Sometimes referred to as the “Beautiful Spring,” Schönbrunn Palace is a unique monument of Viennese architecture and one of the most important tourist destinations in Austria.
Located in the nation’s capital, the palace served as a summer residence for the Habsburgs. It was built between 1696 and 1712 in Baroque and Rococo styles, and its vast interiors are beautifully furnished and richly decorated.
The palace is surrounded by a 160-acre park and conceals fountains, viewing pavilions, a palm house, and a zoo. As an outstanding example of palace and garden architecture, the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This remarkable place attracts millions of tourists every year, delighting them with its beauty, history, and atmosphere that comes alive along the corridors and alleys of Schönbrunn Palace.
It is located in the city’s 13th district, Hietzing (the district is also home to the Polish and Turkish embassies). It is a densely populated urban area with many residential buildings and also includes large areas of the Vienna Forest with Schönbrunn Palace.
It had been in their possession since 1569, when Emperor Maximilian II bought a vast estate in Khattermühle, encompassing a hill and the Vienna River valley, and turned it into hunting grounds. A hunting mansion was built in the center of the estate, and wild boar and deer were hunted in the surrounding forests.
Fish ponds and a pheasantry were also established there, and exotic fowl were raised, including turkeys and peacocks.
Is it attributed to Emperor Matthias, who, while hunting in the area, came across an artesian spring and, captivated by its sight, exclaimed “Beautiful!”
Eleonora Gonzaga was the second wife of Emperor Ferdinand II. After his death, she became the owner of the estate. Eleonora spent a lot of time there recreationally, but she also loved hunting.
She built a palace at the estate, which was already officially called Schönbrunn (the name Schönbrunn first appeared on an invoice dated 24th January 1642, for the delivery of wood). The palace building suffered severely during the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683. The entire complex was destroyed-the castle, along with its annexes and gardens, was unusable.
The existing palace was remodeled and expanded by two architects, Nikolaus von Pacassi and Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg. The Baroque palace became the summer residence of kings and emperors of the empire from the mid-18th century until the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. And the summer residence of the Austrian imperial family - from 1804 until the end of World War I.
During this time the palace, with its court of several hundred people, was the cultural and political center of the Habsburg Empire.
It is the largest and one of Austria’s most important and most visited cultural properties.
It was also the place of his death in 1916, at the age of 86. After the fall of the Habsburg monarchy in November of 1918, the palace passed to the Austrian Republic and was preserved as a museum. In 1996, the palace and its gardens were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a remarkable Baroque ensemble and an example of a synthesis of the arts (Gesamtkunstwerk).
It has a distinctive yellow façade since it was Maria Theresa’s favorite color. It has 1441 chambers (only 45 are open to the public), whose interiors are kept in Rococo style - they are covered with numerous frescoes, stucco, and ornaments gilded with 14K gold and decorated with Bohemian crystal mirrors and faience stoves.
The palace’s representative and guest rooms are beautifully decorated and furnished. Emperor Franz Joseph’s living chambers and offices have modest and simple décor.
Mozart’s concert as a six-year-old “child prodigy” probably took place in the palace’s Mirror Room or the adjacent Pink Room. The concert took place before Empress Maria Theresa and the court. According to eyewitness accounts, after the recital little Mozart jumped into the empress’s lap, hugged and kissed her, which caused her great joy.
Joseph Haydn also gave concerts at the palace.
It is a decorative architecture structure built in 1775 to a design by Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg as a temple of fame, a monument to the just war that led to peace. It is the main eye-catcher in the garden.
The Glorieta later served as the dining and banquet hall and breakfast room of Emperor Franz Joseph I. The dining hall was used until the end of the monarchy; today it houses a café. There is a viewing platform on the roof with a view of Vienna.
Here, on 15th December 1805, the Treaty of Schönbrunn was signed between Prussia and France, and on 14th October 1809, the Peace of Schönbrunn was signed between France and Austria, as a result of which the lands of the Duchy of Warsaw were expanded to include the territories of the Third Partition of Poland.
In 1815, Schönbrunn was the site of the Congress of Vienna. Also in the palace, on 11th November 1918, the last Emperor Charles I signed an act of abdication and renunciation of claims to the Habsburg possessions in Austria.
He was proclaimed emperor at the age of 18 and remained so until he died in 1916. Reigning for nearly 68 years, he surpassed every other ruler of his dynasty. Franz Joseph’s death, along with military defeat, marked the beginning of the breakup of Austria-Hungary, which took place in the fall of 1918. Franz Joseph I was the last European emperor to die while still in his empire.
The emperor was buried in the Imperial Crypt, also known as the Capuchin Crypt, located on the Neuer Markt below the Capuchin monastery. The Imperial Crypt is the burial place of the Habsburg and Habsburg-Lorraine.
The prince, who struggled with lung problems from an early age and eventually contracted tuberculosis, died in 1832 at the age of 21 at Schönbrunn Palace. In the room where the prince lived and died, there is his death mask and a preserved chubby lark, which was his beloved bird.
The prince’s body was preserved and buried in the imperial crypt under the Capuchin Church in Vienna. His heart was buried in the Habsburg crypt (the Loretto Crypt in the Augustinian Church in Vienna) and his entrails in the prince’s crypt of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
High politicians, as well as war invalids, were given their rooms in the palace. Three rooms in the east wing were available to scouts (Austrian Scout Association). An orphanage for war orphans was also established there.
In 1922, 70 former court horses were housed in the palace, in connection with the conversion of the former court stables into a market square.
The palace theater, which was converted into a furniture warehouse before World War I, was reused by the Burgtheater in 1919. Since 1929, it has housed the Max Reinhardt Seminar, an acting school.
He reportedly detested “imperial splendor.”
This prevented the looting of the palace property. Soviet troops who occupied the area in the Battle of Vienna in April 1945, in this case, behaved in an exemplary manner, with no devastation or looting.
The palace has 1441 rooms of various sizes. The part that does not belong to the museum is rented out as apartments to private individuals.
In 2016, Schönbrunn had about 3.7 million visitors, while the park and its facilities had about 5 million more, for a total of about 8.7 million visits per year.
With a total length of 111 meters, a width of 28 meters, and a height of 25 meters, the palm house houses some 4500 plant species, only some of which are planted permanently, most of which are displayed as flowering potted plants depending on the season.