Heads of State Residences
In our March-April issue, we showed you 25 of the most eye-popping residences occupied by heads of state around the world. Link HERE.) The response was so favorable that we decided to bring you more. Obviously, every country has its head of state and each one has an official residence. Often, the head of state residences are an important part of the country´s history and culture, sometimes serving as the seat of the country´s top representatives for centuries. While there are many head of state residences that are famous all over the world, there might be even more of those that are not so well known.
1 Mahlamba Ndlopfu. Built in 1940 in Pretoria, South Africa, this used to be the residence of the Prime Minister and went by the name “Libertas.” After Nelson Mandela became the country’s first President, the place’s Cape Dutch architecture received a bit of a facelift (not to mention a name change—which means ‘the new dawn’ in English), and these days the Presidential palace is surrounded by lavish gardens. It is not open to the public and can’t really be seen from any public roads.
2. Istana Merdeka/Istana Negara are two nearly identical palaces in Jakarta, located within 500 feet of each other and are technically parts of the same collective Presidential compound. The President of the Republic of Indonesia gets to choose which one to live in. Both feature white, Palladian-style architectural trappings, and were constructed back in the days when the Dutch controlled Indonesia. The current President has chosen Istana Merdeka (“Freedom Palace”) as his primary residence. (Istana Negara means State Palace.)
3 Zhongnanhai is a former imperial garden in Beijing, China. It serves as the central headquarters for the Chinese Communist Party and the central government). It houses the office of the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (paramount leader) and Premier of the People’s Republic of China, and the term (Zhongnanhai) is closely linked with the central government and senior CCP officials. It is often used as a figure of speech for the Chinese leadership (in the same sense that the “White House” refers to the U.S. executive branch and the “Kremlin” refers to the Russian government).
4 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Canada is the residence of the Prime Minister. Originally commissioned in 1866 by then-Member of Parliament Joseph Merrill Currier, this 34-room Norman Revival mansion only became the official residence of the PM in 1950. It operates exclusively as a residence.
5 The Prime Minister of Australia spend his time at either of his two official residences, but many recent holders of the office preferred Sydney’s Kirribilli House over The Lodge in Canberra. It’s just a normal house, albeit a nice one, in the land of koalas.
6 The Blue House is as 62-acre compound in Seoul that is actually home to both the President and Vice President of South Korea. It was the site of a failed assassination attempt by 31 North Korean commandos back in 1968. These days, the place is open to visitors to explore the gardens, enjoy the picturesque views or simply marvel at the nearly 150,000 blue granite tiles that cover the roofs of the traditional Korean building.
7 The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the home of the Emperor of Japan. It resembles a gigantic park more than an official residence, dominated by verdant gardens and flowing water. And while public access is limited to two days per year (the New Year, and the emperor’s birthday), the palace’s traditional Japanese architecture is enough to remind visitors of how it’s good to be the king. Or emperor.
8 In Ankara, Turkey this Presidential Palace is a gargantuan structure with 1,000 rooms, a price tag of more than half a billion dollars, and nearly 50 times the floor space of the White House. Unveiled in 2014, this brand-new behemoth even extends four stories underground.
9 Completed in 2017, Qaṣr Al-Waṭan (“Palace of the Nation”) is an exquisitely designed architectural monument that pays tribute to the region’s Arabic heritage and artistry. It is also the Presidential palace of the United Arab Emirates, located inAbu Dhabi. Besides being a working Palace, it is home to the UAE Supreme Council and Federal Cabinet.
10 State House, formerly known as Government House, is the official residence of the President and is located in Harare, Zimbabwe. It was constructed in 1910 in the Cape Dutch revival style and was previously used by President.
11 Located on the banks of the Mekong River in the capital city, Vientiane, the Presidential Palace is the official residence of the President of Laos who, by convention, also holds the position of General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.
12 Abdeen Palace, named after the original owner of the site, is considered one of the most sumptuous palaces in the world in terms of its adornments, paintings, and many clocks scattered in the parlors and wings, most of which are decorated with pure gold. Officially open in 1874 in Cairo, it was built to become Egypt‘s official government headquarters.
13 The Flagstaff House is the”Presidential Palace” or Golden Jubilee House” in Accra—a residence and office to the President of Ghana. The old building was demolished, and then newly built by an Indian company as “Golden Jubilee House”, to mark Ghana`s 50-year independence, in 2007.
14 Iavoloha Palace is the official residence of the President of Madagascar. It is situated 9 miles south of the capital Antananarivo. It was built by North Korea in the 1970s for free.
15 The Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest, Romania is the official residence of the country’s President. It has a history of 400 years and beautiful architecture. First intended as a monastery, the history of this palace closely follows the history of Romania in the last four centuries—from feudalism and servitude to neighbor empires, to independence, monarchic splendor, communism and today’s democratic republic.