Palace of Wesloderia

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Wesloderia: Phillippe Neveau opened up the interior court to create the expansive entrance cour d'honneur.

The Palace of Wesloderia is the official Imperial residence of the Emperor of Alexandria. It is located in the outskirts of Geneva, in the suburb of Wesloderia. Outside the gates of the palace, the village of Wesloderia has grown to become a full-fledged city.


The area of Wesloderia was first noticed by Francis Joseph I because of its woods abounding in game. Francis Joseph I ordered that a castle be built there to serve as both a royal retreat and a defense fortification. During the reign of subsequent monarchs, Wesloderia remained as a small castle which saw plenty of action during the Verenean Invasion in 1016. After that, the castle was pretty much abandoned while the monarchs used the small Palace of Geneva as their official residence and retreated to Franciscania for vacationing.

It wasn’t until the reign of Charles VI (1513-1535), the first of the House of Artoix that Wesloderia began to take shape as a royal residence. Charles VI ordered the castle to be torn down and had a hunting lodge built in its stead. He later began commissioning enlargements of the small hunting lodge, turning it into a small chateau. Charles VI used Wesloderia extensively as a private royal retreat, at the same time far and near to the capital, Geneva. In the reign of Phillip VIII (1622-1626) a massive remodeling project was ordered, but Phillip VIII died before he could see his project finished. His brother, Louis XIII (1626-1660), envisioned creating a new official residence for the Imperial Family, one that could show off the architectural prowess of the Alexandrians. In two years, Emperor Louis XIII spent no less than one million five hundred thousand livres divided between the extension of the park, reconstruction of the buildings, and embellishment of the apartments, which had until then been very plain. From then on, as shown by paintings of the era, Wesloderia gradually took the proportions and appearance that we see today.

File:Gardens wesloderia.jpg
The central axis of Wesloderia's park seen from the Bassin de Diane centered on the château

Francis Joseph II (1660-1702, 1705) continued his father’s work on Wesloderia. The different phases of the work ordered by Francis Joseph II correspond to changes in the life of the Emperor, and perhaps, his passions. From 1668 to 1715 (suspended only by the Revolution of 1702), which saw the inauguration of the Imperial Chapel of Saint Genevieve, Wesloderia was in permanent phase of construction. In 1715, Wesloderia became the official seat of the monarchy, apart from a period corresponding to the Revolution of 1774 and the first eight years of the reign of Francis Joseph III. Francis Joseph II’s successors did not dramatically transform the general appearance of Wesloderia; nevertheless, the many alterations to both the gardens and the apartments would finally change the face of the original Imperial dwelling.

The Petit Campan.
The Grand Campan.

Francis Joseph III grew particularly attached to Campan where he created a new menagerie between 1789 and 1793, the Alexandrian Pavilion in 1790, and the Petit Campan in 1801, together with a botanical garden famous the world over.