Palace of Nations

Geneva, Switzerland

The Palace of Nations is the home of the United Nations Office at Geneva. It was built between 1929 and 1938 to serve as the headquarters of the League of Nations. The palace was at the time of completion the second-largest building complex in Europe after Versailles.

The Palace is located in Ariana Park, which was bequeathed to the City of Geneva in 1890 by Gustave de Revilliod de la Rive, on several conditions: i.a. that the park always remain accessible to the public and that he be buried in the park. The park also contains a 1668 chalet.

Beneath the Palace of Nations's foundation stone is a time capsule containing a document listing the names of the League of Nations member states, a copy of the Covenant of the League, and specimen coins of all the countries represented at the league's Tenth Assembly. A medal showing the Palace of Nations with the Jura Mountains in the background was struck in silvered bronze.

The building overlooks Lake Geneva and has a clear view of the French Alps.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1929-1938
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Switzerland

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

andreas S (17 months ago)
A great place to get an intense impression of the UNITED NATIONS' glory, history, tremendous efforts and achievements for humanity - despite all those denying or neglecting that... highly recommend the guided tours !
Siddarth Rupani (17 months ago)
A must visit if you are visiting Geneva. If you are looking to not go inside but just spend time outside, give it 30 mins to 1 hour depending on how many photos you would like to click at the UN and the broker chair which are at the same location.
Anuradha Echambadi (17 months ago)
A really big place. But reaching it once we cross the main gates is a little confusing and especially gruelling to persons with physical disabilities. Those moving around in a wheelchair can do so very easily as accessibility is perfect. But for those not using one, very difficult. One of my friends was suggesting if they were to have some carts around for disabled people to move in and around, it would make this place the most accessible on the planet.
Duca Duke (18 months ago)
Stunningly beautiful architecture & building interiors, along with senior diplomats & ambassadors from 193 countries around the world... hard-core multilingual & multicultural, love it, wow!
rituraj gogoi (18 months ago)
An altogether superb experience wherein the seat of world power can be experienced in a beautiful surrounding. Some peaceful demonstration was going on and that added to the whole feel of the place. Felt great to see so many countries and different cultures coming together at one place. Definitely recommend and coming back again :)
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin and the only surviving royal residence in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. The original palace was commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg in what was then the village of Lietzow. Originally named Lietzenburg, the palace was designed by Johann Arnold Nering in baroque style. The inauguration of the palace was celebrated on 11 July 1699, Frederick's 42nd birthday.

Friedrich crowned himself as King Friedrich I in Prussia in 1701 (Friedrich II, known as Frederick the Great, would later achieve the title King of Prussia). Two years previously, he had appointed Johann Friedrich von Eosander (also known as Eosander von Göthe) as the royal architect and sent him to study architectural developments in Italy and France, particularly the Palace of Versailles. On his return in 1702, Eosander began to extend the palace, starting with two side wings to enclose a large courtyard, and the main palace was extended on both sides. Sophie Charlotte died in 1705 and Friedrich named the palace and its estate Charlottenburg in her memory. In the following years, the Orangery was built on the west of the palace and the central area was extended with a large domed tower and a larger vestibule. On top of the dome is a wind vane in the form of a gilded statue representing Fortune designed by Andreas Heidt. The Orangery was originally used to overwinter rare plants. During the summer months, when over 500 orange, citrus and sour orange trees decorated the baroque garden, the Orangery regularly was the gorgeous scene of courtly festivities.

Inside the palace, was a room described as 'the eighth wonder of the world', the Amber Room, a room with its walls surfaced in decorative amber. It was designed by Andreas Schlüter and its construction by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram started in 1701. Friedrich Wilhelm I gave the Amber Room to Tsar Peter the Great as a present in 1716.

When Friedrich I died in 1713, he was succeeded by his son, Friedrich Wilhelm I whose building plans were less ambitious, although he did ensure that the building was properly maintained. Building was resumed after his son Friedrich II (Frederick the Great) came to the throne in 1740. During that year, stables for his personal guard regiment were completed to the south of the Orangery wing and work was started on the east wing. The building of the new wing was supervised by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, the Superintendent of all the Royal Palaces, who largely followed Eosander's design. The decoration of the exterior was relatively simple but the interior furnishings were lavish. The ground floor was intended for Frederick's wife Elisabeth Christine, who, preferring Schönhausen Palace, was only an occasional visitor. The decoration of the upper floor, which included the White Hall, the Banqueting Hall, the Throne Room and the Golden Gallery, was lavish and was designed mainly by Johann August Nahl. In 1747, a second apartment for the king was prepared in the distant eastern part of the wing. During this time, Sanssouci was being built at Potsdam and once this was completed Frederick was only an occasional visitor to Charlottenburg.

In 1786, Frederick was succeeded by his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm II who transformed five rooms on the ground floor of the east wing into his summer quarters and part of the upper floor into Winter Chambers, although he did not live long enough to use them. His son, Friedrich Wilhelm III came to the throne in 1797 and reigned with his wife, Queen Luise for 43 years. They spent much of this time living in the east wing of Charlottenburg. Their eldest son, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who reigned from 1840 to 1861, lived in the upper storey of the central palace building. After Friedrich Wilhelm IV died, the only other royal resident of the palace was Friedrich III who reigned for 99 days in 1888.

The palace was badly damaged in 1943 during the Second World War. In 1951, the war-damaged Stadtschloss in East Berlin was demolished and, as the damage to Charlottenburg was at least as serious, it was feared that it would also be demolished. However, following the efforts of Margarete Kühn, the Director of the State Palaces and Gardens, it was rebuilt to its former condition, with gigantic modern ceiling paintings by Hann Trier.

The garden was designed in 1697 in baroque style by Simeon Godeau who had been influenced by André Le Nôtre, designer of the gardens at Versailles. Godeau's design consisted of geometric patterns, with avenues and moats, which separated the garden from its natural surroundings. Beyond the formal gardens was the Carp Pond. Towards the end of the 18th century, a less formal, more natural-looking garden design became fashionable. In 1787 the Royal Gardener Georg Steiner redesigned the garden in the English landscape style for Friedrich Wilhelm II, the work being directed by Peter Joseph Lenné. After the Second World War, the centre of the garden was restored to its previous baroque style.