This is probably on the top of many people's list of things to see in Vienna. It's massive. The palace itself, the gardens, the zoo; everything about the place is on a grand scale.
If you suddenly have flights of fancy about the wonderful life it must have been, pause to reflect here on the maxim "money doesn't buy you happiness".
Franz Joseph's life had its highs to be sure, but it wasn't all roses. Of their large family, one son committed suicide, another daughter died at 2, his brother was assassinated in Mexico and his wife murdered in Italy. If all that wasn't bad enough, the youngest daughter went by the name of Marie Antionette, married off to the French king to avoid conflict with them, something the Hapsburgs were cannily adept to.
As for Marie Antionette, as they say, the rest was history.
Now that you've read that, there's a fascinating addendum, for Prince Rupert, the one who supposedly suicided and killed his mistress, was, in fact, bludgeoned to death as determined by archaeologists after WWII. His views were much more humanitarian and left wing and didn't sit well with those in power at that time. Thus he was disposed of but, initially they tried to pass it off as a heart attack, then strong rumours abounded and it became murder/suicide, both of which were lies.
Fondest memory: The vast acreage of the park is larger than the CBD of Vienna itself and , the thing I really liked about that was, it's free.
Though some people rail against using postcards I have to say that on some occasions they are a necessity. Since you can't use your camera in many galleries, how on earth could we show you what to expect?
Pacassi's alterations at the behest of Marie Therese led to The Great Gallery, 40 metres long and 10 metres wide.
The tall windows and crystal mirrors combined with the whilte and gold stucco decoration and the ceiling frescoes combine to form a total work of art, representing one of the finest rococo interiors in Europe.
Fondest memory: This magnificent room was used as the entertaining salon, adorned lavishly in rococo style and looking every part the sort of place where royalty might indulge in a waltz or two.
The frescoed ceiling, the decorative candelabra, the polished wooden floor. Just add a band, some couples and away you go.
Then again, you might want a simple meeting of the minds, such as occurred in this very room in 1961 between President Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev.
In their present form, the gardens were designed by Louis Gervais and John Jadot, though later additions by Adrian von Stekhoven and Ferdinand von Hohenberg did take place. The inspiration came from Maria Therese and the baroque-styled layout commenced in 1750. It has always been well maintained and, in 1996, was accorded UNESCO World Heritage listing.
This path leads to the famous zoo and the massive Palm House (Palmenhaus) that is the largest of its kind in continental Europe. It was commissioned in 1882 by the then emperor, Franz Josef.
Fondest memory: I recall thinking that it didn't matter which path you took, you were bound to end up with surprises and the only thing I found no delight in was the zoo. I didn't go in because, in walking beside it, I noticed a cage with a massive condor imprisoned. I'm sorry, but I can't help but call to mind all the times I have watched raptors riding the updrafts in Australia, giving me hours of pleasure, and to see them contricted to a few square metres of space is depressing in my eyes.
My first impression was that it was big. No surprises there. Everything I had read previously indicated size. With the amounts of money rolling in to the Hapsburgs they could afford it.
The monument attracts 1.8 million visitors per annum.
In the 17th century it was destroyed and then rebuilt in rococo style.
Fondest memory: One of the rooms inside that fascinated me due to its insight into daily life was the study where Franz Joseph began work each day at 5 a.m., dictating to the nation.
Simple meals were served to him at his desk and he took his responsibility to the job seriously. "One must work until one drops from exhaustion" was one of his better known sayings.
Personal portraits here show Franz at the age of 33, the time when the Compromise with Hungary was being negotiated, leading to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
There are some 1.7 million people visit this palace annually and you can certainly add a few thousand more who use the gardens for which there is no fee.
The eclectic mix of visitors is exemplified in this photograph and the high months are July/August while December/January/February will find you with few people to rub elbows with.
I was entranced. On a side trail where hardly anyone seems to venture (in 20 minutes I was the only one there) I chanced upon a feeding station for the animals.
Brilliantly coloured birds (see intro pages) and squirrels darted hither and thither into the purpose-built boxes for their morsel of food.
Since I'd never seen the type of birds before and only seen squirrels once before I was having a wonderful time. Couldn't believe my luck.
Even when I was walking away through the forest, it still beckoned me to take another picture.
It's a standout from the main palace or most places in the garden and was deliberately placed thus.
You can just imagine the Hapsburgs doing some Sunday afternoon entertaining here.
It was designed in 1775 by Hohenburg.
The best time for visit is in the summer or autumn when there are colourful landscapes around but however in any time it is monumental place. Schoenbrunn used to be a residence of Empress and Emperor (no wonder) and there is beautiful palace (on the list of The UNESCO World Heritage). Nowadays you will find there everything you should like such as history site, gallery (Orangery), maye for chidlren and for those who are children in their souls, ZOO, cafes, theatres, wonderful parks and museums. Simply, take the one day trip just for Schoenbrunn only. And time to time just sit on the bench and observe life around ... that is true Vienna ...
Opening hours :
1.4. - 30.6. ---> 8.30 am to 5 pm
1.7. - 31.8. ---> 8.30 am to 6 pm
1.9. - 31.10. ---> 8.30 am to 5 pm
1.11. - 31.3. ---> 8.30 am to 4.30 pm
The fountain of Neptune is clearly done along classical lines and sits roughly in the centre of the garden and is like an axis with the paths radiating out from it.
Fondest memory: Frankly I think some of these statues need a bit more clothing in the Viennese winters.
Najadenbrunnen, or the Naiad Fountain, was where I took this picture.
Fondest memory: The first thing that attracted me was the layer of ice covering half the pond. The ducks were mostly wandering around on it and then one slid into the water. I remember thinking, "How cold is that?" Very b d y cold!
Having said that, I thought the duck was very pretty.
Walking towards the palace from the closest train station
you will see this building. Typical thing in Vienna. This is not the best, not the most beuatiful but it was in my way and it was the first one I took a picture of... What's the meaning of that dome at the top? What's inside? Why mosto of the old buildings has it? Why the chicken crossed the rai-road? Why? Why?
Fondest memory: The architeture of the whole city is just marvelous. I was wondering if the Imperial Governenment did not subsidize cost for ornaments and alike in "fachades"... Possible?!
They smiled but they did not answer...
But at least they show -with their fast walking- they way to the main gate of the Summer Palace, a landmark in Vienna and a source of smiles for those who remember the old films with Romy Schenneider
Fondest memory: The fondest is the beer and the girls but I am afraid you are asking for a different kind of fondest...like beers and girls. Never mind.
Favorite thing: If you know when you are going to visit Schonbrunn, then buy your ticket online. This will avoid lengthy waits to gain entrance. We had been assured that we wouldn't need to buy in advance in November but still had to wait over half an hour, in absolutely freezing winds, before buying our ticket. Not helped by the fact that there were only two ticket wickets open. The queue stretched right out half-way across the courtyard.
Favorite thing: This little train was the best discovery I made today. It is raining her in Vienna like there is no tomorrow. It was our day for visiting Schonbrunn and there was no ways that we could go into the gardens and explore the property. And these gardens are absolutely fantastic! As we exited the palace we found the little train and jumped on it. It was the best 5 euro that I have spent! For 5 euro ýou can ride on the little devil all day long if you so wish and see everything that there is to see without killing your feet.
Yes, this is just an attempt to put a bit of your classical Roman touch into the gardens, albeit with that Greek influence.
Northern Europe's, and I suspect most people's, fondness for the classical lines is the reason behind the sculptures and "ruins" located around the middle of the gardens.