a West Slavonic name meaning “beneath the oaks”, highlighting the area’s many grand oak trees.

Potsdam has several claims to national and international notability. In Germany, it had the status Windsor has in England. It was the residence of the Prussian kings, and thus the German Emperors, until 1918. Around the city there are a series of interconnected lakes and unique cultural landmarks, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany. The Potsdam Conference, the major post-World War II conference between the victorious Allies, was held at another palace in the area, the Cecilienhof.

Babelsberg, in the south-eastern part of Potsdam, was a major movie production studio before the war and has enjoyed increased success as a major centre of European film production since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Filmstudio Babelsberg is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world.

Potsdam developed into a center of science in Germany from the 19th century. Today, there are three public colleges and more than 30 research institutes in the city.

Denmark – Amalienborg Palace

Amalienborg Palace is the winter home of the Danish royal family, and is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. It consists of four identical classicizing palace façades with rococo interiors around an octagonal courtyard (Amalienborg Slotsplads).  In the center of the square is a monumental equestrian statue of Amalienborg’s founder, King Frederick V.

Amalienborg was originally built for four noble families; however, when Christiansborg Palace burnt down on 26 February 1794, the royal family bought the palaces and moved in. Over the years various kings and their families have resided in the four different palaces.

China – Beijing – Summer Palace

The Summer Palace started out life as the Garden of Clear Ripples in 1750 (Reign Year 15 of Emperor Qianlong). Artisans reproduced the garden architecture styles of various palaces in China. Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The palace complex suffered two major attacks—during the Anglo-French allied invasion of 1860 (with the Old Summer Palace also ransacked at the same time), and during the Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden survived and was rebuilt in 1886 and 1902. In 1888, it was given the current name, Yihe Yuan. It served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi, who diverted 30 million taels of silver, said to be originally designated for the Chinese navy (Beiyang Fleet), into the reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace.

In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value.” It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park.

The Pavilion pf precious Clouds it is also know as the Bronze Pavilion or Baoyun Pavilion.

It is a structure with a double-eaved roof. With a height of 7.55m, it weighs 207 tonnes. The pillars, rafters, brackets, tiles, beasts on the ridges, windows and doors and even the lintel of the bronze pavilion are all made from wood. Greenish-grey in color, it is delicately and intricately made. It is documented that the copper cuttings accumulated in the process of polishing the surface amounted to 2,500kg. The pavilion sits on a white Buddhist-style marble base with carvings. Bells with the same material and color hang by brackets from the four corners. The bells ring in the wind. The sunlit painted pavilion looks dainty and delicate, giving a sense of perpetuity.

When the construction of the bronze pavilion was finished, Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) wrote poetry on the stele standing before it. In the reign of Emperor Qianlong, Lamas from Tibet came here to pray for the emperors and empresses of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) on the first and fifteenth day of each lunar month. The 10-meter-high brackets on the stone cliff behind the pavilion were all used to hang Buddha figures during the ceremony.

Constructed in the twentieth year of the reign of Qing Qianlong, Baoyun Bronze Pavilion survived many calamities and historical shifts. In 1860, the Allied Forces of Britain and France burned the Garden of Clear Ripples (former name of the Summer Palace) but the Baoyun Bronze Pavilion remained intact due to its bronze material. Nevertheless, the furnishings inside the pavilion were all destroyed, leaving a bronze table alone. In 1900, the Eight Allied Armies ransacked the Summer Palace, yet could do nothing to the bronze pavilion.

Belarus – Old Ruins

The Palace in Ruzhany

Różany began its life in the late 16th century as the site of Lew Sapieha’s castle. The Sapieha residence was destroyed in the course of the internecine strife in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania when it was attacked by Michał Serwacy Wiśniowiecki’s forces in 1700.

Różany was rebuilt as a grand Neoclassical residence in the 1770s by Aleksander Michał Sapieha. The architect was Jan Samuel Becker from Saxony. The palace was set in an English park. Apart from the palace, there were a theatre (1784-88), an orangery, and several other outbuildings. It was Becker who designed the local church (rebuilt in the 1850s).

By the time of King Stanisław II’s visit in 1784, work on the palace had been suspended. The Sapieha estates were nationalised in the aftermath of the November Uprising (1831). Three years later, the palace compound was leased to Ari Leib Pines to be used as a textile mill and weaving factory.

In 1914 the palace was accidentally set on fire by factory workers. The First World War and subsequent financial hardships prevented the building’s restoration until 1930. The partially restored palace was ruined in 15 years, a casualty of the Second World War. The ornate palace gate survives and has recently been repaired.

The Castle in Golshany

The castle ensemble was built in the 17th century as Pavel Stephan Sapega’s residence.

The castle looks much like the castle of Mir. The front view of the Castle of Golshany resembles some Dutch castles near Antwerp (the approximate spelling of those castles is Besenstehen and Klaidael). The interior of the Castle of Golshany featured numerous frescos, stained-glass windows, moulded fireplaces, floors paved with terracotta ceramic tiles. There was a labyrinth of stone cellars under the castle, which used to be jocularly called a stone flower of mannerism.

The Northern War and the Swedish troops had no mercy on one of Belarus’ most beautiful castles. However, the devastation was fully accomplished in 1880 when the last owner of the castle would opt to blow up the towers and the walls in order to use the bricks for building a tavern.

What has left of the ensemble is two corner towers, the north-east and the north-west parts of the palace.

The place gave the Belarusian literature classic Vladimir Korotkevich the inspiration to write a bestseller book ‘The Black Castle of Golshany’.

Austria – Vienna – Hofburg

Hofburg Palace is a palace located in Vienna, Austria, which has housed some of the most powerful people in Austrian history, including the Habsburg dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian empire. It currently serves as the official residence of the President of Austria. It was the Habsburgs’ principal winter residence, as the Schönbrunn Palace was their preferred summer residence.

The Hofburg area has been the documented seat of government since 1279 for various empires and republics. The Hofburg has been expanded over the centuries to include: various residences (with the Amalienburg), the chapel (Hofkapelle or Burgkapelle), museums (the Naturhistorisches Museum & Kunsthistorisches Museum), the Imperial Library (Hofbibliothek now the Prunksaal), the treasury (Schatzkammer), the national theatre (Burgtheater), the riding school (Hofreitschule), the horse stables (the Stallburg and Hofstallungen)and the Hofburg Congress Center.

Numerous architects have executed work at the Hofburg as it expanded, notably the Italian architect-engineer Filiberto Luchese (the Leopoldischiner Trakt), Lodovico Burnacini and Martino and Domenico Carlone, the Baroque architects Lukas von Hildebrandt and Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach (the Reichschancelry Wing and the Winter Riding School), Johann Fischer von Erlach (the library), and the architects of the grandiose Neue Burg built between 1881 and 1913.


Official website