26 July - 31 August 2009. As well as being home to the offices of King Albert II, Belgium's Royal Palace is frequently used for state receptions, court audiences and royal audiences. Situated on the Place des Palais, it faces the Belgian parliament across the Park of Brussels, which witnessed fierce combat in 1830 when the country's independence was gained. There has been a royal presence on the hill since the 12th century; in 1731 the palace was burnt to the ground before later being rebuilt in a neo-classical style.
Each summer the palace opens its doors to the public, offering viewers an impressive array of otherwise inaccessible rooms. The Throne Room tends to impress the most; it measures 150 feet long and is lit by 11 chandeliers. The Goya Room features tapestries based on paintings by the Spanish court painter while the Mirror Room is oak-paneled with four enormous ceiling-high mirrors set between marble columns. Admission is free.
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Royal Palace, Palace des Palais, 1000 Brussels.