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Explore the architecture, design, history, and contents of five of the world's greatest buildings: a church (St. Peter's/Vatican, Rome), a castle (Ludwig's Castle, Bavaria), a palace (Buckingham Palace, London), a commercial building (Paris Opera), and a residence (Monticello, USA). At the turn of a page, their facades are lifted away to reveal stunningly splendid interiors. These magnificent buildings have simply never before been "opened up" in this way. Through the combination of visual elements -- photographs, drawings, cutaways, floor plans, expansive double gatefolds, lively text -- each building is rendered in what adds up to a unique personal portrait, with wonderful intricacy no camera could ever record. In one spectacular view of Buckingham Palace, we see all at once the salon where the Queen dubs knights, the dining room where world leaders toast on state occasions, the withdrawing rooms where ambassadors and citizens are received -- even the guard room where sentries stamp their feet back to warmth after a courtyard vigil. At the Paris Opera, the special artwork reveals the complete workings of the theater -- taking us through the lobby and the multi-tiered auditorium, the orchestra pit and stage, across the catwalks, flats, and flies where the nightly illusions are created. Complementing the visual feast are richly detailed captions and an authoritative text describing the people and events involved in creating each building, as well as anecdotes and other informational gems.
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