Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schonbrunn) and its large park extends to the end of the Wienzeile, southwest of Vienna. Former residence of the Habsburgs, stands majestically in an area where previously erected three castles, which were devastated in two fires and sieges of Vienna, the last in 1683.
Photography by Ivan C
The beautiful fountain:
Emperor Matthias II after 1612 resided in the castle that his brother Rudolf II ordered its reconstruction in 1605, after a raid in Hungary. During a hunt, Matthias II found in the woods a beautiful fountain (Schoner Brunnen) that eventually gave its name to the place: Schönbrunn. But the fashion of the palace for the imperial family actually began with Eleanor of Gonzaga, wife of Ferdinand II (1619-1637). Italian princess castle expanded and renovated the garden to make it his summer residence, where he gave lavish parties.
After the victory of 1683, which finally drove the Turks from Europe, the Habsburg Empire entered a period of peace and prosperity. Leopold I and the chief linked to the imperial court took years to build magnificent palaces in Vienna. As Schönbrunn had been destroyed during the siege of 1683, Leopold I decided to replace it with a palace worthy of the recovered power of the Habsburgs. He called Fischer von Erlach, Austrian architect, but trained in Italy, was modeled after Versailles, a huge palace under construction since 1661, where Louis XIV lived like an absolute monarch.
The project presented Fischer von Erlach Leopold I in 1690 exceeded Versailles for their excesses, but the emperor refused since there was no tradition of giving such Hapsburg pomp and luxury, being a race of a rather austere. The second project, much more modest and restrained, it was accepted, the new building would have “only” to 1,441 rooms!
Draft von Erlach:
The work continued long after the death of the emperor and the architect. Much less solemn than the official palace Hafburg, Schönbrunn soon became a favorite residence of the Habsburgs. It should be borne in mind that until well into the nineteenth century the palace was surrounded by forests and separated from Vienna a few kilometers. Life in Schönbrunn was very different to the one carried at Versailles (which was ruled by a strict etiquette), especially as the castle is not home to the court.
The eagles of Napoleon:
The front gate of the castle of Schönbrunn is flanked by two obelisks crowned Napoleonic eagles. The French Emperor had them put in his two stays in Vienna, after entering the capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire after winning the battle of Austerlitz in 1805 and Wagram in 1809. Napoleon stayed in the same room as the Empress Maria Theresa used long ago.
Photography by infraredhorsebite
Adorned with two major sources (made earlier by the Empress Maria Teresa), representing the great rivers and kingdoms outside the Empire, the courtyard of Schönbrunn was the scene of major events: march saw the Grand Army of Napoleon I, welcomed Russian rulers, Britain and Austria at the Congress of Vienna, Hitler’s army, as well as Kennedy and Khrushchev in 1961, who gathered in the room called the Hall of Mirrors at a critical moment of the Cold War.
By buying tickets to visit the rooms of the palace, we can choose between the Grand Tour (half hour), which will cross the 40 royal apartments, or Imperial Tour, cheaper and includes 22 of the royal apartments, but are main so this tour is more than good. If you want the full pack all Sisi able to buy a ticket, which includes the Grand Tour, access to the Imperial Furniture Collection and special access to the winter palace of the Habsburgs: Hofburg.
Photography by nonanet
To reach Schönbrunn, we can take the subway U4, Schönbrunn line (for the palace) or Hietzing (to go to the zoo is in the gardens).
Good trip to Austria!