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12/17/2010 02:57 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The World's Most Gorgeous Palaces (PHOTOS)

We've covered the world's most beautiful castles on several occasions. Now, we turn to palaces, distinct from castles in that they are primarily places of leisure, designed to maximize the comfort of their inhabitants and impress visitors. A castle, on the other hand, is a fortified building designed to withstand enemy attacks and sieges.

These 25 gorgeous palaces, from Germany to Granada, Iran to China, are just a sampling of the magnificent structures that the royalty of the past (and in some cases, the present) call home.

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