We all love fairytales and palaces. The Old Europe is rich in both, the later ones still standing and telling the stories of times gone. Many of them are nowadays converted in museums and tourist attraction, so their story goes on even in the modern days. We would like to share 5 European palaces with you, more or less known, each with its own unique beauty and glimpse of the past:
1.Belvedere, Vienna: this Baroque palatal complex was commissioned by Prince Eugene of Austria and was built by the famous architect Hildebrandt. There are two palaces, the Lower and the Upper and the Palace Stables, all surrounded by most wondrous gardens and hedge mazes. Today, Belvedere is an art gallery, dedicated mostly to the work of Austrian painters, from the middle Ages to contemporary times. Both the art exhibition and its fabulous gardens filled with fountains are a must-see while in Vienna;
2.Versailles, France: the building of this colossal palace took the work of three architects and 4 building phases. It was a luxurious undertaking of several French kings, each adding more to the building complex and its labyrinth of gardens. It was the royal residence up to the French revolution in late 18th century and then, its power was resurrected by Napoleon. Today, Versailles serves both as an art museum , but also holds its political power: members of the Senate assembly there, as well foreign politicians are regaled in its Hall of Mirrors;
3.Mont-Saint Michel, Normandy: the history of this small castle built on the rocks of a river island starts in the Early Middle Ages, where a monastery was built on the hilltop. The Abbey gets its Romanesque layout by an Italian architect, who designed the tall walls of the church dangling above the edge. The surrounding buildings, fortifications and towers were added later on. Once a famous pilgrimage place, now it is a major tourist attraction and UNESCO-protected cultural site.
4.Buda Castle, Hungary: as it names says, the castle is located on the Buda part of the city, in the UNESCO-protected area known as Castle District. The castle was the royal palace for the Hungarian kings. The first layout of the castle was built in the middle of 13th century, yet it was not preserved in today’s layout; the oldest remnants are dated to the 14th century and built by Duke Stephen. This the period when the famous Stephen Tower was built. It was a magnificent edifice of the Gothic style and in a period, it housed the Turkish nobility after the Ottoman conquest in 16th century. Today, it houses the Hungarian National Gallery.
5.Castle Cerveny Kamen, Slovakia: the “Red Rock” Castle may not be as famous as the other palaces, but it is no less astonishing. It was built in 13th century by the noble family of Palffy, whose members wielded lots of military and political power through the history of Slovakia. The Castle was in the ownership of the family up to the World War II. Now, it is a museum with tours open for the visitors-each of the 4 floors is refurnished in original furniture from different time periods of the family’s existence. To be honest, its medieval hall with a high fireplace and the array of weaponry on display looks like take directly from Game of Thrones scene.