Aug 21

Schonbrunn Palace (Palatul Schonbrunn)

Vienna definitely has a lot to offer to the wandering tourist, interested in exploring the world, or at least a small segment of it, and in enticing the eye with wonderful monuments and the mind with the impressive historical facts, stories or legends that revolve around the respective touristic attraction.

One of the places which are worth visiting in Vienna is Schonbrunn Pallace, a beautiful edifice, emblem of the Rococo architectural style. Since the second half of the 20th century, from the 1960s onward, the construction has been recognized as the important cultural monument it is and the one of the main tourist attractions in the Austrian capital city.

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Not only is the palace an impressive construction which clearly emphasizes the tasteful sense for architecture and style shared by the successive monarchs from the Habsburg dynasty that owned the palace, but there are also the surrounding gardens which should be mentioned. These exude taste and richness, also alluding to the ambitions of their owners through the specific arrangement followed in their creation.

The domain was initially used as a hunting ground for the court and the Roman Emperor in power, Maximilian II, also ordered that a mansion be constructed on the premises. The present name attached to the palace was originally used to describe the artisanal well which supplied the court with the necessary water. Schonbrunn is actually translated as “beautiful spring.”

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It was under Eleonora Gonzaga, the wife of Ferdinand II, that the palace was erected. She had decided to retreat to this place after the demise of her husband and had given order for the imperial building to be erected – this occurred between 1638 and 1643.

The gardens are definitely worth your attention. Why? Because they consist of beautiful Greek and Roman sculptures, fountains, a botanical garden, a French garden and an English garden. Probably the most enticing aspect of the park is the maze.

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There is a feeling almost indescribable about this specific labyrinth as it allows visitors to venture within the green network of alleys and solve its mystery. The maze has been arranged especially for the purpose of entertaining the tourists and offering them a one-of-a-kind experience. There are numerous games available within the hedges, addressed both to adults and children, which put the mind to work in the attempt to solve riddles.

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The labyrinth extends over a surface of 2.700 square meters. Some are drawn to the different types of activities it offers such as the “pole climbing” game in which an individual climbs up a pole and rings a bell upon reaching the top, or the kaleidoscope which allows people to view themselves in different shapes and colors – due to the reflection conveyed by the multiple mirrors which form the kaleidoscope. But probably the majority is interested mostly in discovering the “secret of the labyrinth” and in traversing the maze, reaching their destination – on a specially arranged platform from whence the entire maze can be looked upon.

But the estate includes much more than just the palace and the gardens. There is an Orangerie, which was constructed back in 1755, and a palm house which are bound to capture your eye.

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The immense beauty of the Schonbrunn Palace brought about its recognition as a monument which is worth inscribing on UNESCO’s World Heritage List – something which occurred in 1996.

With so many things to offer it is no wonder that the palace is visited by millions of tourists. In 2010, 2.5 million visitors came to the Schonbrunn complex. People can buy tickets in advance if they access the official website of the palace. This will give you the certainty that they will be able to take a tour of the ensemble in a specific day and at a given time. Besides visiting the already mentioned attractions, one can also indulge himself/herself with a concert of classical music where the partitions of Mozart as well of other classics can be heard.

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.

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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)

 

http://www.gothereguide.com

 

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.