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Olana, though not as massively grand as some of the homes built by the 19th-century industrialists, is surely the most unique of all the great Hudson Valley estates. A Persian fantasy perched on a hill high above the river, with stunning panoramic views, it was the home of the accomplished Hudson River school painter Frederic Church (1826-1900). Well traveled in the Middle East, Europe, and South America, Church made his home perhaps his most important work of art, an indoor and outdoor museum incorporating artifacts, design elements, and furnishings of his favorite places. He was particularly taken with Moorish-style architecture and design, which is reflected in the mansion's windows, courtyards, thick carpets, and decorative tile motifs; sumptuous parlors look like opium dens. The dark and heavy dining room, however, was meant to evoke a medieval castle. The landscaping on the 336-acre estate grew out of Church's romantic, painterly affection for the Hudson Valley. Inside is Church's collection of exotic treasures from around the world and a few of his most important paintings, such as his landscape of Petra in Jordan, as well as other works by Hudson River school painters like Thomas Cole. Inaugurated in 2009, the Evelyn & Maurice Sharp Gallery, a second-floor exhibition space, focuses on the Hudson River school and landscape painting of the Valley. Guided tours of the main floor and studio last 45 minutes; tours of the full house and gallery last about 1 hour. Tours (maximum 12 people) often sell out early in the day, and reservations are suggested, especially on weekends.