Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Palais Rohan - Strasbourg

Palais Rohan
is a major sight in Strasbourg. It is a beautiful example of baroque architecture, as well as being the home of three of the city's museums. It is named after Cardinal Armand-Gaston-Maximilien de Rohan-Soubise (1674-1749) that ordered its construction. It was completed in 1742.

It was designed by Joseph Massol on the site of the old residence of the Archbishops of Strasbourg, the Palatium that had been on this site since 1262.

Armand-Gaston-Maximilien de Rohan-Soubise was a strong political figure that made an impressive career within the Roman Catholique church. He was made archbishop of Strasbourg and thus Prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1701, only 27 years old, and became cardinal in 1712.

Another Prince bishop of the same family, Louis René Édouard, cardinal de Rohan was involved in the infamous affair of the diamond necklace that seriously affected the reputation of the Bourbon dynasty and in particular its last French queen, Marie Antoinette.

Palais Rohan has housed many prominent historical figures as King Louis XV (1744), Queen Marie Antoinette (1779), Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte (1805, 1806, and 1809), Empress Joséphine, and King Charles X in 1828.

The main facade of Palace Rohan face the Ill river, and looks magnificent with the tall tower of Strasbourg cathedral in the background. It consists of a number of smaller and larger connecting buildings enclosing a courtyard.

It has been home to the important historical collections from 1898, after having served as the main building of the German university. It was badly damaged in a bomb raid on October 11th 1944, but has since then been faithfully restored.

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