Palais Kinsky is a beautiful Baroque styled palace, originally built for Count Wirich Philipp von Daun, who was Austrian field marshal in the war of the Spanish succession. His son Leopold Josef Graf Daun becam a field marshal of Empress Maria Theresa. Later on the palace was bought by the Bohemian Kinsky family, and is sometimes called Palais Daun-Kinsky.
The construction of the palace started in 1717 under the direction of architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt. It was sold in 1784 to the Kinsky family. The palace has richly decorated staircase with frescoed ceiling, mirrors and statues. Josef Poniatowski,
Polish general and marshal of France was born in this palace in 1763. The palace is used for auction events, houses shops and the restaurant.
This triangular "square" used to be the site of one of Vienna's most important street markets. Its first Christmas market took place in 1772, a tradition that persists to this day. There are quite a few very nice palaces that were built around or near the square at the turn of the 18th century for some of the city's noblemen, including the Hardegg (Freyung 1), Harrach (Freyung 3), Kinsky (Freyung 4), Lamber (Freyung 5), Ferstel (Freyung 2), Schönborn-Batthyány (Renngasse 4), and Windisch-Graetz (Renngasse 12) palaces. Most of these palaces are closed to the public; however, Ferstel Palace is home to Café Central, one of Vienna's most famous intellectual cafes once frequented by Freud, Hitler, Lenin, and Trotsky, among others. Another feature of Ferstel Palace is the Freyung Passage, a covered shoping strip that houses some of the city's most elegant boutiques. There is also a small courtyard with a Danube fountain in its middle. Also, at the center of the square, you'll find the Austrian fountain; its statues represent the most important rivers of the Habsburg empire, namely the Elbe, Vistula, Danube and Po rivers.
The Freyung is one of the most pleasant squares of Vienna. Square is wrong because it is triangular, so let's call it a Platz. It is a quite nice ensemble of religious and civilian buildings, of excellent architecture. The monastery goes back to the 12th c. and is called Schottenkloster = Scottish Monastery although the monks were Irish. In that time these monks were called "Iro-Schotten".
Actually these monks did not come directly from Ireland but from the Cloister St. Jakob in Regensburg, Bavaria! This to end with the "Schotten" who are since 1418 Benedictine monks.
The Baroque church we see now is from 1648.
Opposite the church stands one of the nicest Baroque Palaces of Vienna the Palais Kinsky from 1717 build under the direction of the famous architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt.
As palace Kinsky is used for auction events, houses shops and a restaurant one can freely enter the building to admire the hall.
Another fine Baroque palace is Palais Harrach.
The name Freyung comes from the word frei (free) due to the Monastery had the privilege of givimg asylum to the fugitives.
Let's have a look at the different pics:
- Main: Schottenkirche (Church/Monastery of Scottish).
- Second: Palais Ferstel: Built betwen 1856 and 1.860 (Freyung 2)
- Third: Palais Harrach: Built between 1.690 and 1.702 (Freyung 3)
- Fourth: Austria-Brunnen Fountain: Erected between 1.844 and 1.846 by Ludwig Schwanthaler in honour of Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria.
The Freyung is a square with a triangular shape, and the the most striking thing about it is the Austriabrunnen (Austria Fountain). The fountain has the theme of four rivers ( the Danube, the Elbe, the Po, and Vistula) that formerly flowed through the Austrian Empire. Rumour has it that Allma von Goethe, the granddaughter of the poet, was the model for the figure on the fountain. The Schottenkirche also lays on the Feryung and was founded by Irish monks in the 13. century.
Though Freyung is described as a square in the guide books it is not in fact square at all. Platz would probably be a better name for its irregular almost triangular space. Either way, for me this is the most charming square in Vienna, with the huge Shotttenstift, ( the benedictine monastery I stayed in ) on one side, the Schottenkeller and Schottengasse on the other and a line of wonderful Baroque palaces opposite. One of these palaces is Palais Kinsky which you enter through a courtyard from the street. To the left, opposite the restaurant and gallery, theres a door which seems to be always open and which you can wander through without any admission fee or hassle. The staircase you climb up is unbelievably elegant and stylised and then at the top there is a perfect frescoed ceiling. This palace was designed by Lukas Van Hildebrandt and is considerd to be one of his masterpieces. Returning to the square, the word Freyung means asylum and got it's name from the Benedictine tradition of sheltering fugitives from the law. Traditionally this was a lively market square and the practice of Christmas Markets has now been introduced here. Freyung's market is one of the most atmospheric in Vienna as it is a small space and just allows for a cosy number of stalls, plus gluhwien and hot chestnut and food stands. The stalls sell mostly, baskets, wooden ornaments and toys, glass, ceramics and other crafts. In the evenings a blanket of mulled wine and hot food fumes drifts over everything and with the huge monastery looming behind, there's a definite medieval air.
Day 1 : Schottenring and Alsergrund
This Freyung Passage connects the Freyung square with the Herrengasse.
Coming from Freyung, you can enter this Freyung Passage via the Ferstel Palace, this building looks like a Italian palazzo, it was built in 1830 and named after its architect, Heinrich von Ferstel.
You really should not miss this beautiful passage, the architecture and the decorations are really so beautiful. And of course there are the luxury shops where you can spend your money.
There is also a small round inner courtyard with a beautiful statue, which symbolises the elegant Water ghost of the Donau with her fish (see pictures).
Day 1 : Schottenring and Alsergrund
Then I finally arrived at Freyung. Freyung is kind of triangle shaped square. In the middle there is a statue/fountain (see pictures).
This square is surrounded with some beautiful building; it is surely worth to make a little detour to pass here. Like there is the former Priory of the Schottenkirche, which was founded in 1155. There are also some beautiful palaces at this square.
Do not forget to take a look in the Freyung passage - see further tips.
When I visited Freyung, there was a Bio market; there were several stands which were selling all kind of biological products, like soap, wine and honey.
At the Freyung Square in the Palais Ferstel you find the Freyung Passage. It is very small and the shops are not overly interesting (though - if you like cats, you should check Katze & Kater, which has the largest selections of cat items in Europe, with reasonable prices), but the passage itself is lovely. It is in the Italian-orientated style of the Palace and the architecture is fabulous.
A neat detail: Over the entrance to the Freyung Passage the words "Bis auf Widerruf gestatteter Durchgang" which basically means "Passage allowed until revoked". That was my first passage with a legal clause. Love it!
The Freyung is a square in the north of the first district not far from Schottentor where you will often find organic farmers markets, Easter and Advent markets and other Austrian markets. The square is bordered by the Schottenkirche which means Scottish church but was actually built by Irish monks (people got confused by the Latin name for Ireland). Just across from the Freyung is the Palais Ferstel, a beautiful shopping palace which leads through to the delicious apple strudel at the famous Cafe Central.
This nice square is most notable for the Scottish Church with its relief depicting the king commisioning the building plans and for the Austria fountain.