Location: Vienna, Prinz Eugen Str 27 Map
Entrance Fee: €16, children free
Prinz- Eugen- Strasse 27
Tel. 01- 795 570
Trolley: 0,18, D, 71
Open: 10am- 6pm Tue- Sun (Good Friday, Dec 24 & 31: 10am- 3pm)
Closed: Jan 1, May 1, Nov 1, Dec 25
Tel. 01- 795 570
Trolley: 71, D
Open: 10am- 6pm Tue- Sun (Good Friday, Dec 24 & 31: 10am- 3pm)
Closed: Jan 1, May 1, Nov 1, Dec 25
The Belvedere Palace in Vienna is a palace complex built by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt (1668–1745) between 1714 and 1723 for Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736) (since 1850 in the Landstraße district). The Upper Belvedere and the Lower Belvedere (named because of their location on a slope south of what was then the city) form a baroque ensemble with the connecting gardens. The two palace buildings now house the collections of the Belvedere (Austrian Gallery Belvedere) and rooms for temporary exhibitions. On May 15, 1955, the Austrian State Treaty was signed in the Upper Belvedere.
Beginning in 1697, Prince Eugen had his city palace built by Johann
Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in Himmelpfortgasse in the walled city of
Vienna. In 1702 Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt was commissioned by the
builder to complete the palace.
Neighbors and “Architect Swap”
The winter palace was only partially completed when Prince Eugene commissioned Hildebrandt in 1714 to build an additional garden palace for him outside the walled city. From 1697, the prince had bought a property right next to one of his military-political opponents, Heinrich Franz von Mansfeld. Mansfeld had a palace built by Hildebrandt, the shell of which was completed by 1704. However, Count Mansfeld died in 1715 without having completed his palace. Between 1717 and 1728, its area was developed into a palace and garden for the Schwarzenberg princely family.
However, Prince Schwarzenberg did not continue to have Hildebrandt, who was now working for his neighbor Prince Eugen, oversee this redesign or completion, but commissioned Eugen's former contractor Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.
Prince Eugene's summer residence
A pleasure building erected in 1694-1697, which Prince Eugene had acquired with the property, was converted by Hildebrandt into the Lower Belvedere in 1714-1716. Prince Eugen then used to live here in the summer (see below for building details). After the prince's death, the palace passed from his heiress to the imperial family. In 1806, when Napoléon I threatened to invade Tyrol, the so-called Ambras Collection of the Habsburgs from Tyrol was housed in the Lower Belvedere; In 1890 this collection, together with other imperial art collections, was transferred to the then newly built Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
In 1903, with the accommodation of the Modern Gallery, since 1909 the Austrian State Gallery, continuous museum use began, which was also extended to the Upper Belvedere after the First World War. It is managed by the Austrian Gallery Belvedere, a federal museum.
What is now known as the Lower Belvedere was completed in 1716. Only very few rooms were planned as living quarters, the orangery and the magnificent stables took up the largest space.
The Marble Hall (not to be confused with the so-called State Hall in the Upper Belvedere) is the center of the Lower Belvedere and was originally used for the representative reception of guests. The original of the flour market fountain made of cast lead by Georg Raphael Donner can be seen here. (The fountain on today's Neuer Markt, called the Donnerbrunnen, consists of bronze casts.)
The ceiling painting by Martino Altomonte shows Prince Eugene as a youthful hero and as Apollo surrounded by muses. The state bedroom adjoins to the west and the table room to the east. The ceiling painting of the state bedroom is also by Altomonte, (Evening and Morning), with mock architecture by Marcantonio Chiarini and Gaetano Fanti. Grotesque paintings by Jonas Drentwett can be seen in a western room.
In 2007, the orangery (at that time a sour-pan building with a sliding roof structure) was adapted and the lower Belvedere was rebuilt, where special exhibitions by the Austrian Belvedere Gallery have been held ever since.
The garden is the oldest part of the complex. It was laid out by Le
Nôtre student Dominique Girard around 1700, shortly after the property
was purchased, and was completed in 1725. Horticulture also included the
water infrastructure; Prince Eugen had received permission to use the
imperial water pipe and had numerous fountains installed. The twelve
fountains were restored between 2005 and 2010 after the systems between
the Upper and Lower Belvedere could no longer be operated since 1994 due
to high water losses.
Since the Upper Belvedere is about 23 meters higher than the Lower Belvedere, the theme of the sculptures is the ascent from the underworld to Olympus. A staircase was built between the two areas. The garden is divided into an upper, middle and lower parterre. To the side of the Lower Belvedere, in the Orangery area, is the Chamber Garden, which is separated from the rest of the garden. In this area, at the suggestion of Friedrich Carl Emil von der Lühe, a department was set up exclusively for the plants of the Austrian monarchy, which was headed by Nicolaus Thomas Host (1761-1834), but was described as having gotten a bit disordered as early as 1827.
The differences in level are marked by two richly sculpted cascade fountains. The upper of the two (Fountain 4) is called the "Great Cascade Fountain" or just "Cascade Fountain" and consists of two pools connected by a five-tiered cascade. The lower one is called the "Mussel Fountain" (Fountain 7) because in its center tritons hold a basin filled with mussels. There are two smaller fountains with putti and naiads on each of the three parterres and in the chamber garden. The fountains on the upper parterre and in the chamber garden are round, the other four are regularly structured. The wall fountain at the Orangery (Fountain 12) and the "Great Basin" (Fountain 1, also "Great Pond") south of the Upper Belvedere are also counted among the twelve fountains.
While the upper parterre is determined in its sculptural equipment of sphinxes, there is a complicated program in the lower parterre. Along the side avenues are statues of eight muses, while the ninth, Calliope, is represented with Hercules. There are also allegories of fire, water and a depiction of Apollo and Daphne. These statues were created by Giovanni Stanetti.
At the edge of the middle parterre there is a ramp with a balustrade, which is lined with allegorical depictions of the month in the form of putti. They were created in 1852 to replace older figures.
East of the Upper Belvedere are the remains of the semi-circular menagerie. There are seven statues of gods in niches in the semicircular wall.
The complex has been open to the public since 1780. (In this year Joseph II took over the sole reign in Austria after the death of Maria Theresa.) In accordance with the UNESCO World Heritage regulations, the gardens are gradually being restored at considerable expense, as is the large fountain.
The alpine garden at the Upper Belvedere with around 2,500 m² is one of the oldest alpine gardens in Europe and can look back on around 150 years of history. The collection, known as the Alpinum, goes back to Archduke Johann, the brother of Emperor Franz II, and was originally founded in 1803 in Schönbrunn Palace Park. In 1865, the Alpinum was merged with Host's Garden (Flora Austriaca), a collection of plants from the Austrian crown lands in the former kitchen garden of the Belvedere. At the end of the war in 1918, the Belvedere Gardens came into the possession of the Republic of Austria and have been managed by the Federal Gardens ever since. In 1930, the University of Vienna took over Host's Garden and integrated it into the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna. However, the Alpine Garden remained with the Belvedere Garden and thus under the administration of the Federal Gardens.
The Upper Belvedere was originally only conceived as a small building
that was supposed to visually close off the garden. After the prince
bought more land, Hildebrandt expanded the planning and built the Upper
Belvedere in its current size in 1720–1723; the construction work was
completed in 1725/1726. However, the prince continued to live in the
Lower Belvedere, while the Upper Belvedere was used for representation.
The prince's menagerie was also housed in a semicircular area to the
east of the Upper Belvedere (the floor plan can still be seen today),
which after Eugene's death ended up in the imperial Schönbrunn Zoo.
The prince's sole heiress, Anna Viktoria von Savoyen, Princess of Sachsen-Hildburghausen who had been married since 1738, had the entire inventory and the library auctioned off, so that today nothing is reminiscent of the original furnishings.
The upper chateau was built in communication with the surrounding nature in 1721-1723, originally there were many more open halls and galleries. In front of the southern entrance there is a pond in which the castle is reflected. The building breaks up into several blocks (“pavilion system”), giving the silhouette a very moving impression. Each of these blocks has its own roof construction, which reminded some observers of "Turkish tents".
The sala terrena in the lower area was originally open and designed as a single hall. Structural problems arose soon after it was built, which is why it had to be rebuilt and the ceiling with the four atlases that still exist today had to be supported. Here, too, the marble hall on the bel etage is the center of the building. It is decorated with a central ceiling painting by Carlo Innocenzo Carlone, with the mock architecture attributed to the quadraturist Marcantonio Chiarini. All around were living and representative rooms, in which today the collections of the Baroque and turn-of-the-century (around 1900) and Vienna Secession are on display. Parts of the legendary library and the painting collection of Prince Eugene were also housed here. The chapel also has frescoes by Carlone and the altarpiece is by Francesco Solimena.
The stones used are Sankt Margarethen stone, Eggenburger stone (now called Zogelsdorf stone), solid Kaiser stone from the Kaiser quarry, Mannersdorf stone, oolitic limestone (Jura) from Savonnières in Lorraine, Adnet limestone (Lienbacher stone) and also artificial marble. In the Sala Terrena the atlases are made of Zogelsdorfer stone, the pedestals of Kaiserstein.
The magnificent staircase made of Zogelsdorf stone is richly decorated with foliage and strapwork combined with cartouches and emblems. The steps are in Kaiserstein with intense blue inclusions, the floor slabs at the middle landing are in Mannersdorfer stone and the putti in Savonnières limestone. These are inscribed with (Theodor) Friedl, a 19th century sculptor. It is remarkable that this staircase was open on both sides. It was not until 1904, when it was converted into the residence of the heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, that it was closed off in the form of glazed doors and windows.
The state hall (marble hall) is dominated by Adneter marble (Lienbacher stone) and also by artificial marble. Court master stonemason Elias Hügel managed the work for this order in Kaisersteinbruch, and the stonemasonry work for the fountain with the cascade in the garden was added to the building. The masters of the brotherhood Johann Paul Schilck, Johann Baptist Kral, Simon Sasslaber, Joseph Winkler and Franz Trumler worked in comradeship.
Anna Viktoria sold the entire Belvedere area in 1752 to Empress Maria Theresa, ruler of the Habsburg monarchy from 1740 to 1780. She transferred the original private purchase to the k.k. Ärar, i.e. the state property, reserved the decision on how to use it for her family (Hofärar). Maria Theresa's son Joseph II, then co-regent, had the imperial picture gallery, which had been kept in the Stallburg until then, transferred to the Upper Belvedere in 1775-1777. Since 1890 it has been in the then newly built Kunsthistorisches Museum. On November 12, 1918, the Hofärar, including the Belvedere, became the property of the republic proclaimed on that day.
Heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand
After four years of vacancy, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who had been heir to the throne since 1896 and who was murdered in 1914, resided and worked here for the last time from 1894 to 1914, after his world tour with a large entourage, provided by the Emperor. In April 1894, Franz Ferdinand exhibited over 18,000 ethnographic objects from his trip around the world in the Belvedere. The heir to the throne and general, who was placed at the disposal of the supreme command, maintained his military chancellery in the Lower Belvedere from 1899, which reached its official peak when Franz Joseph I appointed Franz Ferdinand inspector general of the entire armed force in 1913. In the last decade of Emperor Franz Joseph I's life, high state officials felt that Franz Ferdinand's Belvedere was a secondary government that could not be ignored, since the heir to the throne was known to have a very critical spirit and could be very harsh. The members of this military chancery were busy preparing the future government of the heir to the throne. Since these officers did not always follow the sentiments of Emperor Franz Joseph I, there was cause for criticism. However, there was no evidence to question the heir to the throne's loyalty to his uncle.
From his marriage in 1900, the heir to the throne lived with his unequal wife, Princess Sophie von Hohenberg, Duchess since 1909, and their children Sophie, Max and Ernst, born in 1901, 1902 and 1904, in the Upper Belvedere when the family was not in their own Konopischt Castle in Bohemia. Franz Ferdinand enjoyed family life, since at home the court ceremonies that separated him and his wife in terms of rank had no influence.
After the murder of their parents in Sarajevo, the children had to leave the Belvedere. From November 30 to December 5, 1914, the inventory of the estate was carried out. The new heir to the throne, Archduke Karl Franz Joseph, made no claims regarding the palace. It was not until 1917 that Archduke Maximilian Eugen, the brother of Emperor Karl, moved in with his family. In the course of this, all of Franz Ferdinand's family's private belongings remaining in the Belvedere were brought to their Artstetten Palace and temporarily deposited there. That is why they did not fall victim to expropriation in 1918 / 1919, like all the holdings in Franz Ferdinand's Konopischt Castle in Bohemia, and represent a large part of the inventory of today's Archduke Franz Ferdinand Museum.
Since the composer Anton Bruckner struggled with mobility problems in the last years of his life and could not climb stairs, Emperor Franz Joseph I made it possible for him to move into an apartment in the Belvedere in 1895. These were rooms in the ground floor custodian wing south of the Upper Belvedere, the so-called custodian stöckl at Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27. Bruckner died here on October 11, 1896.
Official residence of the dictatorship
The dictatorial Chancellor of the “Corporate State”, Kurt Schuschnigg, lived in an official apartment in the Upper Belvedere until 1938. After the “Anschluss” to Nazi Germany in March 1938, he was under house arrest and monitored by the Gestapo before he was arrested.
Austrian Gallery Belvedere
Republican Austria used(d) the Upper Belvedere for its Austrian Gallery Belvedere. To this day, the palace is the main building of this federal museum, which was expanded between 2013 and 2017 to include the state rooms in the city and winter palaces. The museum describes itself briefly as Belvedere.
State treaty 1955
The signing of the state treaty that freed Austria from occupying powers and other sovereignty restrictions in 1955 took place on May 15, 1955 in the Marble Hall of the Upper Belvedere. The newsreel report of the huge crowd waiting in the Belvedere Gardens for the signatories to appear on the palace balcony and bursting into cheers when Foreign Minister Leopold Figl lifted the signed contract is one of the icons of contemporary Austrian history. However, Figl's famous words "Austria is free!" were not uttered on the balcony, where there was no loudspeaker system, but immediately after the signing ceremony in the Marble Hall.
Due to the high level of awareness of the Belvedere, a new district to the south-west of the Belvedere area, whose construction began around 2010, is known as Quartier Belvedere. It is located around the new Vienna Central Station, which was partially commissioned in 2012 and fully commissioned in 2015, in the 10th district of Vienna. The former Südbahnhof S-Bahn station was renamed Wien Quartier Belvedere stop on December 9, 2012.