| This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2009) </td>
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. The word itself is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome. 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.
The word palace comes from Old French palais (imperial residence), from Latin Palātium, the name of one of the seven hills of Rome. 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 Edit
The earliest known palaces were the royal residences of the Egyptian Pharaohs at Thebes, featuring an outer wall enclosing labyrinthine buildings and courtyards. Other ancient palaces include the Assyrian palaces at Nimrud and Nineveh, the Minoan palace at Knossos, and the Persian palaces at Persepolis and Susa. Palaces in East Asia, such as the imperial palaces of Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, 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.
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 Hernán 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..." 
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.
Also in Mexico City is the Castillo de Chapultepec, or Chapultepec Castle, located in the middle of Chapultepec Park which currently houses the Mexican National Museum of History. It was stormed by the Americans during the Mexican–American War. 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 finest example of Chinese palace is the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of Chinese empire from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is largest palace complex in the world and located in the middle of Beijing, China. The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture. Another example is Summer Palace located in the northern suburb of Beijing and Mukden Palace in Shenyang. The Presidential Palace in Nanjing displays european architecture influences.
The Chinese palace is designed in regular square grids and arranged in formal layout, consisted of main buildings and numbers of pavilions enclosed within walls. Unlike massive single structured european palace or castle, Chinese palace is a multitude of complexes contains several large and smaller structures with parks and courtyards.
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 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.
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.
Portugal is a nation with long history, culture and tradition. 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 is the example of the culture of Portugal. The example of Portugal palaces are Mafra National Palace, Pena National Palace, Belem Palace, Palacio das Necessidades, Palace Hotel of Bussaco, Palacio da Regaleira, and |Palacio da Brejoeira.
The first palaces were built in Russia for about a thousand years ago for the Grand Dukes of Kiev. They were destroyed by the Mongols, and currently they are not preserved. First palaces in European style were built during the reign of tsar Peter the Great and his successors. The example of Russian palaces are, the Palace of Facets (1487-91) in Moscow Kremlin, Tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich Palace (1489) in Uglich, the Kolomensky Wooden Palace (1528—1532) in Kolomenskoye, the Terem Palace (1635-1636) in Moscow Kremlin, the Menshikov Palace (1710—1727) in Saint Petersburg, the Oranienbaum Palace (1710) in Lomonosov, Kikin Hall (1714) in Saint Petersburg, and the Peterhof Palace (1709—1755) in Petergof.
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 Edit
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.)
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. Hearst Castle, the Biltmore Estate, and the White House are examples. Alsol, the ʻIolani Palace is the former home of the Hawaiian monarchy in Honolulu.
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. Built during the socialist regime, no effort or expense was spared to raise this colossal neo-classic building.
See also Edit
be:Палац be-x-old:Палац (пабудова) br:Palez bg:Дворец ca:Palau (arquitectura) cs:Palác da:Palads de:Palast es:Palacio eo:Palaco eu:Jauregi (arkitektura) fr:Palais gl:Palacio xal:Өргә ko:궁전 hr:Palača id:Istana he:ארמון ht:Palè (gwo kay) lt:Rūmai ms:Istana nl:Paleis nds-nl:Paleis ja:宮殿 no:Palass nrm:Palais pl:Pałac pt:Palácio ro:Palat ru:Дворец simple:Palace sk:Palác (reprezentatívna budova) sr:Дворац sh:Palata fi:Palatsi sv:Palats ta:அரண்மனை th:วัง uk:Палац vi:Cung điện bat-smg:Paluocē zh:宮殿