View Full Version : European royal palaces

03-01-08, 23:11
European monarchies have long rivaled with each others to produce the greatest and most impressive of the palaces. The first to achieve this by overawing all the continent to a point that everybody wanted to copy his palace, was the Sun King, Louis XIV, with Versailles.

The Palace of Versailles makes for a good touchstone to compare all European palaces. It has some 2000 rooms, 2513 windows, 483 mirrors and 67 staircases, spread over 67,000 square metres. The total property expands on 815 ha (2,013 acres), of which 93 ha are composed of gardens. It was constructed between 1664 and 1710.

Since then, (at least) 3 other palaces have managed to surpass it in size.

The largest of all European palaces is still the Louvre, much older than Versailles (the first fortress dates back to the 12th century), but extended to surpass Versailles under Napoleon I and Napoleon III. It now has a total floor area of 210,000 m2.

It is followed by the Royal Palace of Madrid, rebuilt from 1738 to 1755 with the gold from the New World. It spans on 135,000 m2 and has no less than 3418 rooms.

Buckingham Palace, the main official residence of the British monarchy, may seem less big from outside. It nevertheless has a floor area of 77,000 m2, thanks to its higher number of storeys. Its 600 rooms is relatively few compared to other royal palaces.

Another great royal residence, very impressive by its sumptuous interior, and grandiose compared to the size and power of its kingdom, is the Caserta Palace in Napoli. With 45,000 m2 and 1200 rooms, it can certainly rival Versailles. As the above-mentioned palaces are all built in the city centre, the Caserta Palace is the only with gardens vast enough to be comparable to Versailles. In fact, with 120 ha, they are larger than those of Louis XIV.

In comparison, the Biltmore Estate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biltmore_House), the largest privately owned home in the United States, is "only" 16,300 m2.

12-02-10, 12:37
The Winter Palace in St Petersburg is the largest of all. Built between the late 1730s and 1837, it has 1,786 doors, 1,945 windows, 1,500 rooms and 117 staircases. Its main façade is 150 m long and 30 m high.

The Royal Palace of Stockholm is the largest still in new for its original purpose. Erected between 1697 and 1760, it is also one of the oldest Classical palaces after Versailles (its construction started 13 years before the completion of Versailles). This large block of 230 m on 125 m contains 1,430 rooms.

The Royal Palace of Brussels has a longer façade than Buckingham Palace. Constructed as the Classical palace from 1775 on the ruins of the Coudenberg Palace, the former seat of the Dukes of Brabant, the palace became royal in 1831 and was modified and enlarged by Leopold II between 1862 and 1865. There is unfortunately very little information available regarding its size. The even larger Royal Castle of Laeken, where the Belgian Royal family now live, is all the more mysterious (and closed to the public). Judging from Google maps it forms a U with a core roughly 300 m in length with wings of 200 m. Unfolded it would create a 700 m long façade, against 500 m for Versailles.

Herrenchiemsee Palace, 60 km south east of Munich, is a Bavarian copy of Versailles. Built between 1878 to 1886, it reproduces the main features of its French counterpart, including the Hall of Mirrors and the Ambassador Staircase (now lost in Versailles itself). Its construction cost 125 years ago was estimated around 100 million euro at current value.

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is contemporary to Versailles (it was built between 1696 and 1701), but represents the Baroque style, the opposite current of Neoclassicism. It has 1441 rooms.

^ lynx ^
28-09-10, 03:53
Thanks for the info.