Karlskrona is an outstanding example of a late-17th-century European planned naval city. The original plan and many of the buildings have survived intact, along with installations that illustrate its subsequent development up to the present day. The naval installations there has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Karlskrona was founded in 1680 was a major power in Northern Europe. Charles XI, the King of Sweden, issued a charter for the foundation of a new town on the islands of Wämö and Trossö, to be known as Karlskrona and to serve both as a port and as a naval base. The naval installations, beginning with a shipyard and storage facilities, were initially supervised by Erik Dahlbergh. The shipyard began with two building berths, two quays, two forges, and five warehouses; the first keel was laid down in December 1680 and the first ship launched the following year.
Karlskrona became a seat of government in 1683, the year in which Dahlbergh drew up the definitive plans for the town and its fortifications. By the time Gustav III took the throne by means of a coup d'état in 1772 it had become the third largest town in Sweden. The town has been damaged by fire, most severely in 1790. As a result, rebuilding of the destroyed buildings was carried out using stone and the original street layout was largely preserved.
The Second World War saw the modernization of some of the older fortifications and the installation of new facilities for defence against aerial attack. Since that time there has been a progressive diminution of activity in the naval area, although it still plays an active role in the Swedish defence system.
The plan of Karlskrona integrates strategic imperatives with the classical ideal. The Baroque layout with wide main streets radiating out from a central square lined with majestic public buildings is clearly discernible in the present-day town. It was planned by Erik Dahlbergh and Karl Magnus Stuart on the orders of the Lord High Admiral, Hans Wachtmeister.
The naval harbour is located to the south of the town, from which it was originally separated by an impressive enclosure wall, only small sections of which survive. To the south of the Parade Ground is Gamle Varvet (the Old Shipyard). This is made up of a number of fine buildings dating mainly from the late 18th century, commissioned by Frederic Henric af Chapman, Shipyard Admiral of Karlskrona from 1780 until his death in 1808 and many of them designed by this gifted master shipbuilder and architect. On the other side of Amiralitetsslätten is Artillerigärden (Artillery Yard), an area of reclaimed land housing barracks, ordnance storehouses, workshops, and a hospital. The point of land on which they were built is protected by the Aurora Bastion, dating from 1704.References:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.