Jul 12

Hohensalzburg Castle (Castelul Hohensalzburg)

The Hohensalzburg Castle is located in Salzburg, Austria. Constructed on the Festungsberg Mountain in the 12 century by the order of the archbishops of Salzburg, the castle is known at present as the most important landmark of the Austrian city.

The archbishops have seen to the permanent preservation and improvement of the edifice as the centuries went by and because of this, we have today the possibility to gaze on one of the most imposing castle in all of Central Europe.

The castle measures 250 m in length and 120 m in height, being one of the largest medieval castles on the European continent.

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Construction

The construction work began in 1077 and it was designed solely for defensive purposes. This was obvious from the original plan which consisted solely of an outer wall made out of wood. At the time of the Roman Empire, the archbishops began to expand the castle, having in mind the protection of their riches.

Political interests played an important role in the development of the castle, as the archbishops in power had to take into consideration that their enemies might strike them when they least expected. So an accurately constructed fortification was the key in these matters.

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The situation in which the Hohensalzburg Castle was sieged was singular in all of its history. This occurred in 1525, during the Peasants’ War, when workmen (miners, farmers) as well as other townsmen wanted to overturn the power of Prince/Archbishop Matthaus Lang. But they failed in their attemp as the castle could not be taken.

During the Thirty Years’ War, the castle underwent considerable modifications as it was further strenghtened so as to better serve its defense purpose.

Beginning from the late 19th century, Hohensalzburg was subjected to several restoration works and step by step transformed into an important tourist attraction.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the castle was used as a jail in which prisoners of WWI (mostly Italians) and Nazi activists were kept locked.

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Structure

The castle is equipped with a courtyard and is consists of multiple wings. It is impossible to accurately describe the various rooms in just a few words as the description would not do them justice. But this article will give insight into some of the chambers located in Hohensalzburg Castle.

In the latter years of the 15th century, the third floor of the Castle was constructed and it consisted of beautiful apartments rooms which were meant for celebrations and official events. The archbishops found accomodation at the first floor, so by no means were they to dwell at the third floor.

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Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach wanted to enlarge the construction even more so he had 4 colossal columns added on the right sight of the castle and used them in the construction of a veranda.  The majority of the rooms had the ceiling in the shape of a sunken panel, divided into squares. In the middle of each of the squares, the architects added gilded buttons, which were meant recall of the sky dotted with shining stars.

The Golden Hall, as this room is named, has a long beam sustaining the ceiling. The reason for which this precise detail is mentioned is that the beam traverses the entire length of the ceiling, measuring 17 m, but more importantly it has several coats of arms painted on it. The escutcheons belong to the Holy Roman Empire, to the Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach, as well as to the most dominant German cities and dioceses that were in one way or another linked to Salzburg.

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Golden Chamber

There is one room which stands out from all the others: the Golden Chamber – and this is due to the splendid furnishes that are found here. On both sides of the room, near the walls, one can find benches artistically adorned with elements pertaining to the natural world, more precisely to the plant and animal life. Thus we can find grapes, shrubbery, vines, as well as details from the fauna.

Initially, the benches were sheltered either by leather or by different types of fabrics, but these coverings have not lived to see our time.  The walls also used to be decorated with leather drapery, but the interesting part was that the leather was covered in gold. However, this as well, did not manage to survive the passage of time.

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Bedchamber

The bedchamber is the most intimate room of a dwelling; this is an accurate statement regardless of the century in which it is uttered. So the bedchamber in the Hohensalzburg Castle is the most intimate room of the fortress.

Unfortunately, the original elements which constituted this room were subsituted in time by more contemporary ones. But there is a reminder of the glorious past: the plastering on the wall which is richly adorned, thus emphasizing the status of the person dwelling in that particular room. The superior part still bears the original elements of decoration: golden buttons and emblems, but the inferior part is unembellished. It is improbably that this was left as such, so the only valid explanation is that this particular segment had velvet, leather or some sort of textile emboidery on it that did not survived to our days.

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So the answer to the question: ‘Why is this a must-see tourist attraction?’ is obvious. The Castle reigns over the city from its high position on the Festungsberg Mountain, offering a breathtaking view of Salzburg.

The castle bear historical and cultural significance, giving tourists the opportunity to retrieve to a certain extent the past. More so, there is a museum located within the castle which is opened for visitations all year long. This is equipped with audio guides in the most widely used languages so you will have to problem comprehending that which is explained to you.

Jun 25

Mozarthaus (Casa lui Mozart)

The name of Mozart is known to everyone, even to those who are not that fond of classical music. But even so, it is unacceptable for individuals not to acknowledge the genius behind more than 600 works of music. Mozart is an emblem of classical, symphonical and opera music and the Austrian people can only be proud that such a gifted man came from among them.

Mozart lived in various place throughout Vienna, but only one is considered as the official residence of the great artist due to the fact that the edifice remained unchanged since Mozart’s life.

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Tourists who venture into the heart of Vienna – and who would deprive himself/herself of this treat? – are given the opportunity to visit one of the residences which Mozart called ‘home’ for a given period of time. The Mozarthaus is situated in the medieval part of the Austrian capital, alongside various churches, on Domgasse 5 Street.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart occupied the specific apartment during the happiest and most prolific part of his life (1784-1787). It is here where he composed “Figaro’s Wedding” and “Impresario.” The fact that he was quite fond with the apartment is obvious because he lived here the longest out of all the other residences he had.

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The first time the house was opened for visitors was in 1941, right in the tourmented times of WWII. The reason for this was that the Nazis wanted to use the 150 years anniversary since the death of the great composer to their benefit and this was done through propaganda.

The edifice was subjected to major restoration work in 2006 as a means to commemorate the artist – this having been the year when 250 years had passed since his death. Even though Mozart had only lived in a part of the building, more precisely in an apartment which comprised 4 rooms, two offices and an immense kitchen, at present, the entire edifice has been transformed into a museum – dedicated to the life and art of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

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But the museum is also aimed at portraying the period of time in which the artist lived, of paiting an image of the 18th century Vienna – the Late Baroque era, a time when the cultural domain flourished in all of Austria.

The exhibition encountered inside the museum offers relevant information about Mozart’s life, even about the less ‘attractive’ parts, such as his activities as part of the obscure freemasonry organization, his gambling activities, his drinking and women problems. But the focus lies on his music and on the overal musical tradition that ‘swept’ Vienna in the 18th century.

http://www.mozarthausvienna.at

 

The edifice is structured as follows: the basement and the downstairs comprise a café, a room where various evets are organized and a gift shop. The actual dwelling space where Mozart spend a part of his life is situated at the first floor and it is considered the most authentic part of the whole edifice. The second floor holds an exhibition dedicated to Mozart’s music. The third floor, in contrast to the 2nd one, which is dediated to Mozart the artist, is dedicated to Mozart the man, meaning that the information provided here is reflexive of his day-to-day activities, and more precisely to the addictions and problems he was confronting himself with.

If you really want to enter into the magical world of music, you should definitely opt for the combined ticket which grants you access both within the Mosarthaus and within the House of Music.

 

http://www.mozarthausvienna.at

 

Visiting hours:

The museum is opened on a daily basis from 10:00 until 20:00.

Fees:

Adults: 10.00 euros

Group ticket: 7.00 euros

Children under 14 years of age: 3.00 euros

Family ticket (2 grown-ups and maximum 3 children): 20.00 euros

Combined tickets – Mozarthaus and House of Music: 17.00 euros

Jun 14

Rathaus Vienna (Primaria Vienei)

One of the main attractions in Vienna is the City Hall (Rathaus) and the reason will become obvious once you glance on the beautiful edifice which is the epitome of the Gothic architectural style. Designed by Friedrich Schmidt, the building was constructed in the latter part of the 19th century, between 1872 and 1883.

What makes the City Hall distinguishable among the other edifices situated on Ring Boulevard is the architecture used in its design. While the other constructions combine various styles, each representative for particular historical periods (this is in fact what makes the boulevard so unique), the City Hall is true to one style, the Gothic one, which was specific to the historical timeframe in which the construction work took place.

http://blog.travelpod.com

 

The City Hall is reminiscent of the Gothic cathedrals due to the design of its towers. The gothic era coincided with the period in which cities saw a rapid growth – which also led to the development of a new social class, the ‘urban bourgeois.’  The name given to the City Hall, Rathaus, comes from one of the great symbols of Vienna, the medieval knight Rathausmann.

It is the statue of Rathausmann (that weights 650 kg and reaches 3.4 m in height) which reigns over Vienna from the top of the tower on which it is situated. The armor which dresses the knight had been inspired from the armor worn by Emperor Maximilian I. Gravity had its say, so the statue had to be counterbalanced with the help of an 800 kg sphere that helped the statue to remain erect on the top of the tower, even if the weather conditions might have been dire.

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In 1985, the statue needed to be restored and the workshop that undertook this project had come with a brilliant idea: the craftsmen that worked on the restoration of Rathausmann decided to create a duplicate of the sculpture. At present, this replica can be found in the Rathauspark, the park located in front of the City Hall.

At present, the Rathaus edifice is the main office for Vienna’s administrative department, where more than 2000 people work. Tourists are bound to be mesmerized by the impressive rooms where oftentimes are hosted different types of events such as balls, concerts or press conferences.

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What strike tourists upon entering the Council Chamber is undoubtedly its impressive chandelier which hangs from the ceiling of the 14 meters tall room. This chandelier is noteworthy not solely due to its dimensions (it measures 5 m in diameter), but also the multitude of lights that form it (213 in number). This item was not made out of parts, but it is a sole object in itself, reaching the stunning weight of 3,200 kg. Just to get an idea of its magnitude, you should know that people from maintenance can actually enter inside the chandelier when it is necessary to change the light bulbs – or more accurately, the lamps.

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Besides this item, tourists will also be enchanted by the beautiful decorations. The ceiling is architecturally designed as a sunken panel in the shape of a square and it is adorned with leaf designs made out of 22-carat gold. Right underneath the ceiling, the room is decorated with frescoes which illustrate various scenes from the Austrian history.

The Festival Hall, as the name suggests, was mainly used for balls, concerts, or other similar events. This room, as the Council Chamber, also impresses through its dimensions: 71 m in length, 20 m in width and almost 19 m in height. The room comprises several arcades which create the illusion of space.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Festsaal_Rathaus_Vienna_2007_001.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Festsaal_Rathaus_Vienna_2007_001.jpg

 

Inside the Festival Hall one can notice four portraits done in relief, tribute to four of the greatest composers: Mozart, Haydn, Gluck and Schubert. The wooden floor found inside this room is considered a monument and it is protected by law. The reason for this is that the flooring had been preserved throughout the centuries, meaning that the room has its original parquet made out of a special type of oak tree.

Another room within the City Hall of Vienna is the Senate Chamber. One noteworthy element inside this room is the fireplace crafted out of tin-glazed pottery located on the wall opposite to the entry door, which means that it is the first thing you will set your eyes on while entering the Senate Chamber. The decorative design of the room is truly impressive as it consists of walls exquisitely dressed in green silk damask and a ceiling decorated with tiles and golden ornaments. Right near the entrance door, tourists can admire the statuettes of Johann Strauss and Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller.

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Other focal points of Vienna’s City Hall are the two grand staircases. These have iron balustrades on which a multitude of colors are reflected as a result of the sunlight passing through the colorful decorated windows.

May 18

Stephansdom – St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Catedrala Sf. Stefan)

St. Stephen’s Cathedral, or Stephansdom, has survived many wars and has become the symbol of freedom for the Viennese people. The edifice constructed in the Gothic style has been built in 1147, but the tile roof, shaped as a diamond, has been added much later, in 1952.

The cathedral’s uniqueness is conveyed by the multitude of architectural elements comprised within the edifice: the arches, the alters, the painting, as well as the towers were all designated with a specific purpose in mind and they have a story to tell the beholder.

http://www.stephanskirche.at

 

The bell of the cathedral is one of the largest ones in the world and it has been forged out of the iron of a cannon which had been taken from the Turks in 1683. The bell tolls each year on New Year’s Eve, announcing the townsmen of the beginning of a new year.

The cathedral had been destroyed several times by fire but it had been reconstructed each time. The Second World Conflagration left its imprint on the cathedral, but even so, the edifice managed to evade a terrible fate, that of being completely destroyed by the German troupes who passed by it on their way back to Germany. The commandment stationed in town gave the order to the captain of the German soldiers to open fire on the cathedral and destroy it to the ground. But Captain Gerhard Klinkicht did not obey this order.

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But while the edifice managed to remain untouched for the time being, it was however severely damaged in 1945 when fire was opened in the vicinity of the cathedral as the Russian army invaded the town. The result was that the fires, which were unintentionally directed towards the cathedral, caused the roof to fall to the ground.

There were no real damages caused to the interior in as much that the majority of the artwork present within the cathedral managed to remain intact. The restoration work began almost immediately, but while the cathedral was partially open for visitation in 1948, it was finally restored in its entirety in 1952.

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St. Stephen’s Cathedral measures 107 m in length, 40 m in width and 136 m in height. In time, the coloration of the edifice was ruined due to pollution, transforming the white edifice into a grim looking construction. But the restoration work conducted most recently gave the cathedral its original color.

One of the most important elements of the cathedral is the multi-colored roof because it is extensively, but tastefully decorated. The surface of the roof measures 111 m and it is covered with an impressive number of glazed tiles. On the southern part, the tiles are arranged in such a way that they constitute a mosaic representation of the emblem of the Habsburg Empire (the double-headed eagle).

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The roof is so abruptly constructed that it is not necessary for it to undergo a periodic cleaning process made by men. The rain does this job perfectly. More so, in the cold season, there are rare deposits of snow on the roof.

The main section of the cathedral alone consists of 18 altars, with others being located in different parts of the edifice. Probably the most famous ones are the High Altar and the Wiener Neustadt Altar. The first one was constructed over a period of seven years (1641-1647) during the first restoration work conducted in which the cathedral was given a Baroque look.

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The altar, the work of art of Tobias Pock, was built solely out of marble. On each side of the altar, there are the representations of the following saints: St. Leopold, St. Florian, St. Sebastian and St. Rochus. But the monumental sculpture of the Virgin Mary, which is found above the altar, overcomes the other statues.  The second altar, the Wiener Neustadt Altar, was constructed in 1447 by the orders of Emperor Frederick III. This is found in the northern nave, just opposite the crypt in which its founder, Frederick III, was laid to spend its eternal sleep.

One of the most representative icons in the cathedral is the one representing the Virgin Mary with Jesus Christ (the Maria Potsch Icon). This is an icon realized in the Byzantine style and it depict the Mother of Christ pointing towards her child – a gesture that signifies that Jesus represents the path we ought to take in life (to follow him), while Jesus carries a rose with three flowers – a representation of the Holy Trinity.

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The story of how the icon got to St. Stephen’s Cathedral revolves around the a miracle which supposedly had occurred in 1696 – the Virgin Mary in the icon having shed real tears. Upon these incidents, the Austrian Emperor at that time, Leopold I, decided to transfer the icon from Hungary to the cathedral in discussion so as to protect it from the Muslims who had invaded the country.

The cathedral has several chapels, each with a well designated purpose. St Katherine’s Chapel is located right beneath the southern tower and it is used for the baptizing ritual.  Meditations and prayers are held in St Barbara’s Chapel (to the north), whereas the St. Eligius Chapel is used solely for prayer. All the vestiges of the cathedral are deposited in St. Valentine’s Chapel, among which a fragment of the tablecloth which was used at the Last Supper can be found.

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But besides the impressive altars, icons and treasures, St. Stephen’s Cathedral also hold numerous catacombs, tombs and crypts, all preserving the earthly remains of various saints and important official figures, such as the Emperor Frederick III or Prince Eugene of Savoy.

The grandeur of the edifice is really going to impress you, not to mention that you will be taken aback by the numerous works of art which adorn the cathedral.

May 09

Durnstein Castle (Castelul Durnstein)

All those interested in gaining more knowledge about the world history will be pleased to learn that in the heart of Austria lies one such marker of historical times. So if you are in this country do not hesitate to visit the Wachau region where the ruins of the Durnstein Castle are found.

While not much is left of the castle, except a desolate image of a once glorious edifice, the location bears touristic importance due to the historical weight it carries. It is said that the King of England, Richard the Lionheart was captured in 1193 by the Duke of Austria Leopold V and held prisoner in this castle, until he was rescued by his faithful minstrel Blondel de Nesle.

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Upon reaching the castle, you will first get to see the picturesque town of Durnstein which is surrounded by hills, thus entering into a tranquil setting where all the worries seem to be left behind. While the entire region has a lot to offer, it is the solitary castle which mesmerizes the tourists. It seems to spring from the rocks and reign over the valley. It is impossible to describe the image you are given the privilege of admiring once you ascend to the ruins. A feeling of liberation seems to take hold of your being.

 

History and Legend

Richard Lionheart did not manage to come out successful in the Crusade and he was on his way back to England when Leopold’s army captured him. He considered that a journey over land would be less dangerous than one over the sea, where there was a higher risk of being captured either by pirates or by his archenemy King Philippe Auguste of France. But luck was not on his side as he fell to the hands of Leopold.

 

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The Austrian Duke was a little baffled about what to do with the royal hostage so he kept him locked in the Durnstein Castle until a decision was to be taken about the future of this inmate. Leopold, in alliance with Henry IV, was planning to receive a huge ransom if Richard was to be set free.

It is here that the historical reality ceases and in its place comes the legendary rescue conducted by Richard’s troubadour. He had managed to escape the ambush in which his king was caught and he fled to England where he informed the people about the king’s terrible fate.

There were numerous attempts to discover where Richard was held captive but none had succeeded. Blondel then took it upon himself to find his master. He came up with an intelligent plan which would undoubtedly unveil the whereabouts of Richard the Lionheart.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org

 

He and Richard were the only two people acquainted with a specific song, so Blondel decided to sing this tune near each grand castle in the hopes that his master will give a response. Legend has it that, upon beginning the song near Durnstein Castle, the voice of Richard came through, singing the second verse. The story goes on with mentioning how Blondel came to Richard’s rescue, helping him escape his imprisonment.

But the reality was that the English army succeeded in tracing down their king and that the capturers negotiated his freedom.

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Even if the events have been documented and there is an evident inaccuracy in the legend presented above, this makes a good story nonetheless as it stresses out important traits such as friendship and loyalty. Just to understand the importance of these aspects, characteristic of human nature, it is enough to think that the legend has survived the passage of time, being transmitted from generation to generation.

Such moving stories, but also the historical events that took place within the walls of the edifice, make the Durnstein Castle such an important tourist attraction. It is precisely this that urges tourists to climb up the rocky path and admire the remains of the castle, but also the valley below.

May 02

Vienna’s Museum of Natural History (Muzeul de Istorie Naturala)

The Museum of Natural History, which has been constructed by King Franz I as a “Cabinet of Natural Sciences” for the Vienna Imperial Court, is a place where tourists can get insight into the history of the earth and the diversity of nature.

http://www.wn.com

 

The museum occupies the third position among the top largest museum in the world, being surpassed only by the New York and London Museums. The architects behind the project were Gottfried Semper and Carl Hasenauer who have designed the museum in 1748 as an annex to the Museum of Art History. The official inauguration occurred back in 1889.

The construction is the epicenter of Vienna and attracts millions of tourists every year. The edifice has a surface of almost 8.700 square meters and has more than 22 million pieces on exhibition. The array ranges from insects to precious stones and minerals, from extinct animals to animals threatened by extinction.

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The museum is definitely worth your time as you will have the opportunity to visit the Gem Hall where precious stones are on display, among which you can also admire a gigantic topaz which weights 117 kg, and the exquisite statue “Venus of Willendorf,” an ancient sculpture which has almost 25.000 “years of age.”

It is this small statue, but highly renowned that stands as a reminder of a forgone time – of the incipient stages of civilization. Another item reminiscent of the planet’s evolution is the skeleton of a Diplodocus (a large vegetarian dinosaur with an extremely long neck).

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If you are interested in evolution, then this is definitely the place to visit. The Dinosaur Hall is a specially arranged section of the museum where all sorts of skeletons of primitive animals are found. The hall also holds an accurate replica of an Allosaurus (a therapod dinosaur that lived in the late Jurassic Period).

The reproduction is actually developed based on scientific discoveries so there is no doubt that it presents the original to the core.  In order to make the model as realistic as possible, the developers have made it move and roar so as to capture the essence of the dinosaur.

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Tours are organized only accompanied by a guide but this is actually to your advantage as you will get valuable information about the objects on display. A highly appreciated moment in the tour is the visit to the museum’s roof which offers a beautiful image of Vienna.

So if you are ever in Vienna, you should make it one of your priorities to visit the Museum of Natural History as it is one of the most valuable museums in the world. It is impressive through the multitude of objects (located in 39 exhibition halls) which offer clear evidence of the evolution of the planet: of humanity, of the plant and animal life.

http://www.psrd.hawaii.edu

 

The museum was meant as the “the land of nature and its exploration” – this being the scope for which it had been developed by Franz I. Today, the people who conduct scientific research in behalf of the museum have the same objective in mind: they want to continue the legacy of the monarch.

Apr 25

Belvedere Palace (Palatul Belvedere)

The Belvedere Palace has been constructed for Prince Eugen of Savoia by the architect J.L. von Hildebrandt and reflects the Baroque architectural style. The palace is part of an immense estate which comprises beautiful parks and offers an impressive view over the old city.

The estate actually consists of two castles, the Upper Belvedere Palace, built between 1720 and 1722 and the Lower Belvedere Palace which was erected much earlier, between 1714 and 1716. It is in this smaller edifice that Prince Eugen resided. The two castles communicate through gardens which are decorated by the means of sculptures, water basins, wells, stairs and small waterfalls.

http://www.gothereguide.com

 

The entire ensemble reflects a theme of transcendence representing man’s journey from darkness towards the divine light. The death of Prince Eugen (in 1736) marks the moment when the estate becomes the property of the Habsburg family.

Upon entering the Lower Belvedere, tourists will find themselves in the Court of Honor and from then onwards, they will enter the Marble Hall. The Marble Hall was initially used for receiving guests (high officials). The way in which the walls are designed is representative for the triumphal arch architecture, a style selected as a reminder of Prince Eugen’s grand victories as a military commander.

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On the ceiling of the Marble Hall, visitors can admire a fresco artistically done by Martino Altomonte. The Hall has both antique and baroque sculptures, the latter belonging to the famous artist Domenico Parodi.

On the walls of Sala Terrena (the gorund floor), you can see paintings of the grotesque as this was the current in Vienna in the first decades of the 18th century. The ceiling is painted in the same manner (in the grotesque style) by Jonas Drentwett and it depicts the seasons and the 4 primordial elements.

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Overall, the original paintings have been maintained throughout the years. The only exception is one side of the edifice which has been badly damaged in a bomb attack during WWII. Because of this that particular part of the edifice had to be reconstructed.

The Upper Belvedere was transformed into an art gallery which held the imperial paintings from 1775 onward.

The Sala Terrena from the Upper Belvedere is enclosed by atlases in all of the four corners of the room. The structure of the room comprises 4 pillars which are pretty much essential to the edifice, as it prevents the hall from subsiding.

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The Upper Belvedere has an impressive ceremonial staircase which leads to the main floor. The decoration of the edifice is exquisite. On the right wall lies a stucco relief which reenacts the scene when Alexander the Great defeated Darius, while on the left side, there is an illustration of the moment when Darius’ wives were presented to Alexander.

The Carlone Hall was named after the artist who decorated the hall room, Carlo Innocenzo Carlone and consists of beautiful fresco depictions, which have been preserved to this day (the majority of them).

The Marble Hall of the Upper Belvedere is made up of two floors and it is colored in red-brownish tone due to the marble used to decorate it.

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Both of the palaces have been transformed into museums. The Lower Belvedere Palace has become the Austrian Museum of Baroque Art, whilst the Upper Belvedere houses the Austrian Art Gallery where visitors can indulge themselves with paintings dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. Paintings signed by well renowned artists, such as Van Gogh or Gustav Klimt, are on display at the museums. However, tourists are not allowed to take any photographs so all that is left is to imprint those images in their minds.

The first alpine garden on the European continent was designed in the Belvedere Park in 1803. Today, more than 4000 plants which are normally located in the Alps Mountains can be found in this garden.

http://vienna-photo.esem.sk

 

Tourists can visit the estate in whatever period of the year they desire, but in order to grasp the beauty of the gardens, you should definitely schedule your visitation for spring or the beginning of summer because that is when the majority of the flowers encountered here are in bloom.

The palace gained the name of ‘Belvedere’ during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa because of the impressive view in conveyed over the old city.

The Orangery (the Greenhouse) is in close proximity of Lower Belvedere and hosts the Modern Gallery.

The estate is famous for its gardens with their lakes, cascades, statues and flower arrangements. Access to the gardens is free of charge whereas access to the museums and the orangery is allowed only after covering a fee.
For the Romanian population, the palace bears not so positive connotations. Belvedere is the place where on the 30th of August 1940 an international document called the Vienna Diktat was passed. Through this document Romania was urged to yield to Hungary almost half of the Transylvanian territory.

Apr 19

Hofburg Imperial Palace (Palatul Imperial Hofburg)

Hofburg Imperial Palace is situated in Vienna, one of the most beautiful European capitals, and it has been the residence of some of the most important figures in the history of Austria.

History

The Hofburg Palace was the epicenter of the Habsburg Empire for more than 600 years. Throughout time it has evolved into one of the most valuable historical centers in all of Europe.

http://www.art.com

 

The Habsburg ruling began in the 13th century, at first there were the reigns of the Austrian region and from 1452, the emperors of the Roman Holy Empire.  When the monarchy was installed in 1806, they became emperors of Austria, a title kept until the regime fell in 1918.

The palace was initially a fortress, but it has changed throughout time as each emperor conducted further extension work on the edifice. At present, the asymmetrical construction has a surface of 240.000 sq. ft. and it has an impressive structure, comprising 19 interior courts, 18 wings, and 2.600 rooms. The palace still houses almost 5.000 people who work or live here.

http://www.gothereguide.com

 

Important historical events took place within these walls. For example, it was here where the emperor Joseph II came up with the revolutionary plan for the reform, where the Vienna Congress organized meetings, where lavish receptions and balls were organized and where the emperor Franz Joseph received important people.

Now, the Hofburg Palace holds the official office of the President of Austria, of the Prime Minister, as well as of the other ministers of the state.

The immense edifice has an impressive architecture where different styles can be noticed: from the Gothic style to the Art Nouveau style – and it is only natural for the palace to be architectonically diversified taking into account the different periods of time it passed through and the interventions performed by all the rulers of Austria.

Tourists have the possibility to walk through the private rooms where the emperor Franz Joseph and the empress Elizabeth lived, or to visit the common room and admire the beautiful design and decoration of the edifice.

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Amelienburg

This is a wing named after Amalie Wilhelmine, the widow of Joseph I. This section of the building, which was created as the dwelling of Rudolf II, is reflective of the late Renaissance style. Some of the elements which are noteworthy in this wing are the tower with the dome and the astronomical clock which adorns the front of the building.

Swiss Wing

This section follows the Renaissance architectural design and it is renowned for the Swiss Gate which is colored in red and black. On this gate, tourists can admire the emblem of the Order of the Golden Fleece and they can find out what titles bore Ferdinand I, as all of them are on display here.

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 Imperial Library

Initially, this building was not part of the Hofburg Palace. The library, placed on the other side of the ensemble, was constructed on the orders of Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, but it was his son Joseph Emanuel who completed the work in 1735.

Tourists can admire the artistically created fresco which covers the ceiling of the hall (done by Daniel Gran) and the sculptures made by Paul Strudel which represent the Habsburg emperors. These pieces of art make the Imperial Library one of the most significant artistic statements in Austria.

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Lorenzo Mattielli was the artist to adorn the exterior of the edifice with Attika statues. These are situated as follows: Pallas Athena, riding a chariot drawn by four horses, reigns over the main entrance, Atlas is situated on the roof (on the left side) and it is represented carrying the celestial globe and having the allegories of Astrology and Astronomy by his side. Also on the roof, but opposed to Atlas, lays Gaia, carrying the terrestrial globe and having Geometry on one side and Geography on the next.

These are only three of the buildings which can be visited inside the Hofburg Imperial Palace. People going to Vienna should not pass the opportunity to visit this place where history and art blend and form a luxurious edifice.

Hofburg is opened every day of the week in the interval:

  • 9:00 – 17:30 (September – June)
  • 9:00 – 18:00 (July – August)

 

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Tickets

There are four types of tickets you can buy, depending on the places you wish to get access to:

1. The Hofburg ticket allows you to visit the imperial suits, the silver collection and the Sisi Museum. The price depends on the age of the visitor:

  • Adults: 9,90 euros;
  • Children aged 6 to 18: 5,90 euros;
  • Students aged 19 to 25: 8,90 euros;
  • Groups of children aged 6 to 18: 4,90 euros.

 

2.The Sisi ticket provides access to three tourist attractions: the Hofburg Palace, Schonbrunn Palace (access to 40 rooms), and the collection of imperial furniture. You will also be spared of having to wait in line in order to get access in the palace. The price of the ticket:

  • Adults: 22,50 euros;
  • Children aged 6 to 18: 13,50 euros;
  • Students aged 19 to 25: 20 euros;
  • Groups of children aged 6 to 18: 11,50 euros.

 

3. The ticket for the silver collection: 2,5 euros;

4. The ticket for the imperial suits includes access to the private apartments of Franz Joseph I and the Empress Elizabeth. The price for the ticket is:

  • Adults: 12,40 euros;
  • Children aged 6 to 18: 6,90 euros;
  • Students aged 19 to 25: 11,40 euros;
  • Groups of children aged 6 to 8: 5,90 euros.

 

Tourist will benefit of an audio guide which is available in 8 languages of international circulation: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Magyar, Japanese and the Czech language.