Peterhof Palace is located in Peterhof, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Built by Peter the Great between 1714-1723, the large complex boasts grand palaces and sits on 500 acres with 144 fountains, extensive gardens, and over 200 statues. There is a narrow canal called the Sea Channel that leads from the Bay of Finland to the complex, which allowed visitors to sail through the tree-lined channel to the palace. The majority of water fountains are decorated with gilt statues, the fountains operate by using force gravity instead of pumps. The Grand Cascade is an ornate terrace where water flows down the multitude of levels. Several fountains surround it and there’s an artificial grotto beneath the cascades. The largest palace in the complex is the Grand Palace, which has been enlarged and renovated through the centuries. Peter created the palace to impress and to serve as a statement that the Russian Empire should be admired. Peter drew inspiration from the French court of Versailles and other royal sites he visited before he commissioned the palace. The palace served as a residence for Russian royalty for over 200 years, until the empire ended in 1917. After the Russian revolution, the complex became an educational center. During WWII, German forces damaged the complex, but the structures were rebuilt. Since then, Peterhof has served as a park and museum and has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Peterhof Palace is one of Russia’s most famous sites and nicknamed by some as “The Russian Versailles.”
Castello Di Rivalta is located in Rivalta in the Province of Piacenza, Italy. The Village of Rivalta is a fortified complex. The fortified castle overlooks the banks of the river Trebbia. The castle is first mentioned in a purchase in 1025 A.D. In 1048, Emperor Henry II donated the castle to the monastery of San Savino di Piacenza. Throughout the centuries the castle was at the center of many battles, sieges, and treason. The castle switched hands numerous times throughout its history, but in the 14thcentury the land was ceded to the Obizzo Landi family. The Landi family reconstructed the castle into the residence it is today. The decedents of the 14thcentury feudal family still live in the castle. The castle is designed in a quadrangular that houses more than 50 rooms. The internal arcaded courtyard is decorated with marble columns, there’s also a cylindrical tower, a dungeon, a music room, a gallery, a billiards room, and a weapons room. In the 18thcentury more trees were planted to surround the castle’s English style gardens, the façade and some of the rooms were renovated at this time. The Castle serves as a Museum of Military Costume and has a Spa and Wellness center. Castello Di Rivalta is open to the public from February to November.
Scaliger Castle is located in Sirmione, Italy. The 13thcentury fortress is believed to have been commissioned by Mastino I Della Scala and used by the fleet of the Scaliger family as a fortified port. The castle reinforced Verona’s defenses and served to show Mastino’s political power. Scaliger Castle is situated on a small peninsula surrounded by Lake Garda. The fortress has crenellated walls and boasts a moat and drawbridge leading up the 150 steps to the ramparts and tower. In 1405, Verona and surrounding towns were annexed to the Republic of Venice and a Venetian garrison was deployed from Scaliger Castle. New stone walls were built around the harbor at this time. The castle’s importance began to decline in the 16thcentury with the building of a new fortification stronghold in Peschiera del Garda, nevertheless the warehouses and arsenal remained at Scaliger Castle. The territories belonging to Venice were conquered during the Napoleonic Wars and French forces remained in the castle until 1814. In 1861, when the independent Italian states united, Sirmione became a part of the Kingdom of Italy. Hot thermal springs were found in Sirmoine at the end of the 19thcentury and the town became a resort area. The increased tourism to the area and the castle led to the castle’s restoration in the 20thcentury. Scaliger Castle is considered one of the most well conserved of Italy’s castles. The castle is open to the public and serves as a tourist facility and museum.
Olesko Castle is located in the village of Olesko in Lviv Oblast, Ukraine. The first record of this castle was documented in 1390, when Pope Boniface IX gifted the castle to the Catholic bishop of Halych. The castle has changed ownership several times throughout its history as the borders of the countries changed. Olesko Castle was owned by Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary at different times, and served as a fief for kings and magnates, so battles for ownership of the castle were constant. The oval shaped castle was built on a hilltop surrounded by defensive walls, a moat, and swampland. By the 15thcentury, the castle was no longer used as a defense position and became a gateway for the aristocracy. In the 17thand 18thcenturies the castle was purchased, sold and fell into ruin, repurchased and renovated, then resold again. The castle was remodeled in the Italian Renaissance style and decorated with paintings and mosaics. The Polish king Jan III Sobieski was born at the castle and he collected many of the artworks currently displayed there. In 1838, the castle suffered earthquake damage. In 1882, the castle was purchased by the Committee of Preservation of the Olesko Castle, and became a Polish national monument. Both WWI and WWII did damage to Olesko Castle, the castle was also struck by lightning in 1956, but in 1961-1985 the castle was restored. Today, Olesko Castle serves as a museum and is open to the public.
Powerscourt Estate is located in Enniskerry, County Wicklow in Ireland. A 13thcentury three story castle was built on this site by La Poer and served as a strategic militarily location. The castle came under the ownership of the Powerscourt family in the 16thcentury. In the 18thcentury, the 1stViscount Powerscourt, Richard Wingfield, had the castle completely remodeled, altering the medieval castle into an English manor. The castle’s Palladian façade has two circular domed towers and is located down a mile-long avenue of beech trees. King George IV was a guest at the castle in 1821. In the 19thcentury, the 7thViscount of Powerscourt began further renovations of the home and created new gardens on the once 49,000 acre property. The estate boasts a stone tower, Japanese gardens, Italian garden, Triton Lake, Dolphin Pond, winged horse statues, the Pepperpot Tower, a pet cemetery, a river walk, Powerscourt Golf Club, and the luxurious Powerscourt Hotel. In 1961, the estate was sold to the 9thViscount of Powerscourt, where it remains today. The house was destroyed by fire in 1974 and was renovated in 1996. Only two rooms are open to the public, while the rest of the ground floor and 1stfloor are now retail units. Powerscourt Estate currently sits on 47 acres and houses Tara’s Palace Museum of Childhood, which features dollhouses, miniatures, dolls, and historic toys. Powerscourt Estate is open to the public and offers food, refreshments, and shopping. The castle is a popular wedding venue. #Castles #Museum #Cafe #Powerscourt #PowerscourtEstate #PowerscourtCastle #Ireland #CountyWicklow #Enniskerry #PowerscourtGolfClub #WeddingVenue #PowerscourtHotel
Pidhirtsi Castle is located in the village of Pidhirtsi in Lviv Oblast in western Ukraine. The castle was built upon the site of a previous fortress for the Cossack chief of the Polish Crown between the years 1635-1640. The castle-fortress was built for leisure and remained in the Polish military leaders ownership until the 18thcentury. Unlike the previous castles constructed in the area, Pidhirtsi Castle resembles an English country house, complete with a park and two churches. The three story structure was built with brick and stone, guarded by a moat and drawbridge, fortified walls, and iron cannons. The castle grounds featured a private zoo, a grange, vineyards, an apiary, a trout pond, and a mill. The Roman Catholic Church of the Exaltation and St. Joseph was built near the palace in the Baroque style in the mid 18thcentury. The castle underwent renovations in the 18thand 19thcenturies, and suffered damage during the 20thcentury when it was vandalized. After WWII, the castle was used to house tuberculosis patients. The castle suffered through fire caused by a lightning storm in 1956. During the Soviet regime the castle was often left abandoned, all these events led to the decline in the east and west wings of the palace. The castle is currently run by the Museum of Fine Arts in Lviv and is part of the National Cultural Heritage of the Ukraine. The students of the Lviv Polytechnic University and the students of Vienna Poytechnic, who performed the first architectural survey of the palace, are currently carrying out Restoration of Pidhirtsi Castle. The castle boasts a collection of paintings, sculpture, armor, books, and crafts. Pidhirtsi Castle is open to the public.
Hatley Castle is located in Victoria on Vancouver Island in
British Columbia, Canada. Prominent architect Samuel Maclure built the
Elizabethan-style castle in 1910 for James and Laura Dunsmuir. James wanted the
exterior to resemble a medieval castle, while Laura wanted the interior to
resemble a Government House. The Castle took 18 months to build and features a
Norman tower and two Tudor-revival wings. In 1910, the castle was the largest
private residence on the west coast. The castle has a Porte-cochère entry,
which provides access for a horse and carriage, while protecting guests from
the weather. The Grand Hall boasts half paneled walls, vaulted ceilings, and
pointed arches. There are seven fireplaces located on the main floor, while the
Greek Revival drawing room is a whopping 1200 square feet with 16 foot
ceilings. There’s a terrace that overlooks the Olympic Mountains, the Esquimalt
Lagoon, the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and the beauty of the grounds and gardens.
The Hatley Park National Historic Site boasts Japanese, Rose, and Italian
gardens. The Italian Garden is the most formal and is attached to the castle by
a surrounding wall, while the Japanese Garden is considered tranquil and is
bordered by a lake. Hatley Castle is open to the public and serves as a museum
and the administration center for the Royal Roads University.
St. Basil’s Cathedral is located in Red Square in Moscow,
Russia. A church was built on this site from 1555-1561 upon the order of Ivan
the Terrible, but it burned down in 1583 and was rebuilt by 1593. The church
has been expanded and renovated throughout its history. In the 1680’s,
construction of the wraparound ground-floor arcades visually united the nine chapels
of the original cathedral into a single building. The sources that inspired
this colorful structure are disputed, although many claim the structure is influenced
by the Italian Renaissance. The central core of the church has four chapels
placed on the four major compass points in an octagonal pattern, the larger chapels
are on massive foundations, while the small chapels were placed on raised
platforms to designate their position between heaven and earth. Each chapel is
dedicated, with the ninth chapel added to honor St. Basil. The interior boasts
a labyrinth of narrow vaulted corridors, with the central church reaching 151
feet in height. The structure was said to be white in color with gold domes,
but the church’s vivid colors were applied in several stages from the 1680’s to
1848. The colors are said to depict the Heavenly City in the Book of
Revelation. The walls of the church are mixed red brickwork and painted
imitation bricks with white ornaments. The domes are covered in tin and
uniformly gilded with a traditional combination of white, red and gold colors,
while their green and blue ceramic insets provide a touch of the rainbow. The
building is shaped as a flame rising from a bonfire. As part of the program of
state atheism, the church was confiscated during the Bolshevik Revolution.
Since 1928, the Russian Orthodox community has operated the church as a State
Historical Museum. St. Basil’s Cathedral was completely secularized in 1929 and
remains the federal property of the Russia Federation. St. Basil’s cathedral is
open to the public as a science museum.
Peleș Castle is located at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains in the
town of Sinaia in Prohova County, Romania. King Carol I of Romania built the
Neo-Renaissance castle from 1873 to 1883; it was under his reign that the
country gained its independence. Along with the castle, the king also
commissioned a royal summer retreat, a hunting lodge, royal stables, guards’
chambers, an Economat building, and a power plant to be built on the estate. Peleș Castle was the
world’s first to be fully powered by locally produced energy. The castle went
through later additions throughout its history and was once seized by the
Communist regime. The castle was closed from 1975 to 1990, but after the
December 1989 Revolution the castle was re-established as a heritage site and reopened
to the public. The castle boasts 160 ornate rooms that carry themes from cultures
around the world. The rooms are lavishly decorated with wall and ceiling
frescoes by Gustav Klimt and Franz von Matsch, Murano crystal chandeliers,
German stained-glass windows, Cordoba leather covered walls, carved teak
furniture in the Music room, and a 4,000 piece collection of arms and armor are
displayed in the Armory. The castle also has a movie theater and a Turkish
salon. The property has seven Italian neo-Renaissance terrace gardens made
mostly of Carrara marble, while the gardens have statues, fountains, stairways,
and marble paths. Peleș Creek runs through the courtyard, while a towering statue of
King Carol I overlooks the main entrance. Peleș Castle is open to the public for guided tours
and serves as the Peleș National Museum.