Schonbrunn Palace

 Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens



Location: Schonbrunner Schloss Strasse 147, Schonbrunn
Tel. 01- 811 13239
Subway: Schonbrunn
Bus: 10A
Trolley: 10, 58
Open: daily
Know For: Site of abdication of Charles I, the last emperor of the Austro- Hungarian Emperor


Description of Schonbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace, which can look back on a long history of construction, goes back in its present form to a residence planned by and for Emperor Joseph I, which Empress Maria Theresa had converted into a comfortable summer residence for her family in the 18th century. The castle has been in the 13th district of Vienna since 1892, which has been called Hietzing ever since. The name Schönbrunn refers to a saying attributed to Emperor Matthias. He is said to have discovered an artesian spring here while hunting in 1619 and exclaimed happily: "What a beautiful fountain!"

From 1638 to 1643 a palace was built in this area as a residence for the second wife of Emperor Ferdinand II, Eleonora Gonzaga. However, this facility was badly damaged in the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683. In 1687, Leopold I commissioned his heir to the throne, Joseph I, to have a representative new building designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach for the palace, which was then far from the city gates.

It was not until 1743 that the palace and park were remodeled and expanded in their present form by Nikolaus von Pacassi and Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg under Maria Theresa, known as Empress since 1745. The Baroque palace was the summer residence of the kings and emperors of the empire from the mid-18th century until the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and of the Austrian imperial family from 1804 until the end of the First World War. During this time, the palace was almost continuously inhabited by a court of several hundred people and became a cultural and political center of the Habsburg Empire. During the Austro-Hungarian monarchy it also became k. k. called Schönbrunn Palace.

Schönbrunn is the largest palace and one of the most important and most visited cultural assets in Austria. The castle and the approximately 160-hectare park have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1996. A main attraction in the castle park is the oldest zoo in the world that still exists, the Tiergarten Schönbrunn (16 ha). The palace and park are among the main tourist attractions in Vienna.



In 1311 the Khattermühle was first mentioned in a document on the slope of a 60 m high hill on the Wien river, one of several mills in this area. In 1312 it became the property of the Klosterneuburg monastery together with the area and, after several changes of ownership, was acquired in 1548 by the later mayor of Vienna, Hermann Bayr, who built his manor next to the mill, the so-called Katterburg or Gatterburg.

On October 8, 1569, Emperor Maximilian II acquired the extensive property, had it fenced in and stocked it with feathered deer, red deer and wild boar to use it for hunting. He had fish ponds built and exotic birds such as turkeys and peacocks kept in a separate area. The name pheasant garden for the rear part of the property that is not open to the public is an indication of this. The mill was demolished the following year. In 1570, Maximilian had a hunting lodge built in the zoo that already existed. The construction of a castle was not yet planned: at that time, Maximilian had a new building built on the other side of the city, where he set up a menagerie.

In 1590 the Archduke of Inner Austria and later Emperor Ferdinand II gave the hunting lodge to his war purser Egid Gattermeier, after it had been called the Gatterschloss and the associated forest Gatterholzl for a long time. In 1612 Emperor Matthias, son of Maximilian II, is said to have discovered a spring during a hunt in the area, which later gave Schönbrunn its name as the Schöner Brunnen. Matthias is said to have taken a liking to it and the hunting lodge was expanded.

Only Eleonora Gonzaga, widow of Ferdinand II, who her stepson Ferdinand III. had left the property as a widow's residence, had an annex built to the gate castle between 1638 and 1643, then called the Gonzaga Castle, in which she could give receptions befitting her status. At this time, there is talk of "about a hundred Italian trees, including 24 bitter oranges", i.e. an early orangery, and the term Schönbrunn appears for the first time on an invoice dated January 24, 1642 for a delivery of wood. After Eleonora's death in 1655, Schönbrunn went to Eleonora Magdalena Gonzaga, the third wife of the late Ferdinand III, as a widow's seat. In 1661, Emperor Leopold I built a "rabbit shed" on the Schönbrunner Berg (where the Gloriette is located).

In the course of the second Turkish siege in 1683, the entire complex - the castle with its outbuildings and all associated gardens - was damaged to the point of being unusable. Although Eleonora Magdalena Gonzaga asked for at least two rooms and a hall to be restored, she died in 1686 before this could happen.

construction of the castle
It was not until 1687 that Leopold I commissioned a representative new building for his heir to the throne, Joseph I. Johann Bernhard Fischer, who had just immigrated and later became Fischer von Erlach, proposed a pompous complex in 1688 that would have surpassed the Palace of Versailles, but would not have been financially viable. Instead, the architect was commissioned in 1693 with a much smaller complex, which was built from 1696 to 1701 over the ruins of the earlier ones and was inhabited from 1700, essentially completed. Fischer was ennobled in 1696, but because of the wars of succession the project was only continued by Joseph I after the death of Leopold I in 1705, but was not completed in the intended form.

The Viennese masters Veith Steinböck and Johann Thomas Schilck, both from Eggenburg in Lower Austria, with the Zogelsdorf stone, received stonemason orders, master Georg Deprunner from Loretto (then Hungary) and master Johann Georg Haresleben from Kaisersteinbruch. The Kaiserstein, a hard limestone, was used for load-bearing architectural parts in the castle.

After Joseph's death in 1711, Schönbrunn went to his widow Wilhelmine Amalie in 1712, who lived in the palace until 1722 and finally sold it and the gardens to the imperial court in 1728 for 450,000 guilders.

Maria Theresa's summer residence

Charles VI was not very interested in Schönbrunn himself, but gave it to his daughter Maria Theresa in 1740, who chose the property as the summer residence of the imperial family, who stayed there until 1918. In 1741 she had a continuous avenue laid out from Schönbrunn to Laxenburg Palace. From 1743 to 1749, Schönbrunn Palace was decisively remodeled and expanded by master builder Valmagini according to plans by the court architect Nikolaus von Pacassi, who also worked on the Hofburg: the building was raised by one floor; cornices and columns made of brick were replaced by those of stone. For example, frescoes by Johann Michael Rottmayr were lost. She also had a large part of the interior renewed, which is considered almost the only example of Austrian rococo.

In 1744 and 1745 the Eggenburg master stonemason and sculptor Franz Leopold Farmacher worked on the renovation of the palace. From 1745 he was responsible for all stone deliveries from Eggenburg. Ever since Maria Theresa's husband since 1736, Franz I Stephan von Lothringen, was elected Emperor in 1745, the monarch was always dubbed Empress.

The Imperial Court Building Office paid for the stonemasonry work for the renovations in the years 1750-1752 to the masters Matthias Winkler, Ferdinand Mödlhammer, Gabriel Steinböck and Johann Baptist Regondi. Regondi from the imperial quarry mainly supplied steps for the representative blue staircase, the chapel, snail and secret staircase and the large white staircase, a stately staircase for the court with stone railings and the outside staircase on the garden side, made of hard imperial stone.

In a side wing of the palace is the palace theater, which was opened in 1747 and where, among others, Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed. Maria Theresa had the garden expanded, the menagerie laid out in 1752 and the botanical garden laid out in 1763 by Adrian van Steckhoven.

Around 1765, Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg, a representative of early classicism, was introduced to the court, but Maria Theresa refrained from major structural changes for seven years after the death of her husband. It was not until 1772 that she commissioned such works. Hohenberg's most striking work is the Gloriette (also called "the Gloriett" around 1860). The building is an arcade on the hill above the castle (also called Schönbrunner Berg), which visually closes off the castle garden. It is meant as a monument to the just war (which leads to peace), on the spot where the main building was to be built according to Fischer von Erlach's original plan and a belvedere according to the second plan.

In connection with the construction of the Gloriette (1775 to 1780) there is a note from Maria Theresa: "There is an old gallery of stone columns and cornices in Neugebau, which is of no use [...] I have decided to demolish those from there and to have it brought to Schönbrunn". The gallery and the pillars - all made of high-quality Kaiser stone - were removed and pillars, arch reveals and entablature pieces, including step stones, were used for the Gloriette. In 1775 the work was completed. Its façade has been kept in the prototypical Schönbrunn yellow since Josephine times.

At the same time as the Gloriette, the Roman ruins and the obelisk fountain were also built according to Hohenberg's plans. The associated statues and other accessories were created by the sculptors Benedict Henrici, Johann Baptist Hagenauer and Franz Zächerl.

19th and 20th centuries
The castle gave its name to the Schönbrunner German, which was spoken at court from the end of the 18th century.

In 1805 and 1809, Napoleon and his entourage stayed at Schönbrunn Palace when the French occupied Vienna. On December 15, 1805, the Treaty of Schönbrunn between Prussia and France was signed here, and on October 14, 1809, the even more significant Peace of Schönbrunn between France and Austria.

In 1830 Franz Joseph I, later proclaimed Emperor at the age of 18, was born here. Napoleon's son and only legitimate descendant, Napoleon Franz Bonaparte, known in Austria as the Duke of Reichstadt, died here in 1832 at the age of 21.


Franz Joseph I used the palace as a summer residence and for many years traveled from there to work in the Hofburg, where he lived in winter. In the last years of his life he lived and held office in Schönbrunn all year round and died here in 1916. His successor Karl I moved the k.u.k. Hof on March 15, 1917 to the Blauen Hof in the palace gardens of Laxenburg, and only returned to Vienna permanently in October 1918. In Schönbrunn Palace, on November 11, 1918, he signed his renunciation of any share in state affairs, relieved his k.k. government and left the state-owned castle with his family that same evening.

In 1919, the Viennese Kinderfreunde submitted two wings (Valerie and Kavalierstrakt) for 350 children, including many war orphans, and the future private kindergarten school of the Kinderfreunde to the city council, which their chairman Max Winter (at that time Deputy Mayor) submitted to the city council were only partly complied with: the cavalier tract was reserved for Christian social associations. In 1919, two workers' councils had forcibly confiscated the rooms of the garden director's storey near the Hietzinger Tor in order to accommodate the Hietzing district workers' council there. The court enforcement of the eviction took five years.

In 1919, due to the Habsburg Law, the palace area, which belonged to the royal court during the monarchy, fell under the administration of the republican state, and from 1920 of the federal government (today's supervisory authority: Ministry of Economics).

High-ranking politicians received apartments in the castle from the state, but soon war invalids too. However, the inmates of the invalid home, which was closed again in 1922, are said to have caused considerable damage to the furniture. From 1924 to 1935 the scouts had three rooms in the eastern part.

In 1922, 70 former court horses were billeted in the palace because the former court stables were being converted into a trade fair palace. When the fair opened in the spring of 1923, the collection of the remaining vehicles from the imperial fleet was already housed in the former Schönbrunner Winter Riding School, which has since been called the Wagenburg and is organizationally a department of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

The castle theater, which had degenerated into a furniture depot before the war, was used again by the Burgtheater from 1919, but this had to be stopped in 1924 for financial reasons. However, a worthy successor was found in 1929 in the Max Reinhardt Seminar, which has used it as a practice stage ever since.

Adolf Hitler was not accommodated in the castle because he detested "imperial pomp".

Towards the end of the war there was an anti-aircraft gun position on the Gloriette and in 1945 the main wing and part of the Gloriette were badly damaged by Allied bombing. Among other things, the eastern part of the Great Gallery with the ceiling frescoes by Guglielmi was completely destroyed - the frescoes were reconstructed in the post-war period by the theater painter Paul Reckendorfer based on original images.

Soviet troops who occupied the area in the Battle of Vienna in April 1945 behaved in an exemplary manner in this case. During the occupation period from September 1945, the castle was the headquarters of the British occupying power, whose Vienna sector included the two adjacent districts 12 and 13. This prevented looting and promoted the speedy repair of the worst damage. In 1948 parts of the castle could be visited again. With the State Treaty of 1955, the four occupying powers withdrew from Austria. In 1961, Federal President Adolf Schärf held a gala dinner in the palace for the Kennedy-Khrushchev summit.

The administration of the palace was long entrusted to an official from the Ministry of Trade, Building and Economics, known as the palace captain, and his employees. transfer. Since then, the company has been able to finance the maintenance and restoration of the castle from its own income. The castle park is looked after by the federal gardens, the zoo is managed by its own, also state-owned GmbH. In 1996 the palace and park were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The castle can be seen on the back of the 100 Schilling banknote from 1960.

As the cadastral community of Schönbrunn, the palace and gardens of Schönbrunn form one of Vienna's 89 cadastral communities. Like many other suburbs of the city, the area was incorporated into the city of Vienna in 1892.


Current situation
Schönbrunn Palace has 1441 rooms of various sizes. A part of it that does not belong to the museum is managed by Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. rented as apartments to private individuals. However, the majority of the castle functions as a museum, which received around 3.7 million visits in 2016. The park and its facilities attract around 5 million more, for a total of around 8.7 million visits a year. The area is one of the most visited sights in Vienna. In addition to its tourist function, its function as a local recreation area for the densely built-up areas of the adjacent districts 12, 13, 14 and 15 is also important.

From March 16 to April 13, 2020 inclusive, the facility was closed as part of the Austrian Federal Gardens as part of the Covid 19 pandemic.


Castle building


inside rooms
The interior of the palace not only served as the residence of the imperial family, but was also built for representative purposes and the scene of countless festivities and ceremonies intended to symbolize and strengthen the prestige of the monarchy. Many well-known artists and renowned craftsmen were commissioned for this purpose, who furnished the rooms with the highest elegance of the time. The styles range from the baroque to the rococo, the Biedermeier and styles of the Wilhelminian period, which, on the whole, form a harmonious ensemble.

The 19th-century living quarters of Emperor Franz Joseph I and his wife Elisabeth are located in the west wing of the first floor. The representative rooms are in the middle part. The apartments of Maria Theresia and the so-called Franz Karl Apartments of Archduchess Sophie and Archduke Franz Karl, the parents of Emperor Franz Joseph I, are located in the eastern wing.

The castle has hundreds of rooms and rooms; most of the state rooms and living quarters of the imperial family are open to the public. Part of the remaining spaces have been divided into apartments that are rented out. The castle is therefore not empty and is still permanently inhabited.

Around 1.6 million visitors pass through the castle building every year. That's an average of around 4,000 people per year, and even 10,000 guests per day during the high season. The large number of visitors is a particular burden for the rooms, which were not designed for such heavy traffic. A particular challenge for the administration of the castle is the elaborate maintenance and renovation of the premises while at the same time ensuring the greatest possible accessibility for the public.

mountain room
The private apartments of the imperial family, the so-called “Berglzimmer”, are located on the ground floor. These consist of the Gisela, Goëss and Crown Prince Apartments, named in the 19th century after the children of Empress Elisabeth, Gisela of Austria and Crown Prince Rudolf, as well as the Countess von Goëss, the Countess of Goëss. The rooms were frescoed by Johann Baptist Wenzel Bergl and his workshop in the 1770s.

Bergl covered all the walls and ceilings with colorful landscape paintings populated by strange animals and birds. However, this world is not untouched, but integrated according to human ideas by arcades, balustrades and rococo vases. In this respect, the baroque palace park extends outside into the rooms. Bergl's frescoes are based on detailed studies of nature, which he may even have made in the palace's park and orangery. The Berglzimmer were used by Maria Theresia in summer because they were cooler than the rooms on the first floor.

The frescoes were painted over with gray paint over time, but were uncovered again in 1891. Restoration began in 1965 and from 2008 they were opened to the public.

Crown Prince Rudolf's apartments are located in the eastern and south-eastern areas. The six rooms were set up in 1864 as apartments for the then six-year-old crown prince. Between 1774 and 1778 four of these six rooms were completely decorated with exotic landscape paintings by Bergl and his workshop.

The area known as the Goëss Apartment consists of four Berglzimmern and is located in the southern area and belonged to Maria Theresia's private chambers.

White gold room
In the south-eastern part on the ground floor there are four rooms whose white walls and ceilings are decorated with Rococo golden stucco. This decor can be found in most representative rooms of the palace building. The largest room is the former gym of Empress Elisabeth and is 13.80 meters long, 7.85 meters wide, 4.70 meters high and has an area of ​​108 square meters. A marble fireplace with a large mirror sits in the center of the north wall, the floor is parquet with a black, white and brown diamond pattern. The smaller rooms are designed similarly. The rooms are used for special events.

Blue stairs
The representative Blue Staircase in the western wing leads from the ground floor to the first floor, where mainly the audience and representative rooms are located. A dark blue runner stretches across the entire staircase. The room on the first floor is one of the oldest in the castle; it originally served as a dining room in the former hunting lodge of Emperor Joseph I, who was heir to the throne at the time. The room was remodeled around 1745 by Nikolaus Pacassi on behalf of Maria Theresia. The height of the room's original floor level when it was on the first floor can be seen, as the windows can no longer be opened without the help of a ladder.


The ceiling fresco is an original from the old dining room and shows the glorification of the heir to the throne Joseph as a virtuous war hero who finally receives the laurel wreath in front of the throne of eternity as the victor. The fresco was executed by the Italian painter Sebastiano Ricci in 1701/1702. It is not entirely clear whether the name of the staircase comes from the blue runner or from the blue sky of the ceiling painting.

billiard room
The billiard room is at the beginning of a longer suite of audience and private rooms belonging to Franz Joseph I. The walls are white with Rococo gilded stucco and an ornate parquet floor. A white and gold fireplace is in the northeast corner and a clock is in the northwest corner. Today's furniture comes from the second half of the 19th century. In the middle is a large pool table from the Biedermeier period, which is mentioned in the inventory as early as 1830.

The room served as a waiting room for imperial ministers, generals and officers. They could play billiards here while waiting for their audience.

The large paintings in the room have been changed from time to time. The attached two paintings deal with the Military Maria Theresa Order. A painting shows the first award of the order in 1758; it comes from the workshop of Martin van Meytens. The other painting from 1857 is by Fritz L'Allemand and shows Emperor Franz Joseph I on the garden staircase on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the order.

The so-called children's room was not in this room, but was actually on the ground floor or on the upper floors of the castle.

It is decorated with portraits of Maria Theresa's daughters. Most of her 11 daughters were married when they were young for political reasons. Six portraits in the room were painted by the Archduchesses' anonymous master. The portraits depict the Archduchesses Maria Anna, Maria Christina, Maria Elisabeth, Maria Amalia, Maria Karolina and Maria Antonia. A portrait of Maria Theresa in widow's clothes hangs in the right half of the room.

On the left is a bathroom installed for Empress Zita in 1917. It is faced with marble and has hot and cold running water, a bath and a shower.

breakfast cabinet
The cabinet in the southwest corner was probably used as a breakfast room by Empress Maria Josepha, the second wife of Joseph II.

This cabinet is one of several examples of the personal involvement of the imperial family in the interior decoration of the palace. Appliqués made by Maria Theresa's mother, Elisabeth Christine, are inserted into the medallions. She sewed scraps of fabric onto silk moire and designed flower bouquets with insects.

Hall of mirrors
The Mirror Room dates from the time of Maria Theresa and has white walls with Rococo gold moldings and red velvet curtains with white drapes. The rococo furniture is also made of white and gold wood, the upholstery is covered with red velvet. The defining element is the eponymous seven large crystal mirrors, which reflect each other and make the room appear larger. A marble fireplace sits in the center of the north wall. Two large crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling.

The first concert by the six-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in front of Empress Maria Theresia and the court was probably held here or in the adjoining Pink Room. According to eyewitness accounts, after the piano recital, the young Mozart jumped onto the Empress' lap and hugged and kissed her, much to her delight.

The Hall of Mirrors was also used as a reception room by Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth.

Big gallery
The Great Gallery is the heart of the palace building. With a length of over 40 meters, a width of almost 10 meters and a total of 420 m², the Great Gallery was primarily used for festive receptions, balls and as a table hall. The room has tall windows facing the main courtyard with crystal mirrors facing each other. The white walls are decorated with rococo gilded stucco, the ceiling is covered with three large paintings. More than 60 gold-plated wall sconces and two heavy chandeliers originally provided light with candles.


The ceiling is covered by three large paintings by the Italian painter Gregorio Guglielmi. The middle fresco depicts the well-being of the monarchy under the rule of Maria Theresa. Surrounded by the personified virtues of rule, Franz Stephan and Maria Theresa are enthroned in the middle. Allegories of the crown lands with their respective riches are arranged around this central group.

In addition to concerts and events, the Great Gallery is still used for state receptions. In 1961 the meeting between the American President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev took place here.

In the spring of 2010, a two-year renovation began. 1400 m² of wall and ceiling surfaces were painstakingly cleaned and restored by 15 experts. The cost of the renovation was estimated at 2.6 million euros.

Ceremonial hall
The ceremonial hall was primarily used as an antechamber to the apartments of Emperor Franz Stephan of Lorraine. The imperial family gathered here for celebrations such as baptisms, name days, birthdays and for large court banquets and to enter the oratorios of the palace chapel. Six large paintings are the defining element in this hall, which Maria Theresa commissioned from Martin van Meytens and his workshop.

Five of these paintings deal with the marriage between the heir to the throne and later Emperor Joseph II and Isabella of Parma in 1760. The marriage was not only a social event, but above all a political one; it was intended to improve relations between the House of Habsburg and the French royal house of the Bourbons.

The painting cycle is arranged chronologically, the individual paintings show the most important highlights of the celebrations. The first and largest painting depicts the ceremonial entry of the princess from Belvedere Palace to the Hofburg. The other paintings show the wedding ceremony in the Augustinian Church, the subsequent court table in the Knights' Hall and the supper and finally the serenade in the Redoutensaal of the Hofburg. Van Meytens painted the buildings and people and their clothes in such detail that individual identification is possible. In the painting of the Serenade in the Redoutensaal of the Hofburg, little Mozart is even assumed to be in the lower right corner.

In the center of the eastern wall, between the paintings of the wedding in the church and the serenade in the Redoutensaal, there is a large portrait of Maria Theresa. It shows her standing as the "First Lady of Europe", in a sumptuous dress made of Brabant bobbin lace, next to a table on which there are four crowns on a red velvet cushion with golden tassels. Her right hand rests on a scepter, with her left hand she points to the crowns of her dignity: the imperial crown, the Bohemian Wenceslas crown, the Hungarian crown of St. Stephen and the Austrian archduke's hat.

Vieux Laque room
The former study of the Roman Emperor Franz I (Franz Stephan von Lothringen) is called the Vieux-Laque room. After his death in 1765, his widow Maria Theresa had his room converted into a memorial room.

The room is paneled in walnut from floor to ceiling. Black lacquer panels from Beijing are set between the walnut and have gilded Rococo frames. There are also three portraits: in the middle hangs the painting of Francis I, which was completed by Pompeo Batoni four years after his death in 1769. On the right is the painting of Emperor Joseph II and his younger brother Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, later Emperor Leopold II. This painting was also executed by Batoni in 1769.


The lacquer panels were originally part of a Chinese screen that was sawn into individual parts as wall decoration. The sawing caused cracks, which became stronger over time. The individual parts have been adapted to the aesthetic requirements of the room, not according to the original Chinese arrangement. Moisture and temperature fluctuations continued to attack the lacquer substance over time, and ultraviolet light bleached the gold surfaces. The cracks and the surface have been repaired several times, but a thorough renovation began in 2002 and lasted three years. The last refurbishment before that happened in 1872, when the palace was spruced up for the 1873 World's Fair. For the renovation, the 138 larger and 84 small panels of the walls, door panels and overdoors were successively removed, restored and reinserted. Older, faulty repairs were removed and professionally touched up to restore the panels to their original appearance. To better protect the plaques in the future, the room is continuously shielded from sunlight and lit only with dim electric lights.

The original screen showed real and imaginative scenes from the Chinese countryside. Motifs with lakes, rocks, pavilions and mountains on which saints and genii rest, as well as palaces, hunting and everyday scenes of the Chinese nobility with their servants are recognizable. Luck and wealth or transience and immortality are symbolized by animal, fruit and flower motifs.

Napoleon room
When Napoleon occupied Vienna in 1805 and 1809, he chose the palace as his headquarters. During this time he probably used this room as a bedroom. His marriage to Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, the daughter of Emperor Franz II/I, in 1810 was intended to seal the peace between the two kingdoms. From this connection came the son Napoleon Franz Bonaparte, who was later appointed Duke of Reichstadt by his grandfather Emperor Franz I. After Napoleon's defeat and abdication, Marie-Louise brought her two-year-old son to Vienna. Here he grew up well protected at his grandfather's court. As his grandfather's favourite, he shared his interest in botany.

The young duke died in this room in 1832 at the age of 21 from tuberculosis. In the room are his death mask and a preserved crested lark that was his beloved pet.

Porcelain Room
The porcelain room served Maria Theresia as a playroom and study. The blue and white painted, wood-carved framework imitating porcelain covers the entire room up to the ceiling. The designs for the decoration of the walls probably come from Maria Theresa's daughter-in-law Isabella of Parma. 213 blue ink drawings are inserted into the framework. They come from Emperor Franz I Stephan and some of his children and were executed based on models by François Boucher and Jean-Baptiste Pillement.

Million room
The Million Room is one of the most precious in the entire palace. Originally called the Feketin Cabinet, this room was so named because of its exceedingly valuable rosewood paneling.

Indo-Persian miniatures are embedded in 60 rococo cartouches, showing scenes from the private and court life of the Mughal rulers in India in the 16th and 17th centuries.

In order to adapt the miniatures to the asymmetrical forms of the cartouches, the individual sheets were cut up by members of the imperial family and recomposed into new images in a kind of collage. The chandelier is a Viennese handicraft from 1760 and is made of bronze and decorated with enamel flowers. The bust behind the sofa shows Maria Theresa's youngest daughter, Archduchess Marie-Antoinette, who later became Queen of France. Crystal mirrors are placed on either side of the room, reflecting each other, creating the illusion of infinite space.

cabinet of miniatures
Next to the million room is the miniature cabinet. The walls of this comparatively small room are adorned with a large number of small pictures, some of which are signed, which come from Maria Theresa's husband and children. The walls and ceiling are decorated with Baroque stucco, the parquet floor has a diamond pattern in three types of wood. The imperial double-headed eagle is in the middle of the white embroidered lace curtains. These date from the time of Franz Joseph I.


Tapestry Salon
On the walls of the room hang 18th-century Brussels tapestries, called Gobelins, depicting market and harbor scenes. The large tapestry in the center depicts the port of Antwerp. Antwerp was then part of the Austrian Netherlands. The six armchairs are also covered with tapestries and show the twelve months of the year with the associated signs of the zodiac.

Most recently, Archduchess Sophie, the mother of Emperor Franz Joseph I, used the salon as a living room. After the death of the Archduchess, the room received the existing furnishings in 1873 on the occasion of the Vienna World Exhibition.

Archduchess Sophie's writing room
The room originally served as a library. Behind the panels that can be opened are the bookshelves. In the 19th century, the room was set up as a writing room by Archduchess Sophie, the mother of Emperor Franz Joseph I, and was thus part of the apartments of Emperor Franz Joseph's parents.

Red Salon
The Red Salon got its name from the silk wallpaper on the walls. The curtains are made of red velvet and silk, the carpet is also red. In the salon there are several state portraits of emperors in the regalia of the Order of the Golden Fleece, including Leopold II, his son and successor Franz II/I, his son Ferdinand I and his wife Maria Anna of Savoy. The double portraits of Emperor Ferdinand I and Empress Maria Anna were painted by Leopold Kupelwieser.

Castle Theater
On the right in the entrance area of ​​the forecourt is the palace theatre, which was built in 1745 and opened in 1747 and is still used.


Schönbrunn Palace Suite

The Schönbrunn Palace Suite was opened in spring 2014 and is operated by Austria Trend Hotels. The suite is located in the east wing of the main building. It extends over 167 square meters and can accommodate four people. There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, dining room and kitchen decorated in Imperial style including a four poster bed and plasterwork. The service is carried out by the nearby Parkhotel Schönbrunn, which is also operated by the chain.


Castle park

The chateau and its park form an inseparable ensemble. Although the complex is already sketched in Fischer von Erlach's design, the garden design goes back to Jean Trehet, a student of Le Nôtre, who began planning in 1695 and was permanently employed in Schönbrunn until 1699. Later, at least temporary work there is to be assumed. The width of the parterre goes back to Trehet (which at that time was probably only half its current length), and he had the bosquets laid to the side of it. There are notes on Trehet's layout, but unfortunately no illustrations.

After Maria Theresa had chosen the palace as her summer residence in 1742, the ground floor was expanded to its current size around 1750. Emperor Franz I Stephan was particularly concerned with the redesign of the complex, who had the zoo set up in 1752 and the Dutch botanical garden in 1753 on land purchased for this purpose, which adjoined the previous area to the west. He commissioned the Dutchman Adrian van Steckhoven and his assistant Richard van der Schot to do this. Although the current Orangery building was completed in 1755, plans for the design of the hill only progressed so far during the Emperor's lifetime that a path was cut into the forest continuing the parquet floor.

It was not until seven years after the death of her husband that Maria Theresa commissioned Hetzendorf von Hohenberg to thoroughly redesign the hill and the park, which her adviser Kaunitz had already introduced at court in 1765.

Hohenberg's first project (1771/1772) envisaged a large basin on the hill, which was to feed a number of fountains, for example, in addition to the Neptune Fountain, there were four more on the Great Parterre. Construction work began in 1773. A star-shaped basin that has existed in the central axis of the parterre since around 1700 was moved to the western bosquet, where it exists as a star basin or western Naiad fountain.

It was not until 1776/1777 that it finally became apparent that Hohenberg's first design could not meet the water requirements of the fountains, which is why twelve fountain basins that had already been dug were filled in again, four on the large ground floor and the others on the slope. Instead, Hohenberg completed the obelisk fountain (1777) and the ruins (1778) and then concentrated on the design of the Neptune fountain. This was put into operation in 1780, while Maria Theresa was still alive.

The park was opened to the public around 1779 by Emperor Joseph II, to the displeasure of the court nobility, and has since been an important recreational area for the Viennese population. After the end of the monarchy, the gardens were managed by the Federal Gardens Vienna Innsbruck. Rottenberger was succeeded by Franz Matschkai. Brigitte Mang is currently in charge.


The ultimate goal of the Roman Empire is addressed above all in the three park buildings: After the glorious end of wars (Gloriette), the House of Habsburg reigns as successor to the Roman Emperors over the world until the end of time (Obelisk), while its enemies are doomed ( Ruin).

Large ground floor
The center of the park is the Great Parterre, which has stretched along the main axis of the complex to the Gloriette Hill since around 1780. (It was only half the size around 1750, and a number of later ideas could not be implemented. In particular, a design from around 1770, which provided for four large fountains, was not feasible due to the lack of water.)

Like the other figures in the park, the 32 sculptures that were set up on the edge of the "large parterre" were created for the most part in Johann Christian Wilhelm Beyer's studio and according to his concept. They represent figures from Greco-Roman mythology or their history.

Neptune fountain
At the foot of the slope is the impressive Neptune Fountain, which visually completes the parterre with larger-than-life figures and at the same time forms the transition to the hill. After four years of construction, it was completed shortly before Maria Theresa's death.

Neptune's sea voyage is a parable for the prince who knows how to steer his country through the perils of fate.

Roman ruin
The artificial ruins designed by Hohenberg and erected in 1778 are based on Piranesi's depictions of the ruins of the Roman temple of Vespasian and Titus. It was initially called the Ruins of Carthage. During the restoration, which was completed in 2003, the original coloring was applied using a contemporary watercolor and paint residues left on the stones.

The complex consists of a mighty semicircular arch and lateral wall wings, which enclose a rectangular basin and give the impression of an ancient palace sinking. In the basin, on an artificial island, there is a group of figures made of Sterzingen marble, created by Beyer and depicting the river gods of the Vltava and Elbe.

Halfway up the slope in the background, exactly in the axis of the archway, the statue of Hercules fighting the forces of evil towers above the ensemble. The plan was to direct water cascades from there, like a deluge, to Carthage, but this was never implemented: there was a lack of water and money. However, the terraces created for this purpose can still be seen in the existing grassy aisle.

Artificial ruins, which became very popular with the rise of Romanticism from the mid-18th century, ambivalently symbolize the decline of former greatness as well as the reference to one's heroic past (by glorifying its supposed remains). This explains the reinterpretation of the walls, which have only been called Roman ruins since around 1800, thereby expressing the Habsburgs' claim to continue this empire. Not far from there, the obelisk fountain erected shortly before complements the iconographic program of the garden design and deepens the same claim.

Main dimensions: length 35.4 m, width 20.35 m and height 15.76 m.

Obelisk fountain
The obelisk fountain was also planned by Hohenberg and, as the gilded inscription on the base reveals, completed in 1777.

A grotto mountain rising from the pool is populated by river deities and crowned by an obelisk resting on four golden turtles. At the top is a gilded eagle: a symbol of absolute stability, here with an explicit reference to the pharaohs, and an expression of the continuity of the House of Habsburg. However, the hieroglyphs carved into the obelisks to glorify the rulers were far from deciphered at that time.

The Gloriette was erected in 1775 on the hill above the Neptune Fountain. It commemorates the Battle of Kolin on June 18, 1757, where the advance of Prussian King Friedrich II on Vienna was stopped during the Seven Years' War.

Little Gloriette
The Kleine Gloriette is located on the wooded hillside and near the Maria Theresa Gate entrance.

Beautiful fountain
Not far away is the beautiful fountain, which gave the castle and the complex its name. A fountain house built by the court gardener Adrian van Steckhoven was replaced in 1771 by a new building by the court architect Isidore Canevale. It has the shape of a pavilion with a square floor plan and is open on the front and back by a semicircular arch. In the center of the back wall is an allegorical statue of the nymph Egeria, resting on a basin. It comes from Wilhelm Beyer and was erected in 1780. Her right arm holds the vase from which the spring water once flowed. The inner walls of the house are covered with stalactite and plant decoration in relief, the outside has stalactite decoration.


The inscription plate in the right side wall, with double initials MM and bow crown, was only moved to the well in 1960. It was previously installed in the enclosing wall of the castle park near the Maria Theresientor, where an almost identical stone can still be found today. The inscription was clearly attributed to Emperor Maximilian II (1527–1576).

The story of Emperor Matthias finding the source is now considered a legend.

The building has been resplendent in white since its restoration in 2012-2014. Drinking water for the court was taken from the well until the mountain spring water pipeline was built, and it was brought to the Hofburg every day.

pigeon house
The pigeon house was built around 1750. It is a tall circular aviary made of wire mesh, topped by a copper dome-like roof topped with a knob. Four brick niches were added to the airy rotunda to offer the birds places to sleep.

The system of paths that leads around the complex was laid out around 1760 in ring-shaped and radial corridors, which Schönbrunn jargon calls “Ringelspiel”. The house was obscured by the growing trees over time and "got out of sight". The conditions associated with recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site forced the operators to trim trees and shrubs near the house to such an extent that it can again be used in accordance with the earlier garden design.

palm house
Another main attraction in the castle park is the palm house. It was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1880 from his court architect Franz Xaver Segenschmid in order to present the extensive Habsburg plant collections from all over the world, which had previously been distributed in several glass houses, in a worthy setting, and opened after only two years of construction. In 1883 the first planting was completed. With a total length of 111 m, a width of 28 m and a height of 25 m, the Schönbrunn Palm House is the largest glass house in mainland Europe and one of the three largest in the world. It houses around 4,500 plant species, only some of which are permanently planted, but a larger proportion are presented as flowering tub plants depending on the season.

sundial house
Another attraction is the desert house, presented in 2004 in the sundial house built in 1904.

The building was erected, also on behalf of Emperor Franz Joseph I and based on designs by Alfons Custodis, to house the "New Dutchman Collection", which, in addition to the plants from Australia that gave the collection its name, now includes specimens South Africa and South and North America had grown. It was also used as a winter shelter.

After the general renovation, the desert house was opened in this property in 2004, a joint project of federal gardens and zoo administration, counterpart to the rainforest house created in 2002 in the neighboring zoo: In addition to the succulents, birds, reptiles and small animals from desert areas are presented.

Play pavilion of the princes
Schönbrunn Palace Park was also used for the military training of princes in the 19th century. A playground, gymnastics and parade ground for the imperial children was laid out in the Meidlinger Depression between the "Lichter Allee" and the "Finsterer Allee". A miniature fortress served as a practice or play bastion and as an aid to imparting military knowledge.

A garden pavilion was also built on the site in 1835, surrounded by a small animal zoo and a straw Indian hut.

The pavilion, with an area of ​​about 120 square meters, served as a shelter in the rain and as protection in the strong sun. Unlike the game bastion, it still exists. It was first opened as a coffee house in 1927 and has been run as Landtmanns Jausen station by the Querfeld family since 2013.

More gardens
Also worth mentioning are the maze with a new playground and interesting sound stations, the Crown Prince Garden (both subject to a charge) and the Japanese Garden (which has existed since 1917 and cannot be entered purely as a show garden). In contrast, the botanical garden on the extreme western edge is a park and place of recreation that the population likes to use.

The maze was created in the 18th century and fell into obscurity and decay. It was restored to its original design in the 1990s.


Crown Prince Garden
The garden on the east facade of the palace has been known as the Crown Prince Garden since 1875 because it was right next to Crown Prince Rudolf's former apartment. Until 1918 this was the private garden of the imperial family.

The arcade covered with virginia creeper has always been used for strolling. The treillary structure of the horseshoe-shaped arcade was replaced by an iron construction around 1770. The original five treillage pavilions inserted in the corridor are intricately carved wooden structures painted white and green, topped by a painted dome.

The fifth and middle pavilion in the middle of the arcade was removed in 1962 due to construction work and replaced by a modern viewing pavilion by Embacher Wien in 2002. The new pavilion was built from brushed stainless steel with a perforated pattern, based on the original construction. In 2003, as part of the Adolf Loos State Prize for Design, which is awarded every two years, this garden saloon received the bronze Joseph Binder Award, the prize for spatial design.

Japanese garden
The Japanese Garden was apparently created on the orders of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este in 1913, who had traveled extensively in Japan. However, the garden fell into oblivion after the First World War and was overgrown with ivy. The remains were accidentally rediscovered in 1996 by Kie Yamada, a Japanese woman living in Vienna, who reported it to her father, Eishin Harada, a specialist in Japanese gardens. With the support of the Japanese Cultural Institute and partly private donations, the garden was restored by Japanese experts under the direction of Eishin Harada and reopened in May 1999.

The garden today consists of three parts, the last two were added during the 1999 restoration:

Landscape Garden (Tsukiyama) Miniature reproductions of the landscape. Smaller hills and mountains are represented by stones, and a pond of water
Rock garden (kare-san-sui) or lucky garden. A crane and a turtle were symbolized with natural stones. With the exception of moss, no plants are used. Water is indicated by wavy structures in gravel or sand areas.
Tea garden (cha-niwa) with entrance gate, waiting area with waiting bench, water stone for cleaning hands and stepping stone path to the tea area.
The original rock garden covers an area of ​​750 m² and features a two meter high rise symbolizing a mountain and a three tier waterfall connecting the upper and lower ponds.

The garden is visible to general visitors from the outside and cannot be entered due to its fragility.

In the immediate vicinity is a memorial stone for Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866). He was a Bavarian researcher on Japan and lived in Japan from 1823 to 1829 and from 1859 to 1862. Siebold is one of the most important witnesses of the isolated Japan of the late Edo period and is also highly revered in Japan today. He is regarded as the founder of international Japan studies. The upright memorial stone is carved with a depiction of a Japanese bamboo grove, beneath which on the base is a bronze profile of Siebold entwined with laurels, with his surname carved below.


Schönbrunn Palace in culture

Schönbrunn Children's Museum
The Schönbrunn Children's Museum was opened in 2002 in the west wing of the palace. As part of a special museum pedagogy for children, in contrast to a conventional museum tour, it offers opportunities for playful experience and trying out. The focus of a visit to the children's museum is the fun of learning and experimenting. Under the title Kaiserkinder you can discover the everyday life of the imperial family in the Baroque period: how did you dress? How was the imperial table laid? What do you mean by hygiene?

As a location in films
Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens served as a setting for a number of film productions, including:
Maria Theresa with Paula Wessely (1952)
the science fiction film April 1, 2000 (1952)
the three Sissi films with Romy Schneider (1955)
Princess Olympia with Sophia Loren (1960)
The Right Arm of the Gods with Jackie Chan (1986)
the James Bond film The Living Daylights (1987)
Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst (2006)

In the Viennese operetta Hofball in Schönbrunn (1937), the palace and the garden are also the scene of the events.

From 2004 to 2007, the Concert for Europe was held in the park, in which the Vienna Philharmonic played under the direction of prominent musicians. In 2004 Bobby McFerrin conducted, the concert was a musical welcome from Austria to the EU countries that were newly added this year. In 2005 Zubin Mehta was on the podium, and in 2006 the Philharmoniker under Plácido Domingo celebrated the Austrian EU Council Presidency with music. In May 2007, the Russian conductor Valéry Gergiev from the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg conducted the Vienna Philharmonic against the backdrop of the baroque palace. In addition to the 140,000 visitors in total in Schönbrunn Park, many millions of spectators had the opportunity to follow the concert in front of the screens.

Since 2008, the Vienna Philharmonic has been playing its summer night concert in the palace gardens at the beginning of June with free admission.

The Schloss Schönbrunn Orchestra Vienna based here was founded in 1997.