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Old January 3rd, 2011, 02:32 PM   #1
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Royal castles and palaces in Europe

Poland

Wawel castle in Kraków

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Cracow (about 228 m above see level) was formed about 150 million years ago. Situated on the bank of the Vistula river, surrounded by waters and marshes, the hill provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century.

Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight.

Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.

In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislanie tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Mieszko I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslaw the Brave (992-1025) and Mieszko II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Cracow was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslaw the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslaw the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Cracow was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Cracow along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.

The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek.

The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buoanccorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo Berecci of Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Cracow only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Cracow (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank.

Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.

































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Old January 3rd, 2011, 02:59 PM   #2
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Poland

Royal castle in Warsaw

History:

At the end of 13th century, during the Duke's Conrad II of Mazovia reign, the wooden-earthen gord called Smaller Manor (Latin: Curia Minor) was built. The following duke, Casimir I, decided to build here the first brick building at the burg-city's area the Great Tower (Latin: Turris Magna). Between 1407 and 1410, Janusz I of Warsaw built a storeyed gothic brick castle, called Bigger Manor (Latin: Curia Maior). From 1526 (when the last Masovian Dukes - Stanislaus I and Janusz III died) it became the Royal Residence.

Royal Castle was rebuilt in the years 1589-1619 for the King Sigmund III Vasa, from the Swedish dynasty of Vasa, ruling Poland at the time. Italian architects Giovanni Trevano, Giacomo Rodondo, Paolo del Corte, Mateo Castelli incorporated the old gothic castle of the Mazovian Princes into a new early baroque structure, imposing itself upon the bank of the river Vistula.

Royal Castle was further rebuilt by the Polish Kings - August III Strong from the Saxon dynasty and Stanislaw August Poniatowski in the 18th century. The castle has been in the 18th century the seat of both chambers of Polish parliament – Sejm. It is also here, that during the November Uprising, in 1831 Polish Sejm removed Tsar of Russia Nicholas I from the Polish throne. Russians rebuilt the castle in the years afterwards, demolishing Sejm halls, trying to uproot all traces of Polish democracy. After the 1918 in the independent Poland the President of the country had an office at the castle. Germans have destroyed the Royal Castle in Warsaw during the WW II.
The castle was rebuilt in 70's and 80's.

Some facts:

The personal offices of the king and the administrative offices of the Royal Court of Poland were located there from the 16th century until the Partitions of Poland. In its long history the Royal Castle was repeatedly devastated and plundered by Swedish, Brandenburgian, German, and Russian armies.

The Constitution of May 3, 1791, Europe's first modern codified national constitution, as well as the second-oldest national constitution in the world, was drafted here by the Four-Year Sejm.

Between 1926 and World War II the palace was the seat of the Polish president, Ignacy Mościcki. After the devastation of World War II it was rebuilt and reconstructed.



























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Old January 4th, 2011, 06:10 AM   #3
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beautiful photos, although I know the history fairly well, didn't know that the ancient coronation sword, szczerbiec survived the last war. thanks and happy new year.
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Warsaw Post-War Reconstruction to Present
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Old January 4th, 2011, 08:21 AM   #4
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Beautiful....
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Old January 4th, 2011, 12:57 PM   #5
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quirinale's palace.

The Quirinal Palace (known in Italian as the Palazzo del Quirinale or simply the Quirinale) is the current official residence of the President of the Italian Republic. It is located on the Quirinal Hill, the tallest of the seven hills of Rome, and is one of the most important palaces of Rome, for its historical, political and artistic features. It housed thirty popes, four kings and eleven presidents of the Italian Republic.







the interior:

corazzieri's salon


paolo V's chapel


party's salon


zodiac's room





mirror's room



the spiral staircase of mascarino





the piffetti's library


the loggia og honor




the yellow room



the season's room


ercole's room



the room of tapestries



chapel of annunziata



THE GARDENS


the coffee house









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Old January 4th, 2011, 01:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanista1 View Post
although I know the history fairly well, didn't know that the ancient coronation sword, szczerbiec survived the last war. thanks and happy new year.
from wikipedia:

Szczerbiec is the coronation sword that was used in crowning ceremonies of most kings of Poland from 1320 to 1764.

It is currently on display in the treasure vault of the Royal Wawel Castle in Kraków as the only preserved piece of Polish Crown Jewels. The sword is characterized by a hilt decorated with kabbalistic formulas, Christian symbols and floral patterns, as well as a narrow slit in the blade which holds a small shield with the coat of arms of Poland. Its name, derived from the Polish word szczerba meaning a gap, notch or chip, is sometimes rendered into English as "the Notched Sword" or "the Jagged Sword", although its blade has straight and smooth edges.

A legend links the Szczerbiec with King Boleslaus the Brave who was said to have chipped the sword by hitting it against the Golden Gate of Kiev (now in Ukraine) during his capture of the city in 1018. However, the sword is actually dated to the late 12th or 13th century, and was first used as a coronation sword by Vladislaus the Elbow-High in 1320. Looted by Prussian troops in 1795, it changed hands several times during the 19th century until it was purchased in 1884 for the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The Soviet Union returned it to Poland in 1928. During World War II, the Szczerbiec was evacuated to Canada and did not return to Kraków until 1959.



more in these articles :

http://wiadomosci.dziennik.pl/wydarz...zczerbiec.html

http://wiadomosci.dziennik.pl/wydarz...do-kanady.html



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Old January 4th, 2011, 06:14 PM   #7
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Poland

Wilanów palace in Warsaw

The history of the Wilanow Palace, a wonderful Baroque royal residence, began on April 23, 1677, when a village (now part of Warsaw) became the property of Polish King John Sobieski III.

At the beginning, the residence built there was small. Augustyn Locci, the king’s court architect, received the task of creating only a ground floor residence of a layout typical for the buildings of the Republic of Poland. However, military successes and an increase of the importance of royalty in the coming years had a huge influence on expanding the initial project.

Huge construction works were conducted in the years 1677-1696. After completion, the building comprised of elements of a nobility house, an Italian garden villa and a French palace in the style of Louis XIV. After the death of the King, the Palace became the property of his sons, and in 1720, a run down property was purchased by one of the wealthiest women in Poland of those days – Elizabeth Sieniawska. In 1730, the Palace, for three years, was owned by king August II the Strong, who made considerable changes in the residence, particularly as far as the internal décor is concerned.

In the middle of 18th century, the Wilanów property was inherited by the daughter of Czartoryski, wife of a field marshal, Izabela Lubomirska, during whose reign, Wilanów started shining with its previous glory. Sixty nine years later, the Duchess gave Wilanów to her daughter and her husband, Stanislaw Kostka Potocki. Thanks to his efforts, one of the first museums in Poland was opened in the Wilanów Palace, in 1805.





































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Old January 5th, 2011, 06:34 AM   #8
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Belvedere Palace - Vienna, Austria

Quote:
The extensive Belvedere complex consists of two magnificent Baroque palaces the Upper and Lower Belvedere, the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. The buildings are set in a stunning Baroque park landscape in the 3rd district of Vienna, south-east of the city centre. It houses the Belvedere museum. The grounds are set on a gentle gradient and include decorative tiered fountains and cascades, Baroque sculptures, and majestic wrought iron gates. The Baroque palace complex was built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Belvedere was built during a period of much construction in Vienna, which at the time was both the imperial capital and home to the ruling dynasty. Many of the city's most opulent edifices date from this era. The buildings commissioned by Prince Eugene, in particular the Belvedere, number among them.
UPPER BELVEDERE











LOWER BELVEDERE









GARDENS



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Old January 5th, 2011, 06:35 AM   #9
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Peles Castle - Sinaia, Romania

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The first architect was the German Johannes Schultz (1876–1883), later to be followed by Karel Liman, who was more easily swayed to enhance the castle after King Carol's plans. Later additions were made between 1893 and 1914 by the Czech architect Karel Liman, who added designed the towers, including the main central tower, 66 m in height.
By form and function, Peleş is truly a palace but affectionately and consistently called a castle instead, by all. Its architectural style is a Neo-Renaissance of romantic inspiration that can find a correspondent in 19th century ideals with the monumental Gothic Revival of Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, ironically called a castle as well. A Saxon influence can be observed in the interior courtyard facades that have rich and ornate fachwerk similar to northern Europe alpine architecture and allegorical hand painted murals. Interior decoration is mostly a Baroque influence with heavy carved woods and exquisite fabrics.

The collection of arms and armour has over 4000 pieces.
Peleş Castle has 3200 sq. meters of floor plan, over 170 rooms,30 bathrooms, many with dedicated themes from world cultures (in similar fashion with other Romanian palaces, like Cotroceni Palace for example), themes that can vary by function (offices, libraries, armouries, art galleries) or by style (Florentine, Turkish, Moorish, French, Imperial) all extremely lavishly furnished and decorated to the slightest detail. The establishment hosts one of the finest collections of art in East and Central Europe, consisting of statues, paintings, furniture, arms and armour, gold, silver, stained glass, ivory, fine china, tapestries and rugs; the collection of arms and armour has over 4000 pieces, divided between Eastern and Western war, ceremonial or hunting spreading over four centuries in history. Oriental rugs come from the finest sources: Bukhara, Mosul, Isparta, Saruk and Smirna, porcelain from Sčvres and Meissen, leather from Córdoba but perhaps the most acclaimed are the hand painted stained glass vitralios, mostly Swiss .






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Old January 8th, 2011, 10:18 PM   #10
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Czech Republic

Prague Castle is a castle in Prague where the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept here.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world with an area of almost 70000 m˛, being 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide.











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Old January 8th, 2011, 10:34 PM   #11
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Aaaar, really nice! Krakau makes me jealous
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Old January 12th, 2011, 12:24 PM   #12
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as beautifully


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прокси
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Old January 19th, 2011, 06:38 PM   #13
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Hungary

Buda castle in Budapest

Buda Castle is the historical castle complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, Hungary, first completed in 1265. In the past, it was also called Royal Palace (Hungarian: Királyi-palota) and Royal Castle (Hungarian: Királyi Vár).

Buda Castle was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill, surrounded by what is known as the Castle District (Hun: Várnegyed), famous for its Medieval, Baroque and 19th century living quarters and public buildings. It is linked to Adam Clark Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge by the Castle Hill Funicular.

Buda Castle is part of the Budapest World Heritage Site, declared in 1987.

The first royal residence on the Castle Hill was built by King Béla IV between 1247 and 1265.

The oldest part of the present-day palace was built in the 14th century by Prince Stephen, Duke of Slavonia.

After the Battle of Mohács the medieval Kingdom of Hungary collapsed. On 29 August 1541 Buda was occupied again by the Ottomans without any resistance. The Hungarian capital became part of the Ottoman Empire as the seat of the Eyalet of Budin.

The new Ottoman government left the palace decaying. It was partially used as barracks, a storage place and stables, otherwise it stood empty.

The medieval palace was destroyed in the great siege of 1686 when Buda was captured by the allied Christian forces. In the heavy artillery bombardment many buildings collapsed and burned out.

In 1715 King Charles III ordered the demolition of the ruins. Luckily the southern fortifications, zwingers and rooms were only buried under tons of rubbish and earth.

In 1715 a small Baroque palace was built which is identical with the core of the present-day palace.

In 1748 Count Antal Grassalkovich, President of the Hungarian Chamber appealed to the public to finish the derelict palace by means of public subscription. The new Royal Palace became the symbol of peace and friendship between the Habsburg dynasty and the nation.

The plans of the splendid, U-shaped Baroque palace with a cour d'honneur were drawn by Jean Nicolas Jadot, chief architect of the Viennese court. They were later modified by his successor, Nicolaus Pacassi. The foundation stone of the palace was laid on 13 May 1749. In 1769 the palace was finished.

In 1791 the palace became the residence of the Habsburg Palatines of the Kingdom of Hungary. The palatinal court in Buda Castle was the centre of fashionable life and high society in the Hungarian capital.

On 4 May 1849 the Hungarian revolutionary army of Artúr Görgey laid siege on Buda Castle. The Hungarians captured Buda with a great assault, but the palace completely burned out.

The palace was soon rebuilt between 1850 and 1856. Later in 1867 after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 Franz Joseph was crowned to the king of Hungary. The palace played an important part in the lavish ceremony, symbolizing peace between the dynasty and the nation.

In the last decades of the 19th century the autonomous Hungarian government intended to create a royal palace that matches any famous European royal residence. The process of rebuilding lasted about forty years between 1875 and 1912, and caused sweeping changes in topography of the whole area.

The new Royal Palace, designed by Alajos Hauszmann, was officially inaugurated in 1912. Contemporary critics praised it as the most outstanding Hungarian building of the turn of the century. Indeed it was a magnificent Gesamtkunstwerk of architecture, sculpture, applied arts and gardening.

After the 1918 revolution and the dethronization of the Habsburg dynasty the Royal Palace became the seat of the new regent of the Kingdom of Hungary, Miklós Horthy

Buda Castle was the last major strongpoint of Budapest held by Axis forces during the siege of Budapest between 29 December 1944 and 13 February 1945. Heavy fights and artillery fire rendered the palace once again into a heap of ruins.

Immediately after the war archeological research was begun to unearth the remains of the medieval castle. It came out that important parts of the former Sigismund and Matthias palace survived under the thick level of earth fill.

The grand-scale reconstruction of the medieval fortifications substantially changed the cityscape of Budapest. It is considered a highly successful project which managed to reconcile historical authenticity with urban planning demands.

The fate of the ruined Neo-Baroque palace was different. The new Communist government of Hungary considered the Royal Palace a symbol of the former regime. During the 1950s the palace was gutted and all the interiors were destroyed. Important exterior details were also demolished. Buda Castle became a cultural centre with three museums and the home of the National Széchényi Library.

The modernist dome was designed by Lajos Hidasi in 1961. The palace was rebuilt by 1966 but the interior spaces were completed only in the 1980s.







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Old January 20th, 2011, 06:09 PM   #14
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Slovakia


Bratislava castle

Bratislava Castle is the main castle of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

The massive rectangular building with four corner towers stands on a quite isolated rocky hill of the Little Carpathians directly above the Danube river in the middle of Bratislava. It is an outstanding feature of the city.

It provides an excellent view of Bratislava, of Austria and, when there is good weather, of Hungary. Many legends are connected with the history of the castle.

The castle building includes 4 towers (one on each corner) and a courtyard with an 80 m deep water well. The biggest tower is the Crown Tower in the south-east from the 13th century, which housed the crown jewels (see History). The outside walls and inside corridors contain fragments of old Gothic and Renaissance construction elements. To the east of the main entrance, one can see the walled up entrance gate from the 16th century. Behind the entrance, there is an arcade corridor and then the big Baroque staircase, which leads to the expositions of the Slovak National Museum. The left part of the southern part of the building houses the 4 halls of the Treasure Chamber (opened in 1988) with a collection of the most precious archaeological findings and other objects found in Slovakia, including the prehistoric statute called the Venus of Moravany. The 3rd floor houses the exposition History of Slovakia. The 1st floor in the southern part of the building houses the rooms of Slovak parliament - the National Council of the Slovak Republic - including parts of furniture from the 16th century. The northern part of the building- the former Baroque chapel, houses the Music Hall in which concerts are held. The court yard includes the entrance to the Knights Hall.

The construction of a new castle of stone started in the 10th century, but it was not finished. Under King Stephen I of Hungary (1000–1038), however, the castle was already one of the central castles of the Kingdom of Hungary. It became the seat of Pozsony county and protected the kingdom against Bohemian (Czech) and German attacks (e.g. in 1030, 1042, 1052, 1108, 1146) and played an important role in throne struggles in the Kingdom of Hungary (e.g. struggles after the death of King Stephen I). In 1052 Henry III tried to occupy the castle. According to Hungarian tradition Zothmund a Hungarian soldier, swam to the ships of the invading fleet to drill holes in them, and they were sunk. King Solomon of Hungary had lived here until he was taken to the jail of Nyitra according to Ladislaus I's order. At the same time the old rampart was modernized and the Church of the St. Savior with a chapter and a church school were added. Stephen III of Hungary escaped from his enemies to the castle almost 100 years later.

The castle was turned into a proto-Romanesque palace of stone in the 12th century (probably after 1179), maybe because King Béla III (1173–1196) decided to make Esztergom the definitive seat of kings of the Kingdom of Hungary. It was a palace similar to those constructed in Germany under Friedrich Barbarossa. In 1182 Friedrich Barbarossa gathered his crusader army under the castle. The church institutions and building at the castle were moved to the town below the castle in the early 12th century.

The well-fortified Pressburg Castle was among the few castles of the Kingdom of Hungary to be able to withstand Mongol attacks in 1241 and 1242. As a reaction to these attacks, a huge "tower for the protection of the kingdom" was constructed at the castle building in 1245 immediately next to two older palaces. The tower was actually a huge high residential building. In addition, 7 (genuine) square towers were built into the old rampart and a stone wall was added around the castle proper (i.e. the residential building). The biggest of the rampart towers was at the same time a corner tower of the stone wall. Today it is a part of the castle building - it is identical with the present-day "Crown tower", which is the biggest one of today's four towers of the castle building. It was probably built around 1250 when Knights of St. John were active at the castle.

On 25 October in 1265 the Czech King , Přemysl Otakar and the Hungarian King Béla IV. 's grandchild Kunigunde, were engaded here. Andrew II and Gertrude's daughter, Elisabeth was born here. The new castle had to face further conflicts. In 1271, King Otakar II of Bohemia invaded the territory of today's western Slovakia and charged the knight Egid with the administration of the conquered castle. Egid rebelled against Otakar two years later and was defeated by Otakar, but due to problems in Bohemia, Otakar had to leave this territory. In 1285-86, the noble Nicholas of Güssing (Kysak/Köszeg) occupied the castle in order to use it as a basis for a rebellion against the Hungarian king, but he was defeated. Shortly afterwards, 1287–1291, the Austrian duke Albert of Habsburg, supporting Nicholas, occupied the castle, but was defeated by Matthew Csák, who was made county head of Pozsony county for this. A more or less successful Austrian occupation of the castle and the county occurred in 1302-1312/1322 by duke Rudolf.

In 1536 (de facto already in 1531), after the Turks (the Ottoman Empire) had conquered present-day Hungary, Pressburg became the capital (seat of the Diet and of central authorities, place of coronations) of the remaining Kingdom of Hungary, which was renamed Royal Hungary and was ruled by the Austrian Habsburgs now. Consequently, Pressburg Castle became the most important royal castle and the formal seat of the kings of Royal Hungary (who however resided in Vienna normally). At the same time, from the beginning of the 16th century, Pressburg and its castle had to face various anti-Habsburg uprisings in Royal Hungary on the territory of Slovakia. For example, troops of Gabriel Bethlen occupied the castle between 1619 and 1621, when it was reconquered by imperial (=Austrian) troops, and had the royal crown removed from Pressburg Castle till 1622. Between 1671 and 1677, Pressburg Castle was home to an extraordinary court against the Protestants and participants of anti-Habsburg uprisings. Imre Thököly, the leader of another big anti-Habsburg uprising, failed to conquer the castle in 1682-83.

The office of governor of the Kingdom of Hungary was re-abolished in 1781 by the new king Joseph II , and Albert of Sachsen-Teschen left the castle and took many parts of the equipment away. The (present-day Albertina Gallery) art collection went partly to Vienna, partly to Belgium, where Albert became a new governor. Other objects moved mostly to Vienna. In 1783, Pressburg ceased to be the seat of central authorities of the kingdom. They were moved to Buda (now Budapest). The crown jewels of the Kingdom of Hungary were moved to the Hofburg in Vienna.

In 1784, the Theresianum, some other secondary buildings of the site, and the gardens were adapted, because the castle became a "general seminary", which was a type of state school for Catholic priests introduced by Joseph II. The general seminary of Pressburg Castle played an important role in Slovakia's history, because it has educated many important Slovak intellectuals, for example Anton Bernolák, the author of the first successful codification of a Slovak standard language.

In 1802, the general seminary moved to another place, and the castle was assigned to the military as barracks. This was the beginning of the end of the castle. The rococo interiors of the castle were adapted in order to house some 1500 soldiers. In 1809, the Pressburg and the castle was bombarded by canons by Napoleon troops. On 28 May 1811, the castle burst into huge flames due to carelessness of Austrian and Italian soldiers in the castle. The fire even spread into parts of the town.

Since 1968, the castle has been housing exhibitions of the Slovak National Museum and at the same time its rooms have been used by the National Council of the Slovak Republic (today the National Council of the Slovak Republic) for presentation purposes. In 1992, the castle housed a branch-office of the Czechoslovak president temporarily and later in the 1990s the Slovak president temporarily. It still houses the museum and the presentation rooms for the National Council of the Slovak Republic and for the president. A new restoration has been planned for years, because since 1968 (except for adding the Hillebrandt building) only minor adaptations have been performed, such as the 1988 creation of the Treasure Chamber, the 1995 replacement of glass in the arcades of the solemn staircase, and the 1996-97 complete repair of the roof. The last minor adaptations occurred on the occasion of the Bush-Putin Bratislava summit in February 2005.











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Old January 26th, 2011, 04:39 PM   #15
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Lithuania

Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in Vilnius

The Royal Palace of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Valdovų rūmai) was a palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, built in the 15th century for the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Royal Palace in the Lower Castle evolved over the years and prospered during the 16th and mid-17th centuries. For four centuries the Palace was the political, administrative and cultural center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It was demolished in 1801. A new palace has been under construction since 2002 on the site of the original building. The partially completed palace was opened on 6 July 2009.

In the 13th and 14th centuries there were stone structures within the palace site; some archeologists believe that a wooden palace stood there as well. The stone Royal Palace was built in the 15th century, apparently after the major fire in 1419. The existing stone buildings and defensive structures of the Lower Castle, which blocked the construction, were demolished. The Royal Palace was built in Gothic style. The Keep of the Upper Castle, as well as the Royal Palace, were meant to host the coronation of Vytautas the Great. The Gothic palace had three wings; research suggests that it was a two-story building with a basement.

The Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander, who later became King of Poland, moved his residence to the Royal Palace, where he met with ambassadors. He ordered the renovation of the palace. After his marriage to a daughter of Moscow's Grand Duke Ivan III, the royal couple lived and died in the palace.

Sigismund I the Old, after his ascension to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, conducted his affairs in the Royal Palace as well as in Vilnius Cathedral. During the rule of Sigismund I the palace was greatly expanded, to meet new needs of the Grand Duke – another wing was added, as well as a third floor; the gardens were also extended. By contemporary accounts the palace was worth 100,000 ducats. The palace reconstruction plan was probably prepared by Italian architect Bartolomeo Berrecci da Pontassieve, who also designed several other projects in the Kingdom of Poland. In this palace Sigismund the Old welcomed an emissary from the Holy Roman Empire, who introduced Sigismund to Bona Sforza, his second wife, in 1517.

Sigismund's son Sigismund II Augustus was crowned Grand Duke of Lithuania in the Royal Palace. Augustus carried on with palace development and lived there with his first wife Elisabeth of Austria, daughter of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. She was buried in the Vilnius Cathedral. Sigismund II's second wife, Barbara Radziwill, also lived in the palace. According to contemporary accounts of the Holy See's emissary, the Royal Palace at that time contained more treasures than the Vatican. Sigismund II also assembled one of the largest collection of books and tapestries in Europe.

The palace was remodeled in the Renaissance style in the 16th century. The plan was prepared by several Italian architects, including Giovanni Cini da Siena, Bernardino de Gianotis Zanobi, and others. The palace was visited by Ippolito Aldobrandini, who later became Pope Clement VIII. Another major development took place during the reign of the Vasa family. The Royal Palace was refurbished in early Baroque style during the rule of Sigismund III Vasa. Matteo Castello, Giacopo Tencalla, and other artists participated in the 17th century renovation.

During the rule of Vasas, several notable ceremonies took place in the palace, including the wedding of Duke John, who later became King John III of Sweden, and Sigismund Augustus' sister Catherine. The first opera in Lithuania was staged in the palace in 1634. Marco Scacchi and Virgilio Puccitelli were the opera's impresarios.

After the Russian invasion in 1655, the state began weakening, and that negatively affected the Royal Palace. In August 1655, Vilnius was captured by the Muscovite army. The Polish-Lithuanian army recaptured the city six years later, by which time the palace had been destroyed by fire. The palace was greatly damaged and its treasures were plundered. After the recapture of the city of Vilnius in 1660-1661, the palace was no longer a suitable state residence, and stood abandoned for about 150 years. In the late 18th century, after the fall of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, several families lived in parts of the ruined palace. Soon after the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was incorporated into Tsarist Russia, Tsarist officials ordered the demolition of the remaining sections of the Royal Palace. The Palace was almost completely demolished in 1801, the bricks and stones were sold, and the site was bowered.

Only a small portion of the walls up to the second floor survived, that were sold to a Jewish merchant Abraham Schlossberg around 1800 who incorporated them into his residential house. After the 1831 uprising, the czarist government expelled Schlossberg and took over the building as it was building a fortress beside it. Before the Second World War it was the office of the Lithuanian Army, during the World War II it was the office of the German Army, and after WWII it was used by Soviet security structures and later transformed into the Palace of Pioneers. Fragments of Schlossberg's house have become part of the Eastern Wing of the restored Royal Palace.

A new palace has been under construction since 2002 on the site of the original building. The Royal Palace was officially opened during the celebration of the millennium of the name of Lithuania in 2009, although not yet completed due to the lack of necessary funding.











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Old January 27th, 2011, 04:39 PM   #16
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Wawel, Hradcany and Buda Castle are something special! Belvedere in Vienna too is a lovely palace. Isn't Schobrunn (sp?) a royal residence also?
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Old September 18th, 2011, 04:23 PM   #17
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Turin (Italy)
Royal Palace
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Old October 8th, 2011, 08:35 AM   #18
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Old October 10th, 2011, 02:14 AM   #19
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amazing stuff...can't wait to see contributions from England, Scotland, Germany, Spain etc...
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Old October 17th, 2011, 01:52 PM   #20
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Fort De Gula Romania


The legend of ancient royal castle in Europe
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