With its wide avenues, noble palais and imperial castles, Vienna is an open-air monument to the Habsburg Empire.
Some of the most beautiful and interesting castles are here.
The architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach designed the baroque complex for the Emperor Leopold I. The various wings of the palace contain more than 1,400 rooms, many of which have been maintained in their original condition: mostly in Rococo style with wall ornamentation in gold leaf.
The Palace Theater where Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once performed is located in one of the side wings of the palace.
This is where Mozart lost a contest for composers to his perpetual rival Antonio Salieri.
Schönbrunn Park, Vienna (Photo: Maximilian Just)
Behind the palace is the Schönbrunn Park. The ample, sculptured park design from the time of Maria Theresa has mostly been maintained in its original Baroque style.
From the 13th century to the end of World War I, the Habsburgs reigned over their large, multinational empire from Vienna.
Each of the emperors expanded the Hofburg by another new wing. And thus the Hofburg grew to be a city within a city with more than 5,000 people living and working there.
Hofburg, Vienna (Photo: Maximilian Just)
Today numerous museums and imperial collections of international importance can be found in the Hofburg.
Alongside the Vatican and the Louvre, Vienna’s Hofburg is one of the largest royal residential complexes in Europe.
Lower Belvedere Castle
The original design envisioned the Belvedere as a garden palais. The architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt was commissioned by Prince Eugene of Savoy in 1714 to build the palace, and he completed the Lower Belvedere just two years after the beginning of construction.
Lower Belvedere, Vienna (Photo: Maximilian Just)
Only a few of the rooms of the Lower Belvedere were planned as residential rooms. Most of the space was used for the Orangery and the Palace Stables.
You can find the whole story with maps and more interesting facts in the section Extra Walks for Special Interests of our guidebook.
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Vienna Under The Surface – Palaces, Streets and Squares