Six presidential residences open to tourists
To get to the White House, the Kremlin or Buckingham Palace is the cherished dream of any tourist visiting the capitals of different states. We will tell here about the six palaces of heads of state, access to which tourists are allowed.
The chances for an ordinary person to get into the working residence of the President of the Russian Federation, located in the former building of the Senate, are practically zero. But tourists are given the opportunity to visit the presidential residence of the President, the Grand Kremlin Palace. Its famous façade faces the Kremlin Embankment and adorns many postcards and tourist avenues.
Various ceremonies of state significance take place in the palace: the inauguration of the president, the award ceremony, and festive receptions. For these purposes, ceremonial “order” halls are usually used – Andreevsky, Aleksandrovsky, Vladimirsky, Georgievsky and Yekaterininsky halls, named after the main orders of the Russian Empire. Tickets for an hour and a half excursion accompanied by a guide through the Grand Kremlin Palace are not sold at regular ticket offices, they are sold by travel agencies.
The three-storey beige mansion on Kauppatori Square, with columns and a portico, originally belonged to a wealthy merchant family, today it is the residence of the President of Finland. Until 1918, when the country was part of the Russian Empire as the Principality of Finland, the governor’s house was located here first, then the summer residence of the great princes of Finland (these were Russian emperors).
The apartments of the head of state are on the third floor, these are the Yellow Room, the Red Reception Room and the President’s study. State halls for receptions and official halls are located on the first floor of the building. Excursions for tourists once a year are organized by the Presidential Office and collect a large number of visitors, the time of the excursions is announced in advance.
In 1573, the building of the current residence of the President of Italy was built for Pope Gregory XIII. The Quirinale Palace shakes with the luxury of its ceremonial halls, especially the Mirror Hall, where awards and solemn receptions usually take place. The hall was decorated with the best Italian masters and artists, starting from the Renaissance, it has a huge number of high mirrors, alternating with windows, gold medallions and white silk drapes.
There is evidence that Napoleon, who occupied Italy at the beginning of the XIX century, dreamed of arranging a throne room here. But the office of the head of state is decorated relatively modestly: one mirror in a gold frame, two crystal chandeliers and an exquisite marble fireplace. Tours of the Quirinale Palace are held several times during the week, and travel agencies are involved in their organization. Applications are accepted no later than five days.
The place where the president of France works in our time is a luxurious mansion of the 18th century, built in the classical style. The palace has the richest history, it arranged unimaginably luxurious balls for Madame de Pompadour, the favorite of King Louis XV, and from here ruled the country and all the lands conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte. Accessible to tourists Elysee Palace becomes only once a year, usually in early autumn. Access is limited to several rooms.
The guides show tourists the luxuriously decorated grand staircase, the Council of Ministers’ meeting room is a former music salon, and tell about the “Jupiter’s cellar”, where it is believed that the nuclear button of France is located. And on all other days, tourists can only take walks in the famous gardens and parks of the Elysian Palace. At the same time, “under the windows of the president,” tourists are usually asked not to make noise, not to play ball and not to sing songs.
Tourists usually cannot see the current owner of the White House, President Barack Obama or members of his family. But the residence itself – in full view and perfectly visible right through the fence. However, nothing special about The White House in reality, and not in the picture, is not a small building, similar to the district palace of culture somewhere in the Russian outback.
In the summer, you can take spectacular pictures of the fountains on the background of a green garden; in winter, in addition to the Christmas tree, there is practically nothing to shoot at the White House. You can get into the building itself, and even visit the legendary Oval Office of the US President, only by signing up for a tour in advance at least six months in advance. Tours are only group and free.
Buckingham Palace, as the name suggests, was originally built in London for the Duke of Buckingham. The palace became the residence of the British kings in 1837.