If you thought that castles stopped being built in the 18th century, you probably haven't heard about Hearst Castle in California. This American National and California historic landmark was constructed between 1919 and 1947 for the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Following Hearst's death in 1951, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California, and since then it had been maintained as a historic park.
Take a look into one of the most beautiful, antique and majestic estates in the United States!
|Hearst Castle was designed by architect Julia Morgan, a well-known architect in the early 20th Century due to her epic Californian architecture. Originally, Hearst approached Morgan with the idea of constructing a bungalow. Eventually, Morgan convinced Hearst to construct something a bit bigger, and in a unique Mediterranean Revival style that was rare for the period.|
|Hearst was an infamous collector of art and antiquities, and many believe that he built such a gigantic home in order to house his collection. For instance, in his private cinema, the walls were lined with sleeves of rare books he had collected. One of the most outstanding indoor pools built during that time, the Roman Pool, was modeled on a lavish Roman bath.|
|The Roman bath is decorated with thousands of topaz and gold mosaics that have been set into place in famously ancient designs. This is only one of two pools on the estate, and indeed the outdoor pool, also modeled on the architecture of ancient Rome and Greece, is one of the most magnificent in the entire world.|
|Hearst Castle contains 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms and extends over 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield and the world's largest private zoo.|
|The Gothic Library.|
In the 1920s and 1930s, invitations to Hearst Castle were highly coveted. Hearst an important national figure, owned the largest newspapers of the time -The San Francisco Examiner and The New York Journal.
|Many Hollywood and political figures visited the castle, including Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Charles Lindbergh, Clark Gable, Calvin Coolidge and Franklin Roosevelt among others. The guests were expected to attend formal dinners each evening, and during the day they were left to their own devices on the castle grounds to enjoy the acres of pools and gardens, as well as the zebras roaming the property.|
|When the estate was built, it was equipped with its own police force and fire department, so that in case of emergency, there was no need to wait for the state emergency services to show up. There was also a private power plant that was constructed to provide the property with electricity. Indeed, most of the estate's chandeliers have bare light bulbs, because electricity was still new when the castle was built.|
|Romanesque statues at the Neptune Pool, imported directly from Europe.|
|The Neptune Pool is the highlight of the estate, offering expansive views of the mountains, ocean and the main house. The pool's patio features the facade of an ancient Roman temple in front, along with many other ancient statues.|
The Neptune Pool was rebuilt three times before Hearst was satisfied. As a result of Hearst's particular taste, he never lived to see the estate completed and its construction spanned nearly 30 years.
Following Hearst's passing in 1951, the Hearst Corporation donated the estate to the state of California on the condition that the remaining Hearst family would be able to use it whenever they wished. The main estate is now a museum, but until today the Hearst family continues to use a certain house on the property as a retreat.