The Stockalper Palace built between 1658 and 1678 by Kaspar Stockalper, a silk merchant of Brig. It was the largest private construction in Switzerland at the time.
The first building on the site is known as the Stockalper House, which was built in 1532 by Peter Stockalper. Over the following century it was expanded toward the north, but it remained generally unchanged until the rise of Kaspar Stockalper. Kaspar Stockalper was born to a wealthy family in Brig on 14 July 1609. After studying at the university in Freiburg im Breisgau from 1627 to 1629, he returned to Brig and began building an extensive trading empire. By 1647 he had the local salt monopoly and built a road over the Simplon pass which gave him a monopoly on trade over this pass. Between 1651-59 he built a canal from Vouvry to Collombey which expanded his trading empire. At the peak of his power, Kaspar employed around 5,000 people.
Between 1630 and 1640 Kaspar expanded the Stockalper House toward the south with a great hall, chapel and other construction. The great hall was decorated with a coat of arms in 1653. The chapel altar is black with silver reliefs depicting the Adoration of the Magi and the Coronation of the Virgin, both of which were the work of Samuel Hornung of Augsburg in 1655. A two-story covered arcade leads from the Stockalper House to the much larger Palace.
Kaspar's extensive trade empire required an extensive warehouse and in 1658 he began construction on the Palace to provide that space. Construction of the 80 meters long building lasted 20 years. Once it was completed, Kaspar did not get many opportunities to enjoy his monumental building. In 1679 the communities of Visp, Leuk, Sierre and Sion rose up against him and drove him into exile in Domodossola. Six years later, in 1685, the Diet of Valais negotiated an agreement that allowed Kaspar to return and live out his last years in his Palace.
In 1948 the city took over the Palace and in 1960 the city council moved in. A museum was established in the Palace and some of the rooms were renovated and used for concerts and exhibitions. Today, there are guided tours which allow visitors to tour many parts of the building.
The Palace was built next to the smaller 16th century Gothic Stockalper House. It is a rectangular building with three towers on the north-west, south-west and south-east corners. The interior features a large, rectangular courtyard with arcades in the style of the Italian Renaissance. The balusters that line the second story are not original, but were added later. The three towers were named for the Three kings or Wise Men of the Bible. The tallest was named after Saint Caspar as well as Kaspar Stockalper. The other two were then named Melchior and Balthazar, the traditional names of the Wise Men.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.