The world’s most opulent homes are always interesting to ordinary folks. While ordinary people cannot take tours of the homes of today’s super-rich, they can travel around the world to see history’s most lavish residences. Seeing palaces with hundreds of rooms where royalty once lived in unimaginable decadence is certainly fascinating. Here is a guide to history’s most luxurious properties worth a visit.
There is perhaps no more fascinating royal family in the world than the English royal family. Buckingham Palace is still the official residence in London of Queen Elizabeth II, which makes it one of the few remaining palaces in the world that remains a working residence for royalty. Even though the Queen conducts matters of state here, visitors can still go on tours of Buckingham Palace during periods when it is open to the public. There are 775 rooms in the palace, including 52 bedrooms for royalty and guests as well as 188 bedrooms for the staff. Visitors to Buckingham Palace will get a chance to see lots of famous artwork and some of the most valuable and beautiful furniture in the world.
Chateau de Versailles
Incredibly enough, this enormous palace was first built to be used just as a hunting lodge. It was not until Louis XIV transferred his court from Paris to Versailles that it became the official royal residence. Its use as a royal residence ended when it was stormed by peasants during the French Revolution, but visitors today can still see its opulence. Seeing the many gardens, fountains and mazes surrounding the palace is one of the highlights. The interior is just as amazing. The main attractions include the lavish ballroom known as the Hall of Mirrors and the Opera de Versailles, a lavish opera house that still puts on operas today.
Royal Palace of Stockholm
While other palaces used as working residences are closed to the public during certain times of year, the Royal Palace of Stockholm is open to visitors year-round. Built in an impressive Baroque style, this palace is still home to His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf. He conducts all of his royal business in the palace, but that doesn’t stop visitors from touring the grounds. While there, visitors can see three museums that showcase beautiful treasures including jewels, antiquities and medieval artifacts.
This castle strikes chords in the memories of visitors all over the world for a good reason. Walt Disney used this castle as a model for the one he built at Disneyland. Located in the Bavarian region of Germany, this castle was built for Ludwig II as a place where he could enjoy his solitude. Unfortunately for him, he died before construction was complete. Today, visitors can tour the grounds to see the magnificence of the castle, and 1.4 million visitors a year find it well worth international travel.
This Istanbul attraction was once home to more than 4,000 residents during its heyday. It was built by Sultan Mehmed II to celebrate his conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The palace became home to the Sultan, his family, their harems and their servants in 1459, and it remained the home to Turkish royalty for more than 400 years. While not all of the palace is open to the public, visitors today will enjoy basking in the more decadent parts of the palace that are now a museum that covers more than 400,000 square meters.
The Japanese built some of the most beautiful palaces in history, but most of them were destroyed by Allied fire-bombing campaigns during World War II. Himeji Palace is the most lavish of the few remaining palaces in Japan. It was originally built as a fortress, which is why it is high on a hill and protected by three rings of moats. The castle is actually made up of 80 separate buildings that visitors can tour today. This palace has more rustic furnishings than many others due to its age,, but it is still gorgeous. Visiting during cherry blossom season is highly recommended to experience the beauty of the thousands of cherry trees that bloom in a riot of color each spring.
Courtesy TheTopTier Digital Media