The Vordingborg castle was built in 1175 by King King Valdemar I as a defensive castle and as a base from which to launch raids against the German coast. His half-brother built another castle in a remote location, which is now Copenhagen. King Valdemar II similarly used the castle for expansion into the Baltic, and in 1241 it was where he created the reformed legal system, the Law of Jutland. By the time of King Valdemar IV, the castle had nine towers and a defensive wall 800 metres long. The castle was the birthplace of Queen Margaret I, daughter of King Valdemar IV, in 1353.
Large parts of the castle were demolished after the Swedish wars had ended, in order to construct a palace for Prince George, son ofKing Frederick III. The prince never took up residence, and the palace too was demolished in the 18th century. Three manors were constructed nearby, including Iselingen, which became a meeting place for many leading artists and scientists during the 1800s.
Today Vordingborg Castle is a ruin, although parts of the fourteenth century ring walls remain. The only fully preserved part of the castle, the 26 meter tall Goose Tower (Gåsetårnet), is the symbol of the city. The name comes from the golden goose that perches on top of the tower's spire. Although legend has it that Valdemar Atterdag used the symbol to taunt the Hanseatic League, the truth is the goose was first erected in 1871. The tower was transferred into the national trust on December 24, 1808, and was thus the first, protected historic monument in Denmark.
Next to the castle is a botanical garden and also a museum. A larger museum is planned which will include information on all of Denmark's historical castles. Excavations of the castle ruins continue. Regular archaeological digs take place here. Many of the finds are displayed in the exhibition at the Danish Castle Centre (Danmarks Borgcenter).References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.