Wien, part II – palaces

Everyone who intend to visit Vienna knows there are 3 most significant places that must be seen – Schönbrunn, Hofburg and Belvedere. Palaces that were in a possesion of Habsburg imperial family.
Habsburgs were amazing family. They ruled for over 650 years and in different ages they owned a lots of parts of central, west and south Europe. The family was named after Habsburg castle in Swiss canton Aargau and later were divided acording to the part of Europe they ruled. Rudolph I, king of Germany started their imperial rule in 13th century. The rulers of former Austria-Hungary empire were from Habsburg-Lorraine line of family and Vienna was ther capital city.
Schönbrunn is the biggest and probably the most beautiful palace in Vienna. In 1569, Holy Roman emperor Maximilian II purchsed a place with little river Wien and built there a mansion called Katterburg. He ordered that area to be a hunting place for imperial family members. Emperor Leopold I gave order to architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach to build a palace in 1696 and it was finished after 3 years. The palace was a gift to empress Maria Theresa of Austria and she decided, after she was crowned, that it will be her summer residence. After that, Schönbrunn remained an important centre of Austria`s empire and imperial family until 1918. and abdication of Charles I of Austria. During 19th century the palace was main place where another significant ruler of Austia-Hungary lived – emperor Franc Josef I of Austria. He spent almost all of his life there and died in his sleeping room in November 21th, 1916.

Today, Schönbrunn is important tourist site in rich Vienna`s history. First floor in the main palace building is open for visits and 40 rooms are preserved and decorated as they were during 18th and 19th century.
Hofburg palace is placed in the center district of Vienna and was another palace made for imperial family. The first section was made in 13th century. The oldest section forms a square surrounding Schweizerhof (Swiss Court). Later, palace was expanded according to the needs of imperial family so it contains few styles, mostly Renaissance. Beside Schweizerhof, there are gothic chapel (Burgkapelle 15th century), the treasury (Schatzkammer – contains the collection of 1000 years of treasure), music chapel (Hofmusikkapelle) and imperial kitchen in the lower section. In 18th century Imperial Library was added to the complex and with St. Augustine’s Church (Augustinerkirche) now it presents one of the most beautiful locations in Vienna. In 1809, during Napoleonic Wars, part of the castle was demolished. In 1817 inside new walls three gardens were laid: the private Imperial Castle Garden (Burggarten), Heroes Square as a lawn with boulevards, and the People’s Garden (Volksgarten) with the Temple of Theseus (Theseustempel). Last expansion was in 1860. after the demolition of city walls. In newer history, there is one interesting detail: on March 15, 1938, Adolf Hitler proclaimed from the balcony of the New Castle onto Heroes’ Square, the “Anschluss” (link-up) of Austria into the Third Reich.

Next to the Hofburg, there are The Winter Riding School where the Lipizzaner stallions are trained in the Spanish Riding School and butterfly aviary (Schmetterlingshaus) created out of greenhouses built from 1901-1907.
In the 3rd district of Vienna, prince Eugen of Savoy built a palace complex named Belvedere. At first, in 1714. works in building what is today known as Lower Belvedere, started, not as a palace but like a garden villa. The bigger and more beautiful palace, Upper Belvedere, was built during 1720 – 1723. and between two buildings there is a beautiful park with lot of fountains and statues. Unfortunately, during my stay in Vienna, cleaning and preservation were performed so I couldn`t access every part of garden I wanted :awww:
In 1752. a whole complex was sold to empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and she was the first to name it Belvedere. Under Habsburg possesion a palace was further extended and became imperial picture galery. The last resident of the palace was archduke Franz Ferdinand.

There is one member of the Habsburg family I would like to mention once again. Her monument is placed between Kunsthistorisches museum and Naturhistorisches museum. It is this woman:

Maria Theresa of Austria. She was the only empress in the entire family and probably one of its most succesful rulers. Born in Vienna in 1717. she inherited her father Charles VI on the Austrian throne. She helped educational and financial reforms, promoted commerce and the development of agriculture, and reorganized the army, all of which strengthened Austria's resources. Married to Francis of Lorraine in 1736 at the age of 19, she had 16 kids. Her youngest daughter was archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, in history known as Marie Antoinette, a wife of French king Louis XVI.

More photographs of palaces in Vienna here.

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48 Responses to Wien, part II – palaces

  1. rose-marie says:

    Reminds me of the Medici family…

  2. Dacotah says:


  3. rose-marie says:

    Nice shots :up:.The long and interesting history of the Habsburgs sure has put its mark on the amazingly pompous buildings around Austria-Hungary.

  4. ricewood says:

    I never visited Wien – bur your entries make me feel that I have.Thank you.

  5. gdare says:

    "Money to get power, and power to guard the money"In some way they still live in policy of many governments 😆

  6. Spaggyj says:

    Hofburg Palace is beautiful! :eyes:

  7. gdare says:

    Carol – :)Rose – thank you; I have heard they have owned 67 palaces and castles; make me think how did they managed to disappear….

  8. gdare says:

    Alan – thank you, I am glad you liked it; maybe one day you will find an opportunity to go there; you should :)Kimmie – it is really beautiful; I just need more time to search through all the photographs I made there 🙂

  9. attilasoul says:

    40 rooms, huh? They lived impressively! Interesting history, and it must have been a huge experience to see it with your own eyes! Nice photos, and thanks for the history lesson. :up:

  10. Furie says:

    It's beautiful. I remember that statue. :happy:

  11. Cois says:

    :up: thanks for the lesson.. :p

  12. gdare says:

    Tilla – and this is just a public part; but there are two more buildings almost doubling the space; but not public, probably only offices of services that take care about palace :eyes:Mik – thank you; have you been in Vienna?Clint – I spent a lot of time researching through Internet and some printed material they gave me when I bought a ticket; for Schönbrunn it costed about 15 eur so I expected some more material than just a ticket :left: on the leaving a Hofburg palace I have bought a small book about Franc Josef I, the last important ruler of Austria-Hungary :happy:

  13. Furie says:

    I didn't think so but I've definitely seen that statue. Spent a bit of time in Austria quite a few years ago, staying in some lil village outside Salzburg (I think). I remember it was close to a waterfall that blew me away. Loved it there and I'd kill to live there. I never did understand how there never seemed to be any bins around yet I never saw any litter.

  14. gdare says:

    Mik – I have never been in Salzburg but in Vienna it is almost the same thing, I was holding a piece of paper in my hand because I couldn`t find garbage bin; I walked about 200m to find first; but they managed to keep the town clean – with all those hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit Vienna, if everyone drops just one paper or a plastic bottle it would be covered in litter in about a month :yikes:You have probably been in transit through Vienna to Salzburg;Abbacus – you are welcome 🙂

  15. Abbacus says:

    Thanks for a very interesting and informative post.

  16. Furie says:

    I don't really remember that much about it to be honest. Some gigantic waterfall we visited that was absolutely gorgeous. A few architectural miracles. The lodge we stayed in had cable car access. I do remember the food though. :happy:

  17. Cois says:

    Of course.. :chef:.To be honest I wouldn't go out researching something but would rather prefer someone telling about their experiences.. Makes it more interesting I'd think as the 'personal touch' is added..

  18. gdare says:

    Mmmmm food…. yes… One afternoon I was in Salm Bräu restaurant, in 3rd district, near Belvedere. A food was excellent, whatever you order you get a pile of it and it was tasteful, even though I am not familiar with cranberry jam and sweet sour cream all over meat and potatoes. But it was excellent. I ordered something that was called Jager-Pfandl and according to menu it was " juicy game stew in a mushroom and red-wine sauce, with herb spaetzle (small flour dumplings)". Pfandl means frying pan and my order was actually served in it and since there were no plates I realized I was supposed to eat from this. So I did 😀 I visited few more restaurants but I think this one was the best. They even have their own brewery :beer:I have found a link: – nothing can be compared to personal experience. Period. I would like to recommend you to travel as much as you can and to visit a lot of countries. Life is too short.

  19. SittingFox says:

    Absolutely magnificent – buildings and pictures! Great job :up:I've had a couple of brief visits to Austria but I've never explored it properly. Did you fly there? If so, did you see the Alps from the plane? 🙂

  20. gdare says:

    Adele – I did fly but only over the Pannonian Plane, no Alps there. But when I was in Cobenzl, a hill near the Vienna, I could see Schneeberg mountain (2076m) in a distance, south west from town :happy:

  21. edwardpiercy says:

    Ah, I had to look that one up. Not quite as familiar with that particular Strauss!But speaking of swords, did you run into any dueling pistols? I gather that was a favorite Austrian pastime.

  22. gdare says:

    Well, I am not much in opera thing (except MyOpera) but I will take it from you there is something comparable :DI was in Military museum too, and there was, among other things, a sword that belonged to Johann Josef Wenzel Graf Radetzky von Radetz, famous Austrian general. I suppose you have heard about his name 😉

  23. edwardpiercy says:

    A great tour, Darko. I can't help it, whenever I think of the Habsburgs I think of Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier.

  24. edwardpiercy says:

    It's been a while since I went waltzing. And then I just got into all sorts of trouble — this General offended my lady and I had to challenge him to a duel. 🙂

  25. gdare says:

    No one offended any of my ladies so I didn`t need to shoot anyone :PYou haven`t heard of Radetzky March? Strauss too 🙂

  26. gdare says:

    As far as I know he ided in age of 91. It seems he was very vital if he was interesting in ladies at that age 😛

  27. edwardpiercy says:

    Oh, I was talking about some other general. Good for Radetzky. That other pompous general, he felt the the bite of my English ball that morning, I'll tell you! :lol:(Ant that's "ball", not "balls". LOL)

  28. MizzMartinez says:

    I have been to Schönbrunn palace and to the The Winter Riding School! Lovely places! 😀

  29. gdare says:

    Impressive, right? 🙂

  30. MizzMartinez says:

    Ehrm…impressive? Well, yeah. But we have quite a lot up here that IS impressive! 😉 😉 :p

  31. gdare says:

    You were probably traveling there by travel agency. I must organize a trip by myself according to schedule I have received from Japan 🙂

  32. MizzMartinez says:

    YIKES! That is a lot of money. :left: We will try to find cheaper flights…we travelled to China for 600€ both of us (me and my mother) incl. hotel. :happy: Miracles do happen! 😉

  33. MizzMartinez says:

    You should come then! Why not have a MyOpera reunion? Two people are coming in January! 😉 😉

  34. gdare says:

    Well, at first I will go to Japan in november and I think it will empty all of my travelling budget. I will have to plan it in a years to come 🙂

  35. MizzMartinez says:

    You could come the year after, when André is getting here! :wink:I want to travel to Japan as well. How long are you staying there? How much did you pay for the ticket? We are probably going there in November as well. 😀

  36. MizzMartinez says:

    Well, yes. It was organized by a travel agency. And you are paying that much for…a camp? :eyes:

  37. gdare says:

    This is why I would like to see Stockholm too 😀

  38. gdare says:

    I am still waiting for a documents for visa so I haven`t pay anything yet. But I will fly with Lufthansa and it will cost me about 1100 eur. I will stay about 8 days in Yokohama, during a fencing trainings and competition. :happy:

  39. gdare says:

    No I will stay in a hotel too. But this is only for airplane ticket. A hotell will cost me additional 250 eur for 8 days, which is not much knowing we are talking about Japan. Also I will have some additional costs for trains and metro, but this is not much. This year I don`t intend to buy anything expensive 😀

  40. gdare says:

    I have been in Japan two years ago for the same occasion. Yokohama is not expensive as some European cities but Tokyo is. Very. Especilly if you are a tourist and don`t know where to buy things. My advice: don`t shop in Ginza (a district in Tokyo) if you are not ready to spend a lot of money :eyes:

  41. MizzMartinez says:

    By camp I meant "during a fencing trainings and competition". That is a LOT of money. It doesn't even cost so much to travel to Bolivia. Well, all 1100€ would be enough for the ticket, living and travelling there. :eyes: Have you been in Japan before? Is it VERY expensive?

  42. gdare says:

    Tokyo, Suzuki and Yokohama are in fact one big city, megalopolis, they are connected and if I wasn`t been told where a borderline between them is I would have never guessed. But, it takes about 30 minutes of riding by train to come from Yokohama (main) station to Tokyo station; or about 1:30 hours from Chiba (where airport Narita is) to Yokohama station, also by train or by shuttle bus. I am not sure how much is this in kilometers, Tokyo is a very big city :eyes:

  43. MizzMartinez says:

    How far from Tokyo is Yokohama situated?

  44. MizzMartinez says:

    Wow! I did NOT know about that! :eyes:

  45. gdare says:

    This is amazing country, you should go one day 🙂

  46. MizzMartinez says:

    I will. Hopefully in November of this year. 🙂

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