Palace of Nations in Geneva: description with photos, history, features and interesting facts

Palace of Nations in Geneva: description with photos, history, features and interesting facts
Palace of Nations in Geneva: description with photos, history, features and interesting facts

Geneva is a Swiss city located on the shores of the beautiful Lake Leman. This city is also called the capital of the world, because it is here that the most important international meetings take place and often in the Palais des Nations. It is in Geneva that the headquarters of the Red Cross and the UN are located. Today, out of 197 countries of the world, 193 are members of the UN. The palace receives not only representatives of international organizations, but also tourists.

Short description

The Palais des Nations in Switzerland is a whole complex of buildings and structures that were built gradually, from 1929 to 1938. The building itself is presented in neoclassical style. The project is the result of the joint efforts of five world-famous architects.

The entire complex is 600 meters long. In general, there are 28 thousand offices and 34 conference rooms. In addition to the UN Headquarters, the offices house the regional offices of UNESCO, the IAEA, the VOC, the WTO, FAO andother international organizations. Until 1946, the Palace was used exclusively as the headquarters of the League of Nations, and only in 1966 did the European branch of the UN appear here.

Lake Leman can be seen from the windows of the building, and the complex itself was built in Ariana Park. There is a cafe on the terrace of the second floor of the complex, but tourists do not get there, but employees can have a bite there, and at the same time enjoy the beauties of the lake.

Sculptures of the park

History Pages

The competition for the best project for the construction of the Palace of the League of Nations in Geneva was announced back in 1926. And 377 projects were presented, of course, from which it was quite difficult to choose. The commission selected the top 5 and invited the architects to develop a new, joint one.

In 1929, on September 7, the first stone of the building was already laid. And in 1933, in the completed part of the Palace, the secretariat of the League of Nations had already begun its work. By 1936, virtually all employees had moved into the new building.

Fountains of Geneva

Palace of the League of Nations

All member countries of the League of Nations were involved in the construction of the building. The interior decoration is made exclusively from materials provided by these countries.

At the time of laying the foundation, a time capsule was laid. The founding documents of the organization and the coins of all participating countries were invested in it.

By the time construction was completed, the influence of the organization had practically vanished, and on April 20, 1946, it was completely dissolved. The building was handed over to the UN, which completed the constructionseveral buildings.

palace of nations

Modern meaning

Today, about 8 thousand various congresses, conferences and meetings are held every year in the Palais des Nations. During the same period, the complex is visited by about 100 thousand travelers.

Exhibitions are held here on a regular basis, where you can see works of art from all over the world. Concerts are held and museum exhibits are exhibited, even private collections.

Representatives of the UN member states when visiting the complex give valuable gifts (paintings, frescoes or sculptures). Such items are transferred to the museum collection.

Repair of the buildings of the complex is mainly carried out at the expense of the participants of the organization, such investments are also considered as a gift.

swiss city with palace of nations

Broken Chair

The first thing that catches your eye when you approach the Palais des Nations is the Broken Chair sculpture. In fact, the building has a deep meaning. It was erected to show the whole world the importance of banning the use of anti-personnel mines, because of which people constantly lose their lower limbs in the world.

The sculpture appeared at a time when a convention was signed to ban such weapons and cluster bombs. At that time it was supposed that the composition would stand for only 3 months, but it has existed for more than 20 years.

Broken chair

Other attractions

The city in Switzerland with the Palais des Nations boasts many interesting places. NearThe Palace itself, in addition to the “Broken Chair”, you can see a composition in the form of a cannon with a tied muzzle, admire the fountains and well-groomed park area. The cannon is a symbol of the main direction of the UN - anti-war policy. Near the main entrance to the Palace there is an alley where the flags of all participating countries fly.

And if you're lucky, tourists will be able to see peacocks. In the park, they walk around completely fearlessly; no fences have been installed for them. The absence of fences is the will of the former owner of the land on which the park is now laid out. At one time, Raviyota de Riva bred peacocks and, after selling the land, asked the new owners to let the birds roam freely on their sites.

In the territory of Ariana Park there is an interesting sculpture in the form of a celestial sphere and it is called the “Armillary Sphere”. The composition was driven by a motor that no longer works. Once the sculpture rotated around an axis, the direction of which was towards the North Star.


Today, tours are conducted in more than 15 languages. In general, the tour lasts about 2.5 hours. Tourists will be able to see conference rooms, copies of the most significant documents that were signed by UN members. Visitors will learn about the greatest achievements in science, he alth and peacekeeping on the planet.

One of the most interesting places in the Palace is the Hall of Human Rights and the Alliance of Civilizations. Its design was created by the artist Miguel Barcelo. The guide will definitely provide an opportunity to visit the hallunder the name "Council of the Chamber", where some of the most significant documents were adopted. The hall itself is inlaid with frescoes by José Maria Sert.

conference hall

Interesting facts

Despite the fact that the Swiss city with the Palais des Nations has been known throughout the world since the last century, Switzerland itself became a member of the organization only in 2002. And for the period while the Alpine country was not a member of the UN, it contributed about half a billion francs to the budget of this organization.

Today, about 1.5 thousand Swiss citizens are employed at various levels of the United Nations structure.

An interesting fact is that the Swiss architect lost the building design competition. It was rejected due to the fact that the architect used the wrong ink, which needed to translate his ideas on paper. However, in the future, it was the innovative style of the architect Le Corbusier that was used to erect a number of buildings of the complex.

In the hall where the Human Rights Council meets today, 100 tons of paint alone were used to paint the walls, and about 18 million euros were spent on decoration.

Practical Information

You can get to the Palais des Nations by public transport by bus number 11, 5, 8 or tram number 15. Address: Place des Nations, Geneva 1202.

Tourists can get to the Palace only with a guide. You must have an identity document with you. Children under 6 years old are admitted free of charge, adults have a ticket priceat 12 CHF. There are benefits for certain categories of persons and for minors from 6 to 18 years old.

The Palais des Nations in Geneva is not just a large-scale building, but a place where world political issues are resolved. Therefore, it will be interesting to visit it.

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