You may have basked in the grandeur of enormous structures but the following palaces will most certainly put your experiences to the test for they are simply breath-taking. Note that this top list will only include those structures that are used for civilian purposes and not for military endeavours (yes, goodbye, dear Pentagon). So, without further ado, let us hop right into it!
5. Rashtrapati Bhavan:
India is the first country to enter the competition with its marvellous Rashtrapati Bhavan located in Rajpath, Delhi. Boasting with a massive area of 200,000 square metres, it was designed and constructed by the British-born master architect Edwin Lutyens between the years 1919 and 1929. Formerly known as the “Viceroy’s House”, Rashtrapati Bhavan is currently the official presidential palace. With the incumbent president living there, it is only fitting that the majestic structure should garner worldwide fame and attention. With 4 floors and a total of 340 rooms, the structure adheres to the standards of the Delhi Order architectural style. What’s interesting to know about it is that it was built by using over 700 million bricks (and some stone and steel, of course). If that isn’t impressive, we have no idea what is! Oh, and let us not forget about the fact that it was officially the largest residence of a head of state in the world until 2015 (when our next contestant took over).
4. Ak Saray:
Also known as the Presidential Complex, the Ak Saray is the largest palace in Turkey (located in the capital, Ankara) and the fourth-largest in the world. With a total area of 200,020 square metres, it but narrowly outruns the previous contestant. Additionally, as we have already said, it has taken over the “largest presidential residence” award in 2015, when Turkish officials made it the home of their head of state. Located the in Beştepe neighbourhood of the capital, inside Atatürk Forest Farm, Ak Saray boasts with a total number of 1,150 rooms. Costing more than 600 million dollars to build (nearly the double of the initially planned budget), the palace does not falter when it comes to grandeur. What’s interesting to know about it is that its aforementioned cost and lavish interior furnishing garnered it some heavy negative criticism. Some critics have even gone as far as likening it to the fallen fortress of Alamut.
3. Louvre Palace:
Now the Louvre Palace is something that everyone knows. With a total area of 220,000 square metres, it is one of the most important landmarks of the French capital of Paris. Situated proudly on the right bank of the River Seine, between the Tuileries Gardens and the church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, it is but the reincarnation of a medieval fortress affiliated with Charles V. What’s important to know about it is that its construction has one of the most complicated systems in the world. What do we mean by this? Well, it was built in stages from its very first year (1202) until its completion (1989) – the completion itself was marked by the Louvre Pyramid. So, when it comes to architectural styles, we can only say that it is a mix and mash of everything. It has Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Neo-Baroque, Modernist, Napoleon III and Louis XIII styles mixed within its walls. Oh, and do not forget about the Louvre Museum, the second most visited one in the world (beaten only by the Palace Museum of Beijing).
2. Hofburg Palace:
With a massive area of 240,000 metres, Hofburg Palace of Vienna is the runner-up of this competition. Part of the palace is both the residence and the workplace of the incumbent president of Austria but this isn’t even the most majestic side of it. What do we mean by this? Well, Hofburg Palace is known for harbouring some of the most powerful Habsburg monarchs and the subsequent leaders of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Note that this meant only a winter residence, for their summers were usually spent at Schönbrunn Palace. Boasting with a total of 2,600 rooms, the palace has some unmissable points of interest for you to explore such as the Spanish Riding School, the Burgtheatre, museums and even the imperial chapel.
1. Palace of the Parliament:
Covering an insurmountable area of 365,000 square metres, Bucharest’s Palace of the Parliament is not only the largest palace in Romania but also in the world. With a total of 1,100 rooms and 12 stories, it can inspire nothing but awe and gasps. 240 metres long and 270 metres wide, it is the child of 700 architects working under the supervision of Romanian master architect and politician Mira Anca Victoria Mărculeţ Petrescu. The Palace of the Parliament is also the heaviest building in the world and it cost more than 3 billion Euros to build. Its interior has 23 sections and it is lavishly decorated. What’s interesting about it is that it costs more than 6 million dollars to power annually – this is enough to power a small town. The aforementioned aspect has drawn a great deal of criticism from the public and from certain intellectuals. Nevertheless, it is the uncontested winner of our competition and it lies on Arsenal Hill (Dealul Arsenalului) for you to see!
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