The Palais du Rhin, the former Kaiserpalast (Imperial palace) is a huge building, it and the surrounding gardens, as well as the neighbouring stables, are an outstanding landmark of 19th-century Prussian architecture. After the Franco-Prussian War, Strasbourg, then German, was faced with the question of an official residence for the Kaiser. The decision was made to create a building symbolic of imperial power, and after much debate, a square Neo-Renaissance design was chosen, remotely inspired by the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The architect was Hermann Eggert (1844–1920), who had already built, among other things, the Observatory of Strasbourg.
Work began on March 22, 1884 in honour of William I's 87th birthday, and construction took five years. The project received a good deal of criticism, with many questioning the need and use of the building, its appearance, and its price of three million marks. Inaugurated by William II in August 1889, the palace housed the emperor for twelve visits down to 1914.
During the First World War, the building was converted into a military hospital and in 1920 it adopted its current name when the oldest of the European institutions, the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, moved in. In 1923, the palace passed hands to the French state and today houses the department of fine arts and the national furniture of Alsace-Lorraine.
Transformed into the 'Kommandantur' by the Nazis between 1940 and 1945, the building was recaptured by the troops of General Leclerc, who transformed it into their general headquarters. It was there that he wrote his proclamation announcing the realization of his oath at Kufra, proclaiming that he would fight until the French flag flew again over the cathedrals of Strasbourg and Metz.
Threatened with destruction in the 1970s, the palace, classified as monument historique since 1993, also houses the Direction régionale des Affaires culturelles of Alsace.References:
The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.