The splendor of Peterhof, Peter the Great's summer royal castle on the Baltic Sea's Gulf of Finland, is reminiscent of Versailles in Paris. The original palace was built between 1705 and 1723 by Peter I to provide a residence for his growing family while he ruled as king of Russia. After his death in 1725, the palace was continued by his son Paul I who died in 1727, then by his daughter Catherine I who became empress in 1729. She married Frederick IV of Denmark, whose mother would not let him marry Catherine because she was a Russian, so they married instead in a French ceremony in which both were declared free to marry whoever they wanted.
Catherine made Peterhof her main residence and brought in many architects and artists from all over Europe to decorate it. The most famous artist was Gian Lorenzo Bernini who designed several buildings at Peterhof. In 1755, Catherine had her first child by her husband: a son whom she named Alexander II. Her husband did not like the name and tried to change it, but she would not allow it so he had no choice but to accept it. He was also angry that she had another man write letters as if they were from him when she told him about their son, so he had all of Catherine's friends banished from court.
The Château de Versailles is a monumental royal residence in Versailles, France. It was built between 1672 and 1764 to replace an earlier hunting lodge by King Louis XIII. The new chateau is more than twice as large as its predecessor, has hundreds of rooms, and is decorated with paintings by Le Brun, Michelangelo, Raphael, and others.
The king wanted a house that would outdo any other in Europe. So he hired French architects and builders from Paris to construct this amazing structure. The outside walls are made of local limestone but inside there are huge blocks of green marble from Italy. There are also some panels of black onyx imported from Africa. The whole interior is covered in gold or silver paint. The furniture is carved oak or walnut. There are even tables made of bone!
The building effort produced one of the largest private palaces ever constructed at the time. It remains so even today. The size of its suites of apartments is equivalent to about half of what is available in London now. One apartment alone is larger than the White House kitchen!
The construction site was enormous. It took nearly two decades to complete the project.
Listen: This is a world-famous palace in Versailles, France, about 12 miles (19 km) west of Paris. The French Republic owns the palace, which has been administered since 1995 by the Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum, and National Estate of Versailles, which is overseen by the French Ministry of Culture. In addition to its role as a museum, the palace provides accommodation and facilities for public events.
The Palace of Versailles was built from 1670 to 1765 for Louis XIV, the "Sun King". It is the largest royal residence in Europe. The original project called for a more modest palace but Louis grew fond of it and added on to it until he had a structure that was larger than his earlier one. He also changed the location of his residence several times until he finally settled in Versailles where he could be near his gardens and hunting grounds.
In 1789, just after the French Revolution, the monarchy was abolished and the palace became the home of the new government. In 1849, during the Second French Empire, Napoleon III moved in with his family. After his defeat at the hands of the Germans in 1871, the palace lay empty for many years until it was converted into a museum in 1875. Today, it is visited by approximately five million people each year.
Features of the palace include the Hall of Mirrors, the Grand Gallery, and the King's Bedroom.