grand residence, especially a royal or episcopal residence

A palace is a place with a grand and imposing building that is the official residence of a king or queen, a head of state such as a president, ruler, or leader. Many historical palaces are now museums that show what royal and aristocratic life was like when it was built.

A palace in Udaipur, India, built in a lake.

Besides, it can mean a luxurious house or mansion (like Biltmore Mansion or Hearst Castle) or a large building for entertainment: a large public or private building with an imposing ornate style, used for entertainment or exhibitions and large events.



The word "palace" comes from the Palatine Hill in Rome, where the Roman emperors used to live. A palace is a big, fancy building where a king or queen might live, or where the government or religion might be based. It's different from a castle, which was originally a fortified home.

After the Middle Ages, rich people in England, France, and Spain started calling their fancy homes palaces. Even the popes' residence in Avignon was called a palace when they were exiled. Eventually, the name "palace" was used for many grand buildings, both public and private.[1]

In the United States, there are colonial governors' palaces in Williamsburg, Virginia; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and San Antonio, Texas. The White House in the U.S. was called the "Executive Mansion" instead of the "Presidential Palace" because it sounded better without the colonial connection.

France also has the Élysée Palace and buildings called "Palaces of Justice."

Palaces around the world


In Asia


In East Asia, newer palaces like the ones in the Forbidden City in Beijing and the imperial palaces of Japan are made up of many buildings. These buildings are mostly low pavilions made of fancy wood, and they are set within large walled gardens.

In America


In the Americas, palaces were usually simpler compared to those in other places. For example, the Mayan governor's palace at Uxmal around 900 CE and the Zapotec palace at Mitla around 1000 CE were both single-story buildings with lots of rooms that were decorated with carvings. Like in East Asia, these palaces were not just where the leaders lived, but also where the government was based.[2]


  1. "Definition of PALACE". 2024-05-08. Retrieved 2024-05-08.
  2. "Palace | Design, Construction & History | Britannica". 2024-03-11. Retrieved 2024-05-08.