The Presidential Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Republic of Cyprus. It is located close to the centre of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, and is surrounded by a thick pine woodland.
The original building was a prefabricated structure erected in November 1878 on a site known as Snake Hill, on which Richard the Lionheart is said to have set up camp. The building was shipped by the war office from London to Ceylon, its original destination; but by the time it reached Port Said, it was no longer required there, and was diverted to Cyprus. The building arrived in Larnaca and was transported to Nicosia in boxes on the backs of camels.
The building was burned down during the Enosis riots of 21 October 1931. As a result of the disturbances, a special law was enacted by Sir Ronald Storrs, the Governor of the Island, on 21 December 1931, whereby the Greek Cypriot inhabitants had to pay for the building of a new Government house. A total of £34,315 was demanded, payable by 30 June 1932.
The new building was designed by Maurice Webb of the firm of Sir Aston Webb & Sons, Westminster, London. Construction was undertaken by J V Hamilton & L F Weldon of the Public Works Department, Nicosia. The main structure was built of Yerolakkos sandstone, with harder sandstone from Limassol used for the staircases. Construction was completed in 1937, at a total cost of £70,000. Among the Palace's most prominent features are the British coat-of-arms, and four gargoyles with human heads depicting the British General Foreman in charge of construction, the head mason, the head carpenter, and an unknown labourer.
The building was originally named Government House; in 1960, it was renamed the Presidential Palace. The structure was gutted by fire during the coup d’etat by the Greek Junta and EOKA-B on 15 July 1974, and was rebuilt by the Public Works Department and Philippou Brothers in 1977. The rebuilding costs were paid by the Greek Government.
On 28 May 2010, it was announced that the building was to have a €1.2 million upgrade to reduce its carbon emissions. The project included solar panels in the car park, a new ventilation system, and replacement of windows. A further €2.7 million was spent to build a new hall for Cyprus's 2012 European Union Presidency. The new hall opened on 17 May 2012; it can seat 500 people, or 300 if seated by table.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.