Today marks the first day of a new series, Must See Royal Palaces. I have compiled lists from 6 continents, however some of them are not necessarily "Royal Palaces" but rather they are government buildings or they are places where royalty stays when they are in town. For today we are going to cover Asia, I have made a list of 5 different palaces in various countries.
Taj Mahal; Agra, India
The Taj Mahal is an enormous mausoleum complex commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his beloved wife. Constructed over a 20-year period on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, India, the famed complex is one of the most outstanding examples of Mughal architecture, which combined Indian, Persian and Islamic influences. At its center is the Taj Mahal itself, built of shimmering white marble that seems to change color depending on the daylight. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, it remains one of the world’s most celebrated structures and a stunning symbol of India’s rich history.
Imperial Palace; Tokyo, Japan
The current Imperial Palace (皇居, Kōkyo) is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo, a short walk from Tokyo Station. It is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family. Edo Castle used to be the seat of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867. In 1868, the shogunate was overthrown, and the country's capital and Imperial Residence were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. In 1888 construction of a new Imperial Palace was completed. The palace was once destroyed during World War Two, and rebuilt in the same style, afterwards. From Kokyo Gaien, the large plaza in front of the Imperial Palace, visitors can view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. The stone bridge in front is called Meganebashi (Eyeglass Bridge) for its looks. The bridge in the back was formerly a wooden bridge with two levels, from which the name Nijubashi (Double Bridge) is derived.
The Royal Palace; Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The Royal Palace, in Chey Chumneas, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia. Its full name in the Khmer language is Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol. The Kings of Cambodia have occupied it since it was built in the 1860s, with a period of absence when the country came into turmoil during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge. The palace was constructed between 1866 and 1870, after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh. It was built atop an old citadel called Banteay Kev. It faces approximately East and is situated at the Western bank of the cross division of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River called Chaktomuk (an allusion to Brahma). The establishment of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh in 1866 is a comparatively recent event in the history of the Khmer and Cambodia. The seat of Khmer power in the region rested in or near Angkor north of the Great Tonle Sap Lake from 802 AD until the early 15th century. After the Khmer court moved from Angkor in the 15th century after destroyed by Siam, it first settled in Phnom Penh which back then named as Krong Chatomok Serei Mongkol in 1434 (or 1446) and stayed for some decades, but by 1494 had moved on to Basan, and later Longvek and then Oudong. The capital did not return to Phnom Penh until the 19th century and there is no record or remnants of any Royal Palace in Phnom Penh prior to the 19th century. In 1813, King Ang Chan (1796–1834) constructed Banteay Kev (the 'Crystal Citadel') on the site of the current Royal Palace and stayed there very briefly before moving to Oudong. Banteay Kev was burned in 1834 when the retreating Siamese army razed Phnom Penh. It was not until after the implementation of the French Protectorate in Cambodia in 1863 that the capital was moved from Oudong to Phnom Penh, and the current Royal Palace was founded and constructed.
The Grand Palace; Bangkok, Thailand
The Grand Palace complex was established in 1782 and it consists of not only royal and throne halls, but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It covers an area of 218,000 square metres and is surrounded by four walls, 1900 metres in length. After King Rama I ascended to the throne in 1782, the palace was built. Prior to this, the royal palace and centre of administration had been located in Thonburi, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. For various reasons, the new King considered the former capital to be unsuitable and decided to establish a new capital on the other side of the river.
The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782. The king, his court, and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925.
Potala Palace; Tibet, China
The Potala Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley, at an altitude of 3,700m. Also founded in the 7th century, the Jokhang Temple Monastery is an exceptional Buddhist religious complex. Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama's former summer palace, constructed in the 18th century, is a masterpiece of Tibetan art. The beauty and originality of the architecture of these three sites, their rich ornamentation and harmonious integration in a striking landscape, add to their historic and religious interest.
Enclosed within massive walls, gates and turrets built of rammed earth and stone the White and Red Palaces and ancillary buildings of the Potala Palace rise from Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley at an altitude of 3,700 metres. As the winter palace of the Dalai Lama from the 7th century CE the complex symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The White Palace contains the main ceremonial hall with the throne of the Dalai Lama, and his private rooms and audience hall are on the uppermost level. The palace contains 698 murals, almost 10,000 painted scrolls, numerous sculptures, carpets, canopies, curtains, porcelain, jade, and fine objects of gold and silver, as well as a large collection of sutras and important historical documents. To the west and higher up the mountain the Red Palace contains the gilded burial stupas of past Dalai Lamas. Further west is the private monastery of the Dalai Lama, the Namgyel Dratshang.
While I have never visited any of these places, I really want to. I love the pictures of them and that is why they made this list.
Have you visited any of these places? Do you have a favorite Royal Palace in Asia?