- The White House was designed by an Irish immigrant to the US.
- Napoleon once lived in France’s Elysée Palace.
- Turkey’s White Palace is one of the world’s newest presidential residences.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
From the White House in Washington, DC, one of the most iconic buildings in the US, to the lavish Quirinal Palace in Rome, Italy, the world’s government seats are as unique as the countries they represent.
Here’s where the leaders of 10 countries around the world work and where some even live.
The Kremlin in Moscow, Russia is a towering building.
Generally speaking, the word “kremlin” refers to fortresses in medieval Russian cities. As a proper noun, the Kremlin, which includes museums, churches, palaces, and the president’s residence, is the seat of the Russian government in Moscow. The fortified complex was originally constructed from wood in 1156 as the “grad of Moscow.” However, the extant towers and stone walls were built in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
Along with Red Square, located to the west of the fortress, the Kremlin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sōri Daijin Kantei in Toykyo, Japan holds the Prime Minister’s residence and offices.
Sōri Daijin Kantei, or as it’s commonly known, simply Kantei, houses the prime minister of Japan’s residence and offices. This is the second Kantei and became the official building in April 2002.
This new residence is 1.6 times the size of the old one. It’s built with the traditional Japanese concept of the “organic link between inner and outer space.” In that vein, it has many windows and gardens and even retractable rooftop in its inner court.
It features five floors and has everything from a rock garden to a grand hall.
The White House, in Washington, District of Columbia, USA, has undergone some structural changes over time.
In 1791, President George Washington selected the site of the White House to appease northern and southern interests. To determine who should build the residence, then known as the “President’s House,” he organised an architectural competition.
The winner was James Hoban, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, who worked as a builder and architect in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Charleston, South Carolina, after immigrating to the US. When the building was set on fire in 1814 by the British during the War of 1812, Hoban reconstructed the damaged sections. Future additions, including north and south porticoes, were added later in the 19th century.
The White House, which every US president since John Adams has called home, was given its current name in 1901 by President Theodore Roosevelt, who updated the residence by relocating the commander-in-chief’s offices to the area now called the West Wing.
In total, the White House comprises 132 rooms, 16 of which are family guest rooms, and 35 bathrooms.
10 Downing Street in London, England houses presidential offices and a cat named Larry.
London’s 10 Downing Street is the official residence of the British prime minister. In 1735, Robert Walpole, who is regarded as the first person in Britain to hold the office of prime minister, moved in.
In addition to serving as the official residence of the prime minister, the building also functions as the leader’s office and as a venue for entertaining world dignitaries who are visiting the Queen. Despite its appearance, 10 Downing is larger inside than it appears to be from its exterior thanks to extensions and corridors connecting it to adjacent addresses.
10 Downing features a state dining room that seats 65 and even a cat named Larry, who works as “chief mouser.”
Of course, 10 Downing isn’t to be confused with Buckingham Palace, the residence of the British royal family.
Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India has more than 300 rooms.
Rashtrapati Bhavan (“President’s House”), the official residence of India’s president, is located in New Delhi. Originally built for the British Viceroy in the early 20th century, it took 17 years to complete. After India gained independence from British rule in 1947 and elected its first president in the 1950s, the 200,000-square-foot palace was repurposed as the president’s abode.
Containing 340 rooms spread out across four floors, Rashtrapati Bhavan was built with three million cubic feet of stone and 700 million bricks. It’s best known for its large dome and ornate design.
The president of India and his family stay in the family wing of the president and the structure also features a guest wing.
Elysée Palace in Paris, France has a gorgeous garden.
Constructed in the 18th century, Elysée Palace became the official residence of the Governor of Paris in 1805. The governor, Joachim Murat, was married to Napoleon’s sister, and the emperor himself lived there for several years.
Prior to being designated the official home of the President of the French Republic in 1873, the palace was used to entertain visiting guests such as Queen Victoria and King Oscar of Sweden.
Today, the residence features 369 rooms including ornate dining rooms and the president’s personal chambers. It’s known also for its sprawling garden that is open to the public during the last Sunday of every month.
Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Pretoria, South Africa has two reception rooms.
Mahlamba Ndlopfu (“The New Dawn”), previously known as Libertas, is the official residence of the president of the Republic of South Africa. Completed in 1940, it was designed in the Cape-Dutch style. Architectural modifications were added over the years to support the growing needs of different presidents.
The interior is characterised by a foyer and a grand staircase, as well as two reception rooms and a dining room that can hold 60 people.
Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires, Argentina is a vibrant building.
Situated in Buenos Aires, the Casa Rosada (“Pink House”) holds the offices of the president of Argentina. The official presidential residence is located off-site in the suburb of Olivos.
There are two theories why the building is pink. One is that the colour signifies President Sarmientos‘ efforts to make peace between the Federalist and Unitarian parties, which respectively used red and white symbolism. The other is that it simply resulted from blending white paint with cow blood, a technique commonly used at the time.
Casa Rosada is famous for being the site where Eva Perón, the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 to 1952, gave a speech to her supporters from the balcony.
Today, the building houses the presidential offices and even a presidential museum.
The Presidential Complex, known as the White Palace, in Ankara, Turkey boasts more than 1,000 rooms.
In Turkey, the official residence of the president is a 1,100-room complex nicknamed the White Palace (“Ak Saray” in Turkish). The palace, which cost at least $US615 million to build, was completed in 2014 at the request of President Tayyip Erdogan when he was acting as prime minister.
This is one of the newer presidential residences, and some have criticised Erdogan for spending millions on a new residence.
Architect Tezcan Karakus Candan also had some choice words for its architecture. “It’s kind of a mutt architecturally,” Candan told NPR.
“Outside it’s been fitted with giant columns,” Candan added, “reminding us of Hitler-era fascist architecture.”
The building reportedly features solar technology and atomic bomb-proof command centres.
The Quirinal Palace in Rome, Italy is named for the hill it sits on.
The Quirinal Palace is one of three official residences occupied by the president of the Italian Republic. It’s named for the hill on which it stands, which in turn takes its title from the god Quirinus. The palace was originally built as a papal villa in the 16th century.
When Rome was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1870, the palace became the residence of the royal family. Ultimately, the lavish building would become the home of the president when the country became a republic in 1946.
The building features a grand ballroom, a gallery of busts, and a library among its many rooms.
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