For over 70 years this city hall has operated as the political and civic center of Aarhus, Denmark, and continues to be a symbolic representation of democracy.
Belweder Palace has long been the home of Poland’s most powerful political leaders. Front and center to many historical events, the palace today is the seat of the President of the Republic of Poland, hosts visiting foreign dignitaries, and holds various ceremonies.
A palace in some form or another has stood on this site since the 16th century. It was the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a one-time resident of the palace, who named the palace after the Italian, “bel vedere,” meaning “a beautiful view.”
In the late 18th century, the last King of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski, included the palace in his summer residence, Łazienki Park. But instead of living in it, he turned it into a porcelain manufacturing plant.
Purchased by the government in 1818, the palace from then on saw a series of occupants and dramatic political events. One such event took place during the November Uprising in 1830, when Russian Grand Duke Constantine was living in the palace. Students attacked Belweder intending to hold the Duke captive, but he escaped through a secret door.
The palace managed to survive multiple wars and changes in government without much damage, instead being rebuilt and renovated over and over again. Used by the Russian Tzar, the Polish military, the German governor-general, the Polish president, the Council of State and then the President again, the palace has seen it all and remains integral to the history of Poland.
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