Palace: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop.[1] The word itself is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome.[1] In many parts of Europe, the term is also applied to relatively large urban buildings built as the private mansions of the aristocracy. Many historic palaces are now put to other uses such as parliaments, museums, hotels or office buildings. The word is also sometimes used to describe a lavishly ornate building used for public entertainment or exhibitions.[1]



The word palace comes from Old French palais (imperial residence), from Latin Palātium, the name of one of the seven hills of Rome.[1] The original palaces on the Palatine Hill were the seat of the imperial power, while the capitol on the Capitoline Hill was the seat of the senate and the religious nucleus of Rome. Long after the city grew to the seven hills the Palatine remained a desirable residential area. Emperor Caesar Augustus lived there in a purposely modest house only set apart from his neighbors by the two laurel trees planted to flank the front door as a sign of triumph granted by the Senate. His descendants, especially Nero, with his "Golden House" enlarged the house and grounds over and over until it took up the hill top. The word Palātium came to mean the residence of the emperor rather than the neighbourhood on top of the hill. Since modern times, the term has been applied to any place that is considered "palatial", including those which predated Palātium or were built by Asian cultures.

"Palace" meaning "government" can be recognized in a remark of Paul the Deacon, writing ca 790 and describing events of the 660s: "When Grimuald set out for Beneventum, he entrusted his palace to Lupus" (Historia gentis Langobardorum, V.xvii). At the same time Charlemagne was consciously reviving the Roman expression in his "palace" at Aachen, of which only his chapel remains. In the 9th century the "palace" indicated the housing of the government too, and the constantly-travelling Charlemagne built fourteen. In the early Middle Ages, the Palas remained the seat of government in some German cities. In the Holy Roman Empire the powerful independent Electors came to be housed in palaces (Paläste). This has been used as evidence that power was widely distributed in the Empire, as in more centralized monarchies, only one supreme monarch would be allowed to call their home a palace.

Palaces around the world

The earliest known palaces were the royal residences of the Egyptian Pharaohs at Thebes, featuring an outer wall enclosing labyrinthine buildings and courtyards.[2] Other ancient palaces include the Assyrian palaces at Nimrud and Nineveh, the Minoan palace at Knossos, and the Persian palaces at Persepolis and Susa.[2] Palaces in East Asia, such as the imperial palaces of Korea Thailand Japan and China's Forbidden City, consist of many low pavilions surrounded by vast, walled gardens, in contrast to the single building palaces of Medieval Western Europe.[2]



In France there has been a clear distinction between a château and a palais. The palace has always been urban, like the Palais de la Cité in Paris, which was the royal palace of France and is now the supreme court of justice of France, or the palace of the Popes at Avignon.

The château, by contrast, has always been in rural settings, supported by its demesne, even when it was no longer actually fortified. Speakers of English think of the "Palace of Versailles" because it was the residence of the king of France, and the king was the source of power, though the building has always remained the Château de Versailles for the French, and the seat of government under the Ancien Régime remained the Palais du Louvre. The Louvre had begun as a fortified Château du Louvre on the edge of Paris, but as the seat of government and shorn of its fortified architecture and then completely surrounded by the city, it developed into the Palais du Louvre.

The townhouses of the aristocracy were also palais, although only if fairly grand - the entry level being set rather higher than in Italy. The Hôtel particulier was the term for less grandiose residences. Bishops always had a palais in the town, however their country homes were chateaux.

The usage is essentially the same in Italy, Spain and Portugal, as well as the former Austrian Empire. In Germany, the wider term was a relatively recent importation, and was used rather more restrictively.


India is home to a large number of palaces and vast empires. The history of India is full of numerous dynasties, that have ruled over various parts of the country. India has had, and still has, a large amount of palaces. While most monuments of the ancient period have been destroyed or lie in ruins, some medieval buildings have been maintained well or restored to good condition. Several medieval forts and palaces still stand proud all over India. These magnificent buildings are examples of the great achievements of the architects and engineers of that age. The palaces of India offer an insight into the life of the royalty of the country. While some royal palaces have been maintained as museums or hotels over the last decades, some palaces are still home for the members of the erstwhile royal families. These forts and palaces are the largest illustrations and legacy of the princely states of India.

Floats of flowers in grand fountains, shimmering blue water of magnificent baths and private pools, doric pillars, ornamental brackets, decorative staircases, light streaming in through large windows, India possesses some of the most fascinating forts and palaces, a true royal retreat. It is not just a romantic longing for a royal experience, but also the search for the truly authentic Indian experience that brings thousands of heritage lovers to India's palaces.

Rajasthan has a large number of forts and palaces that are major tourist destinations in North India. The Rajputs (collective term for the rulers of the region) were known as brave soldiers who preferred to die than be taken prisoners. They were also great connoisseurs of art and brilliant builders. The most famous forts and palaces in Rajasthan are located in Chittor, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur , Jaisalmir, Amber and Nahargarh. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces manage some of the most iconic palaces of the region, Lake Palace, Udaipur; Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur; Fort Madhogarh, Jaipur and Rambagh Palace, Jaipur; and offer authentic royal retreats to the guests in all its grandeur, splendor and magnificence.


In Indonesia the palaces are known as Istana (Malay and Indonesian), or Kraton (Javanese and Sundanese). In Bali the royal palace compound is called Puri. The palaces reflects the long history and diverse culture of Indonesian archipelago.

Although Indonesia is now a republic, some parts and provinces in Indonesia still retain and preserve their traditional royal heritage, for example Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Cirebon, and Kutai in East Kalimantan. The remnant of palaces and royal houses still can be found in Banten, Medan, Ternate and Bali.

The layout of traditional Balinese and Javanese kratons is similar to Chinese concept; a walled compounds of royal pavilions, squares and parks. Most of these kratons took forms of wooden pavilions called pendopo. While the istana of Sumatra is usually consist of single large structure. The example of Malay palace is Istana Maimun in Medan.

During VOC and colonial era of Dutch East Indies, the colonial government built several European stately palaces as the residence of the Governor General. Most of these European palaces is now become the state palace of the Republic of Indonesia. Indonesian state palaces are the neoclassic Merdeka Palace and Bogor Palace.


In Italy, any urban building built as a grand residence is a palazzo; these are often no larger than a Victorian townhouse. It was not necessary to be a nobleman to have your house considered a palazzo; the hundreds of palazzi in Venice nearly all belonged to the patrician class of the city. In the Middle Ages these also functioned as warehouses and places of business, as well as homes. Each family's palazzo was a hive that contained all the family members, though it might not always show a grand architectural public front. In the 20th century palazzo in Italian came to apply by extension to any large fine apartment building, as so many old palazzi were converted to this use.

Bishop's townhouses were always palazzi, and the seat of a localized regime would also be so called. Many a small former capital displays its Palazzo Ducale, the seat of government. In Florence and other strong communal governments, the seat of government was the Palazzo della Signoria until in Florence the Medici were made Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Then, when the power center shifted to their residence in Palazzo Pitti, the old center of power began to be called the Palazzo Vecchio.


In Central Mexico, the Aztec Emperors built many palaces in the capital of their empire, Tenochtitlan (modern day Mexico City), some of which may still be seen. On observing the great city Hernan Cortés wrote, "There are, in all districts of this great city, many temples or palaces... They are all very beautiful buildings. Amongst these temples there is one , the principal one, whose great size and magnificence no human tongue could describe,.. All round inside this wall there are very elegant quarters with very large rooms and corridors. There are as many as forty towers, all of which are so high that in the case of the largest there are fifty steps leading up to the main part of it and the most important of these towers is higher than that of the cathedral of Seville..." [3]

Also in Mexico is Chapultepec Castle, or Castillo de Chapultepec, located in the middle of Chapultepec Park in Mexico City which currently houses the Mexican National Museum of History. It is the only castle, or palace, in North America that was occupied by sovereigns - Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, a member of the House of Habsburg and his consort, Empress Carlota of Mexico, daughter of Leopold I of Belgium. The palace features many objets d'art ranging from gifts of Napoleon III's to paintings by Franz Xaver Winterhalter and Mexican painter Santiago Rebull.

The National Palace, or Palacio Nacional, located in Mexico City's main square, the Plaza de la Constitución (El Zócalo), first built in 1563, is in the heart of the Mexican capital. In 1821, the palace was given its current name and the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government were housed in the palace; the latter two branches would eventually reside elsewhere. During the Second Mexican Empire, its name was changed, for a time, to the Imperial Palace. The National Palace continues to be the official seat of the executive authority, although it is no longer the official residence of the President.


Malacañang Palace, or officially, Malacañan Palace,[4] is the official residence of the President of the Philippines. The palace is located along the north bank of the Pasig River in Manila. It is called Palasyo ng Malakanyang in Filipino, and Malacañan Palace when referred to as the official residence of the President of the Philippines, and simply Malacañang when referred to as the office of the president, as well as in everyday parlance and in the media. The palace was made famous as the home of President Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, who were its longest residents, from 1965 to 1986. When President Marcos was deposed in 1986, the palace complex was stormed by the local populace, and the international media subsequently exposed the excesses of the Marcos family, including Mrs. Marcos' infamous collection of thousands of shoes.


Portugal is a nation rich in beauty, history, culture, tradition, and much more. The north, with lush green mountains lined with vineyards, the center, with its rolling hills and plains lined with its many villages, as well as is south, with its Mediterranean plains and whitewashed villages nestled atop the promontories overlooking the great Atlantic are characteristically dotted with palaces like few other nations. From the Douro in the north to the Algarve region of the south, these palatial estates run rampant. The homes of royalty seem to be the perfect example of the beauty and culture that Portugal has to offer.


The National Museum of Art of Romania] (Romanian: Muzeul Naţional de Artă al României) is located in the former royal palace in Revolution Square, Bucharest.


Spain, a cultural and beautiful land also has some palaces of its own. One of these palaces is the Royal Palace of Madrid, also referred to as the Palacio Real. With its decor and design it is definitely a must see when traveling to Madrid or Spain. When you look at the design and style of the Palace you would notice no room is similar; it seems it took thousands of men to design because of all the various styles. Also, this palace just does not reign supreme because not just of its beauty but also its size. The palace is the largest palace in Europe with over 2,800 rooms but at the current time is of use for only governmental business while the royal family resides in the smaller Palacio de la Zarzuela. It is currently the third largest palace in the world behind the Palace of Parliament in Romania and the Istana Nurul Iman of Brunei.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, by tacit agreement, there have been no "palaces" other than those used as official residences by royalty and bishops, regardless of whether located in town or country. However, not all palaces use the term in their name - see Holyrood Palace. Thus the Palace of Beaulieu gained its name precisely when Thomas Boleyn sold it to Henry VIII in 1517; previously it had been known as Walkfares. But like several other palaces, the name stuck even once the royal connection ended. Blenheim Palace was built, on a different site, in the grounds of the disused royal Palace of Woodstock, and the name was also part of the extraordinary honour when the house was given by a grateful nation to a great general. (Along with several royal and episcopal palaces in the countryside, Blenheim does demonstrate that "palace" has no specific urban connotations in English.)

United States of America


The Palacio Legislativo (Legislative Palace), is the house of the Uruguayan Parliament.


There are buildings or mansions in the United States, not quite called "palaces", that have the grandeur of a typical palace, and which have been used as residences. The Hearst Castle, Biltmore Estate, and the White House are examples.

On the continent of Europe, these royal and episcopal palaces were not merely residences; the clerks who administered the realm or the diocese labored there as well. (To this day many bishops' palaces house both their family apartments and their official offices.) However, unlike the "Palais du Justice" which is often encountered in the French-speaking world, modern British public administration buildings are never called "palaces"; although the formal name for the "Houses of Parliament" is the Palace of Westminster, this reflects Westminster's former role as a royal residence and centre of administration.

In more recent years, the word has been used in a more informal sense for other large, impressive buildings, such as The Crystal Palace of 1851 (an immensely large, glazed hall erected for The Great Exhibition) and modern arenas-convention centers like Alexandra Palace.

The largest in the world is Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, Romania[citation needed]. Built during the socialist regime, no effort or expense was spared to raise this colossal neo-classic building.

For the household staff of palaces, see great house.


  1. ^ a b c d American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0618082301. 
  2. ^ a b c Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster. 2000. ISBN 0877790175. 
  3. ^ Mexico-Tenochtitlan: Ancient City
  4. ^ Office of the President website

See also

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
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From Wikisource

The Palace
by Rudyard Kipling
First published in The Five Nations (1903).

When I was a King and a Mason — a Master proven and skilled —
I cleared me ground for a Palace such as a King should build.
I decreed and dug down to my levels. Presently, under the silt,
I came on the wreck of a Palace such as a King had built.

There was no worth in the fashion — there was no wit in the plan —
Hither and thither, aimless, the ruined footings ran —
Masonry, brute, mishandled, but carven on every stone:
"After me cometh a Builder. Tell him, I too have known."

Swift to my use in my trenches, where my well-planned ground-works grew,
I tumbled his quoins and his ashlars, and cut and reset them anew.
Lime I milled of his marbles; burned it, slacked it, and spread;
Taking and leaving at pleasure the gifts of the humble dead.

Yet I despised not nor gloried; yet, as we wrenched them apart,
I read in the razed foundations the heart of that builder's heart.
As he had risen and pleaded, so did I understand
The form of the dream he had followed in the face of the thing he had planned.

                                   *      *      *      *      *      *      *      
When I was a King and a Mason — in the open noon of my pride,
They sent me a Word from the Darkness. They whispered and called me aside.
They said — "The end is forbidden." They said — "Thy use is fulfilled."
"Thy Palace shall stand as that other's — the spoil of a King who shall build."

I called my men from my trenches, my quarries, my wharves, and my sheers.
All I had wrought I abandoned to the faith of the faithless years.
Only I cut on the timber — only I carved on the stone:
"After me cometh a Builder. Tell him, I too have known!"

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1936, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

1911 encyclopedia

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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Used now only of royal dwellings, although originally meaning simply (as the Latin word palatium, from which it is derived, shows) a building surrounded by a fence or a paling. In the Authorized Version there are many different words so rendered, presenting different ideas, such as that of citadel or lofty fortress or royal residence (Neh 1:1; Dan 8:2). It is the name given to the temple fortress (Neh 2:8) and to the temple itself (1Chr 29:1). It denotes also a spacious building or a great house (Dan 1:4; 4:4, 29: Est 1:5; 7:7), and a fortified place or an enclosure (Ezek 25:4). Solomon's palace is described in 1 Kg 7:1-12 as a series of buildings rather than a single great structure. Thirteen years were spent in their erection. This palace stood on the eastern hill, adjoining the temple on the south.

In the New Testament it designates the official residence of Pilate or that of the high priest (Mt 26:3, 58, 69; Mk 14:54, 66; Jn 18:15). In Phil 1:13 this word is the rendering of the Greek praitorion, meaning the praetorian cohorts at Rome (the life-guard of the Caesars). Paul was continually chained to a soldier of that corps (Acts 28:16), and hence his name and sufferings became known in all the praetorium. The "soldiers that kept" him would, on relieving one another on guard, naturally spread the tidings regarding him among their comrades. Some, however, regard the praetroium (q.v.) as the barrack within the palace (the palatium) of the Caesars in Rome where a detachment of these praetorian guards was stationed, or as the camp of the guards placed outside the eastern walls of Rome.

"In the chambers which were occupied as guard-rooms," says Dr. Manning, "by the praetorian troops on duty in the palace, a number of rude caricatures are found roughly scratched upon the walls, just such as may be seen upon barrack walls in every part of the world. Amongst these is one of a human figure nailed upon a cross. To add to the 'offence of the cross,' the crucified one is represented with the head of an animal, probably that of an ass. Before it stands the figure of a Roman legionary with one hand upraised in the attitude of worship. Underneath is the rude, misspelt, ungrammatical inscription, Alexamenos worships his god. It can scarcely be doubted that we have here a contemporary caricature, executed by one of the praetorian guard, ridiculing the faith of a Christian comrade."

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

A palace is a place with a grand and imposing building that is the official residence of a king or queen, a head of state such as a president, or a high-ranking aristocrat or church dignitary.

Besides, it can mean a large building for entertainment: a large public or private building with an imposing ornate style, used for entertainment or exhibitions and large events.


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