Hofburg, Vienna

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 231 Reviews

The winter palace of the emperor

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    Hofburg palace
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  • the stucture of the front facade
    the stucture of the front facade
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    IN DER BURG.

    by breughel Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    Reichskanzleitrakt (Chancellery Wing).
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    My favored part of the Hofburg Palace complex is the enclosed courtyard called "In der Burg" reached after passing under the Michaeler cupola.
    On the west side stands the Amalienburg which is my preferred building because of its nice late Renaissance style. Once (16th c.) it was a free-standing building opposite the older Schweizertrakt (Swiss courtyard). It has a small tower with a dome and an astronomical clock on the façade. Inside are the apartments of Sissi.

    In the 17th c. Emperor Leopold I connected the Swiss Wing to the Amalia Residence by a Baroque wing on the south side named the "Leopoldinischer Trakt" Leopold Wing. It was occupied by Empress Maria Theresa during the 18th century. It is now part of the official presidential residences and closed to the public.
    The lower section of this wing as well as that of the Amalienburg served as the enormous wine cellar for the Hofburg. In these "Kaiserlicher Weinkeller" were stored 2 million liter of wine! I searched on the web (also in German) what happened to these 2.6 million bottles of wine and found nothing. If somebody knows please tell me because a "history buff"(*) as VT calls me can't get to sleep without knowing who laid hands on these 2 million liters of wine probably among the best vintages! (*) In Wien, a highly civilized city, one would say that I'm a "Liebhaber" = amateur of history not a "buff".

    The building on the north side of the square used to contain the Reichskanzleitrakt (Chancellery Wing). It now houses the Kaiserappartments of Franz-Josef and the Sissi Museum. On the ground floor, with terrace, is a café (inside is a smoking and a non-smoking room).

    Even if these buildings were designed at different periods in different styles they exude a harmony that makes the charm of this courtyard. No extravagancies here, just good architectural taste.
    The monument in the centre is the bronze statue from 1846 of Emperor Franz II./I (* to understand the II and I, have a look on the web). He is represented as a Roman Caesar emperor even if he suffered several defeats by Napoleon (Austerlitz a.o.)!

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    Michaelertrakt - St Michael Wing and dome.

    by breughel Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    Hofburg - St Michael Wing view from Kohlmarkt.
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    When arriving from the centre of the city by the Kohlmarkt one discovers the green 50 m high dome on a curving façade at the St.Michaelerplatz facing the church.
    It's my favored part of the Hofburg. The design by Fischer von Erlach dates from 1725 but the construction is from 1890.

    In 2012 there were renovation works on the right wing; my photos from 2010 avoid them.
    Under the cupola on the right side is the entrance to the Imperial apartments, Sisi museum and Silver collection. Actually this was not the entrance for Emperor Franz Joseph and Elisabeth who used the more impressive Kaisertor - Emperor's Gate to reach their apartments.

    There is a street under the cupola and it is pleasant to hear the sound of the hoofs from the fiacre horses passing like at the time of the Emperor.

    After the Michaeler cupola one reaches on the right side the "Inneren Burghof" with the Imperial Chancellery Wing/ Reichskanzleitrak and Amalienburg.

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    Hofburg - Hofjagd-und Rüstkammer - Armour

    by breughel Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    Jousting knights
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    The "Hofjagd-und Rüstkammer" - Armour and Arms collection is located in the Neue Burg at the Heldenplatz which is a monumental wing of the Hofburg planned to house the new living quarters of the emperor as evidenced by the stairway and marble hall.
    Actually this museum belongs to the KHM.

    This is the most beautiful collection of suits of armour in Europe.
    The collection of weapons ( Hofjagd-und Rüstkammer) of the Kunsthistorisches Museum is centred on ceremonial or parade weapons and offers a very wide panorama of the evolution of what was a real art for the 15th century in Europe and in the Middle East.
    The emperor Maximilien I devoted gladly to the tournaments and incited the young noble persons to devote to the joust and especially the running which was practised with sharp lances, more dangerous than the joust, but much less expensive because she could be practised in the battle armour.
    Things did not stay in the field of ordinary armour because the Habsburg (notably both brothers Maximilien II and Ferdinand II) by taste for art and splendour led the technique of armours to a real art close to the goldsmith's art. The connoisseur will find in this museum numerous chiselled armours, inlaid armours, the fluted armours, the costume armours, greek-roman style armours, and darkened armours from the Baroque period.

    Considerable financial means were needed to pay such works of art. Ferdinand II of Tyrol excelled at this passion of the beautiful suits of armour. Not satisfied with his own armours he collected armours and weapons of 125 famous persons of his time. We can see the suit of armour of Philippe II of Spain.
    These collections are well presented in a number of rooms where the visitor is often alone! This museum still has not the chance (or misfortune for the connoisseurs) to be on the visit program of the groups.
    There is also on show a collection of hunting weapons.

    Open: Tuesday - Sunday 10 - 18 h (Thursday 10 - 21 h).
    Closed: Monday.
    Price (2013): 14 €, Vienna card 13 €, 27 yr & > 65 yr 11 €.
    Free 19 yr.
    The ticket is valid for the Neue Burg & KHM main building.

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    Hofburg Palace

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Dec 8, 2013

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    Hofburg Palace
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    The oldest buildings here date from 1275, this sprawling palace was built onto many times and was the main palace of the Hapsburg throughout there rule in Vienna. Today the palace is divided into a series of museums and parks.

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    Ringstrasse tour - Neue Burg

    by croisbeauty Updated Nov 29, 2013

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    rooftop of the Neue Burg
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    During Napoleonic occupation of Vienna the old bastion, adjacent to the old castle, was demolished creating big open space. Soon after Napoleon was defeated and withdrew from Vienna, the new walls were erected in 1817 in which Burgtor (Castle Gate) was integrated. The area inside the new walls contains three parks, Burggarten, Volksgarten and Heldenplatz. A further addition was Zeremoniensaal (the Hall of Ceremonies), which was built in 1804. Today this complex is fully integrated into the Neue Burg representing so-called the winter palace of the emperor.

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    Palace of Hofburg

    by Raimix Updated Nov 2, 2013

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    It was a castle in medieval times, but now it is only palace. This building is very big and has lot of interesting sights around. It is divided to National Library, chapel, lot of yards with sculptures. Hofburg family tended to be at this palace at cold time of year (winter, autumn, early spring). For summer they used summer palace in Schonbrunn.

    White palace and horses with carriages looks interesting and adds special charm for this city.

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    St.Michael's Gate

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 10, 2013

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    entrance into the imperial apartments
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    Hofburg was the winter residence of the imperial family. From the 18th century onwards the court spent the summer at Schonbrunn palace. According to the court ceremonial each member of the family had their own apartments in one of a many Hofburg wings.
    The Imperial Chancellery wing, which contained the apartments of Franz Josef I and his wife Elisabeth are today open to the public. Their apartments are authentically furnished and mostly date from the 19th century, except for the ceramic stoves which are part of the 18th century fittings.
    There is also preserving the Imperial Silver Collection, objects owned by the imperial family which documenting the splendour of imperial life style and personal tastes.
    Finally, there is Sisi Museum, dedicated to Elisabeth who was Franz Jesef's wife. Elisabeth, who's nickname is Sisi, was mysterious, narcissistic, beautiful and mostly silent. Sisi was non-conformist who abhorred conventional court protocol and was a free spirit. Following the suicide of her son Rudolf (famous Mayerling love affair), she withdrew from public life. Nowadays Sisi is compared to Princess Diana, because of her beauty, her estrangement from her husband and her tragic death. As it is known, Sisi was murdered in Geneve/Switzerland, in 1898, by an Italian anarchist.

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    Hofburg

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 9, 2013

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    Amalienburg
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    The Hofburg area has been the documented seat of government since 1279. It has been expanded over the centuries and numerous architects have executed works of its expansion, among them: Filiberto Luchese (Leopoldischer trakt), Lukas von Hildebrandt, Joseph Emanuel Fisher von Erlach (Reichchancellery and the Winter Ridding School). From 1438-1583 and from 1618-1806 Hofburg was the imperial residence, it was the seat of the kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, thereafter the seat of the emperor of Austria, until 1918. Today it is the official seat of the Austrian president.
    Amelienburg is across from the Swiss Gate, named after Amalie Wilhelmine, the widow of Joseph I. Actually, this wing was constructed as the Viennese residence of emperor Rudolph II. It has a small tower with its dome and the astronomical clock on its facade.
    The imperial Reichchancellery wing was originally planned by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt and accommodated the offices of the imperial Vice Chancellor, who was the Prime Minister of the Holy Roman Empire. After the end of Holy Roman Empire, the wing housed the apartments of the Duke of Reichstadt (Napoleon II) and later those of Emperor Francis Joseph I.
    Leopold wing is connecting Amalienburg and the Swiss Court, it was built in 1660s under Emperor Leopold I. This wing still bears a connection to the Late Renaissance. Today it is the office of the Austrian President.

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    Hofburg fountains

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 8, 2013

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    Die Macht zur See
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    Michaelerplatz is dominated by the impressive neo-Baroque Michaelertor, the eastern gate to the Hofburg. At the two sides of the Michaelertor are two large and beautiful fountains. Just left to the gate is fountain called "Die Macht zur See" (The Power on the Sea), which was sculpted by Rudolph Weyr in 1895. The sculptures of the fountain symbolizes the Austrian naval power. The statuary was made of white marble depicting a young woman (Austria) on a ship dominating the mythological powers of the sea, God of seas Neptune and sea dragons.
    The fountain on the right side is called "Macht zu Lande" (The Power on the Land) and was sculpted two years later (1987) by Edmund von Hellmer.

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    Michaelertor - St. Michael's Gate

    by croisbeauty Updated Oct 8, 2013

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    St. Michael's Gate
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    Hofburg was designed by Johann Bernhard Fisher von Erlach in the 1720 and finished towards the end of the 19th century, with new and more alterations in the spirit of the crumbling Empire. Hofburg is the epicenter of imperial power and was built to symbolize and show the world the glory of Habsburg Empire.
    The pompous Michaelertor, which is the eastern entrance to the Hofburg, on either sides of the passageway are sinewy statues of giants while the corners are decorated with two big fountains, allegorically illustrating Austria.

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    Neue Burg / Burggarten

    by ValbyDK Written Sep 13, 2013

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    Neue Burg
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    Neue Burg (the New Castle) is part of the Hofburg Palace complex which was the centre of the Habsburg Empire for around 600 years. The curved building, Neue Burg, was built in 1913 - making it the newest addition to the palace complex.

    Today, Neue Burg houses the Austrian National Library and a number of museums. I visited three of them: Ephesus Museum (ancient relics from Anatolia in Turkey), Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments (baroque and renaissance music instruments), and Collection of Arms and Armour (swords, helmets, crossbows etc.). Entrance to the three museums are included in the price of the Kunsthistorisches Museum entrance ticket!

    The building is also worth a closer look with its many pillars, sculptures, and other details. The interior is also very beautiful, especially the elegant main staircase. The Burggarten, the former palace garden, is also worth a short visit. It is now a public park with a palm house, a pond, and several statues (the most famous is the statue of Mozart from 1896).

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    Hofburg

    by antistar Updated May 26, 2013

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    Neu Hofburg, Vienna
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    Until the nearby Austrian Parliament took over the reins of the empire, the Imperial family ruled over the great empire from this glorious and expansive palace. The size and opulence of the palace makes the Parliament building look like a ornamental bath house in comparison. The palace started out life as a castle in the 12th century, but grew in size and grandeur to reflect the growing power of the Hapsburg family that inhabited it. Now it is home to the President, along with a number of world famous institutions, including the Spanish Riding School.

    Guided tours are extensive and cost 11.40 euros.

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    Imperial Apartments and Treasuries & Sissi Museum

    by Jefie Updated Jan 7, 2013

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    Old French centerpiece of the Imperial family
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    Hofburg Palace houses several museums, but this is the one that focuses on the life and history of the Imperial family. Although most of the palace's former living quarters have been converted into offices, the private appartements of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth (Sisi) have remained untouched for the most part and are open to the public. If you've been to Schönbrunn or plan on going there, you'll find that some of the information provided is somewhat similar, but it doesn't necessarily make the visit less interesting. Of course, all the rooms are absolutely gorgeous, beautifully decorated and lavishly furnished. It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to come up with an idea of what court life was like for the Habsburgs!

    Next, visitors can take a look at the Imperial family's impressive collection of treasuries, which are on display in several rooms (pictures aren't allowed in the palace but I managed to snatch a couple, don't tell anyone!). Visitors can take a look at thousands of priceless items, which only constitute a small portion of what the Habsburgs actually owned.

    Finally, the visit includes access to the Sissi Museum, which for several people might be the most interesting part of the tour. For over a century now, the life of Empress Elizabeth of Austria has captured the imagination of people around the world. Of course, the movie adaptions of her life starring Romy Schneider have greatly contributed to turning Empress Ssisi into an historical icon. The museum focuses on the life of the Empress, from her early childhood to her unhappy marriage, possible eating disorders, depression following the suicide of her only son, and the circumstances surrounding her assassination. I thought the museum did a great job of making the difference clear between the real Sissi and the mythical one.

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    Winter palace of the Habsburgs

    by Jefie Updated Dec 22, 2012

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    Near the rear entrance to Neue Burg
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    Hofburg Palace actually is a large complex made up of several buildings that together formed the official residence of the Habsburgs in Vienna. It is usually called the winter palace, since members of the Imperial family spent most summers at their Schönbrunn residence. The palace in its original form dates back to the 13th century, but it was enlarged on several occasions throughout the years, with the last major construction, Neue Burg, being completed at the beginning of the 20th century. The palace is home to several museums and historic buildings that are now open to the public, including a chapel, the Spanish Riding School, the National Library, the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Art History. It is definitely worth setting a few hours aside to walk around the palace grounds - I especially enjoyed wandering through the lovely Burggarten - and take in the beauty of this Viennese masterpiece. Make sure to keep your camera handy!

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    Hofburg Palace

    by yvgr Updated Dec 2, 2012
    Schloss Hofburg in Vienna

    Hofburg Palace, or Schloss Hofburg is an Imperial palace located in central Vienna. One of Vienna's most beautiful places when it comes to architecture. It has housed some of the most powerful people in European and Austrian history, including the wellknown Habsburg.

    Today serves as the official residence of the President of Austria. It was the Habsburgs' principal winter residence (winter palace), as the Schönbrunn Palace was their preferred summer residence.

    The Hofburg area has been the documented seat of government since 1279 for various empires and republics.

    The Hofburg has been expanded over the centuries to include: various residences (with the Amalienburg), the chapel (Hofkapelle or Burgkapelle), museums (the Naturhistorisches Museum & Kunsthistorisches Museum), the Imperial Library (Hofbibliothek now the Prunksaal), the treasury (Schatzkammer), the national theatre (Burgtheater), the riding school (Hofreitschule), the horse stables (the Stallburg and Hofstallungen) and the Hofburg Congress Center.

    The Hofburg faces the Heldenplatz ordered under the reign of Emperor Francis Joseph, as part of what was to become a Kaiserforum that was never completed.

    Numerous architects have executed work at the Hofburg as it expanded, notably the Italian architect-engineer Filiberto Luchese (the Leopoldischiner Trakt), Lodovico Burnacini and Martino and Domenico Carlone, the Baroque architects Lukas von Hildebrandt and Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach (the Reichschancelry Wing and the Winter Riding School), Johann Fischer von Erlach (the library), and the architects of the grandiose Neue Burg built between 1881 and 1913.

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