Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence, with 1441 rooms! It's architecetural style is Rococo. The palace is one of the most important monuments in Austria, and the most visited site in Vienna. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans over 300 years of Habsburg monarchs. It was put on the World Heritage List in 1996, together with its gardens, as a remarkable Baroque ensemble.
I warned my boyfriend when we arrived that he might not be allowed to take photos inside, but he didn’t believe me…so he was upset when he got there and discovered that I was right, and he could only take photos outside in the courtyard.
We had a guided tour of just 20 of the over 1000 rooms – the Palace was built to try and rival Versailles - and they sure succeeded! Certainly both Palaces have so much detailed gold decoration in common!
We last visited the grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace in November 2011, when there was snow covering the ground.
The public can take tours of the Palace.
The grounds are vast, and there are many wonderful gardens to explore. There are cute little squirrels galore running around the grounds, and they are very friendly.
The Palace is a distinctive lemon/yellow colour and is a very very wide/long building (a panoramic photo would be a good choice in order to capture the full size of the Palace).
Schönbrunn Palace is the former summer residence of the imperial family, the Habsburgs. The Habsburgs ruled the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The architecture of the Palace is in the Baroque style.
The land had been in the possession of the Habsburgs since 1569. The wife of Emperor Ferdinand II had a summer residence built there in 1642, which she called "Schönbrunn".
Maria Theresia re-designed a lot of the gardens and structures after 1743.
Emperor Franz Joseph, who later married Sisi and reigned from 1848 to 1916, was born at the Palace in 1830. He spent his final years entirely in the palace.
Austro-Hungarian Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, and Europe descended into the First World War shortly thereafter.
The Palace became the property of the new Republic of Austria in 1918. Emperor Charles I signed his abdication of the crown in 1918, marking the end of 640 years of Habsburg rule in Austria, and marked the demise of the monarchy.
Today, the palace is part of UNESCO’s cultural heritage.
Visit to Schonbrunn is main attraction in touristic program all touristic arrangements from Balkan area. That was for me too, because that was the way I visit Vienna for first time. That excursion cost 20 euros and including transport with touristic bus (in mine case from Bratislava), visit Schonbrunn palace and park with tour guide on native language.
We enter on main gate and first we visit Royal Palace. There no allowed to take photos inside of palace. But you can go to the nice shop. You will get and simple information brochure that are available on many language including and Serbian and Croatian. After almost hour of guided tour we have some time to explore the rest of complex.
If you limited with time you can choose to explore complex with panorama train. I didn't use this advantage and I was walking around. I spend in Schoonbrun about 3 hours. I visit Royal Palace and explore complex by foot. That time was enough for me to visit and Main Courtyard, Great Parterre, Neptune Fountain and Gloriette Hill.
And that means that I didn't see much of Schönbrunn and all its attraction on area of 160 hectares.
Always a favourite of mine, is a visit to the Carriage Museum.
The one in Schonbrunn sounded interesting, so we made it our last sight to see at the Palace. It's located in the Wagenburg building where once 100 carriages were on display, now this has expanded to 170. On display is the vehicle fleet from the Viennese Court. The collection includes sleds, sedan chairs, harnesses, saddles, Imperial carriages, a childs phaeton, hearse, landaulet, paintings of horses, clothing and much more.
I was impressed with the display and just loved seeing the state coaches, ceremonial and gala carriages. The imperial coach, which was probably built for the coronation of Joseph II in 1764, was later used for various imperial and royal Habsburg coronations -It is a must see! It's richly decorated with ornate carvings and paintings. The display has the carriage being drawn by 8 grey horses - I loved it!
Some important displays are the black hearse carriage, used in the funerals of Emperor Franz Joseph, his wife Sissi (Empress Elisabeth) and their son, plus Crown Prince Rudolph.
The imperial coaches, with their painted sides, used to carry Emperor Joseph II, Leopold II and Francis I Stephen to various formal coronation ceremonies.
The coach used by Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) when she first arrived in Vienna in 1854 prior to her marriage to the Emperor. The same carriage was used by Napoleon when crowned King of Italy in 1805!
There is much to see, two stories in fact!
There is an ENTRANCE FEE
Adults 4 euros
OPEN daily from 9am to 6pm (May-Oct) and 10am to 4pm (Nov-Apr).
It was a pleasant surprise to find PHOTOS ARE ALLOWED
It was in the Privy garden where I came across my first two Bosquets. I have actually seen them all around the world, but more so, in the gardens and Palaces of Europe.
Bosquets can be thought of as one continuous archway.
To make one, a frame is made, then trees or shrubs are planted close together on either side of the framework. Climbers are mainly used, and gradually they grow and cover the frame work, making a lovely shady area to walk through on a Summer's day. The Bosquet in the Privy garden, had open air windows, where the climber leaves made a beautiful frame, especially good for photos of the Palace. What an attractive way to see the Parterre, I loved the idea. Many have small surprises, like fountains, urns etc.
The Privy garden Bosquets led into the lovely lattice worked pavilion. If the Roses are in flower, then Rose garden Bosquets would be a picture!
Another Bosquet that was stunning, was covered in flowering Wisteria. Wow, it was a picture!
A bridal couple were having their photos taken there.
If you enter Schonbrunn Palace through the main gateway that is flanked by two obelisks, then you will immediately be in the main courtyard. The main palace building is right in front of you and to the right is the Schönbrunn Court Theatre, built in 1767 in Rococo style. In the middle, are two large fountains, one with allegorical figures depicting the rivers Danube, Inn and Ems and the other with sculptures representing Transylvania, Galicia and Lodomeria. Only the one fountain had water in it. There was lawn around the outer edge where in May, some Trees with deep pink flowers were in bloom. There were many garden seats, so we had a rest on one and people watched.
Infront of the Royal Palace, is where you will find the Horse & Carriages lined up waiting for somebody to take a ride!
After a rest, we passed through the gate on the left to visit the Wagenburg (Coach Room), which houses the imperial collection of coaches, sledges and carriages.
Our next stop was at one of the park's most impressive architectural follies. In 1777, a tall obelisk was erected on the backs of four turtles as the symbol of stability. Crowned by a golden sphere symbolising the sun, the obelisk represents the pathway of sun rays down to earth, while the four edges signify the cardinal directions. It comes complete with mock hieroglyphs recounting the history of the Habsburg family. In Baroque iconography, the obelisk stood for princely steadfastness and stable government
The Obelisk, that sits on top of the Obelisk Fountain, is one of the most important focal points on the axial lines that transect the park.
Once again, the pool is contained against the slope of the hill by a retaining wall topped by a balustrade with vases. A mountain grotto, complete with river gods, has the water from the fountain flowing out of the mouth of a central mask and the vases held by the river gods via a succession of three basins into the main pool.
I liked this fountain too as it was "different!
I love the way Schonbrunn Palace gardens are laid out. Surprises are found in many places.
This surprise came about when I was admiring the neatly trimmed trees. Stepping past one row of trees, I found a pond in the centre and many pathways radiating out from the centre. Each of these pathways led to another garden area, like the Rose garden.
One led to what was originally known as the "Ruins of Carthage" OR the "Roman ruin."
The Roman Ruin at Schönbrunn, was a completely new construction, based on the Roman model of ancient Vespasian and Titus Temple.
The Roman Ruin consists of a rectangular basin that is surrounded by a massive arch that looks to be sinking into the ground. In the centre is a circular arc with a fragmented architrave and frieze, decorated with reliefs. Added to all this, is relief decoration and antique-style figures and busts.
In the pool in front of the ruins, are the river gods, Danube and Enns.
8.00 am to 9.00 pm from May to September
NOT OPERATIONAL BETWEEN APRIL - OCTOBER
The Orangery was our first stop.
An Orangery at the Palace is just what you would expect it to be - A hothouse where the Orange trees are put during Winter and other plants susceptible to the cold.
In 1754 Franz I Stephan decided an Orangery needed building at Schonbrunn Palace. This attractive building is 189 metres in length, making it one of the two largest Baroque orangeries in the world, the other being at Versailles.
The Orangery was not only for plants, but was used for imperial court festivities. Rows of decorated banqueting tables and flowering plants made it very attractive. During a winter festivity in 1786 Mozart conducted his Singspiel "The Impresario" here.
The rear part of the Orangery is still used in its original function, while the front section is used for events such as the Schönbrunn Palace Concert series.
OPEN 8.30 AM TO 8.30 PM
The Neptune Fountain or Neptunbrunnen was always a part of the overall design of the gardens and park. It was commissioned by Maria Theresa in the 1770s, taking until 1776 for excavations for the pool to begin. The fountain was completed four years later, just before the death of the Empress, I think she would have been impressed!
I was, even when admiring it when standing in the Parterre.
As I walked closer, I could see a curved retaining wall against the slope of the hill, and along its balustrade were many lovely vases. At the centre, was a rocky landscape where the sea-god Neptune, was standing in a shell-shaped chariot, his trident in his hand. To his left was a nymph, while on his right was the sea-goddess Thetis, who was asking Neptune to allow her son Achilles, a safe voyage to Troy.
Frolicking Tritons, creatures who are half-man and half-fish, are holding conch shell trumpets which they blow to inspire fear in both man and beast. The Tritons are restraining the sea-horses who draw Neptune's chariot across the seas.
This is quite a common scene used in the 18th century as a symbol for monarchs controlling the destiny of their nations.
At the bottom of all this, the water was running over the edges of the semi-oval plinth.
This was a beautifully detailed fountain!
I loved the sculptures, taking photos of them in all directions.
No hours of operation: mid October - mid April
MAY TO SEPTEMBER - Neptune Fountain operates 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
I just love looking at the old time sculptures. How clever were they being able to do this type of work!
THE GLORIETTE has some very interesting sculptures that I took a closer look at.
The huge sculptures standing either side of the steps, were of antique Roman armour with shields, standards, lions, bulls head and more interesting details. The vases, [see photo] are set in niches in the walls,
The Gloriette has a large viewing terrace from which you can look down over the palace and wider Vienna. There is a small fee charged to go up, WELL WORTH IT!.
Once on the terrace and looking over the balustrades are fantastic views over Vienna and the Palace. Seating is in the middle, and even though the day was starting to come overcast and cooler, there were still people enjoying the location.
Too cold, or perhaps you want a rest, then head to the Gloriette café. Emperor Franz Josef used it as a breakfast room.
GLORIETTE VIEWING TERRACE
Adults € 3,00
Children (aged 6 - 18) € 2,20
Students1 (aged 19 - 25) € 2,50
Senior citizens (60+) € 2,50
Disabled persons 2 € 2,50
Vienna Card € 2,50
15th March to 31th March 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
1st April to 30th June 9.00 am to 6.00 pm
1st July to 31st August 9.00 am to 7.00 pm
1st September to 30th September 9.00 am to 6.00 pm
1st October to 25th October 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
26th October to 2nd November 9.00 am to 4.00 pm
TO REACH THE GLORIETTE...
Either you go in through the main palace entrance and up the hill via the winding path. Or you enter the park area from the back (via the car park intended for zoo visitors), which starts you off at the top of the hill. Follow the signposts, OR take the Tourist train like I did.
Our next stop on the train ride was at the Gloriette. We hopped off the train here to see this magnificent piece of architecture.
I have added "large" to Gloriette, as located in the middle of the forest in the Palace grounds, is a small Gloriette - this one I didn't see
Said to be the "crowning glory" of the gardens, a title I would have to agree with. This Neo- Classicistic colonnaded Gloriette was built on the crest of a hill and can be seen in the distance from the Palace and parterre gardens. It was built in 1775 by Ferdinand von Hohenberg as a monument to the soldiers who had given their lives for the empire.
It has a central section in the form of a triumphal arch and arcaded wings with semi-circular arches. A mighty imperial eagle is perched on top of a globe and is surrounded by trophies. The roof is flat, more about that later....
During the 19th century the glazed inner hall of the Gloriette was frequently used as a dining room. A kitchen was built nearby so that food could be freshly prepared, this is no longer here.
Painted in the same yellow/lemon that matches the rest of the Palace buildings, this is a MUST SEE!
We are on the Panorama Train and are stopping at the Palm house/Zoo stop.
We have stayed on the train, as we come from a country where Palms grown in the wild and we weren't interested in the zoo either!
Wow! It sure was an amazing structure, evidently one of the last of its kind; a giant steel and glass construction built in 1882 during the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph.
The Palm House is split into three botanical and physical sections.
The middle section (the largest) is a temperate, Mediterranean climate. To the right is the tropical section, to the left the "cold" section.
This first central section is full of huge palms.
The tropical section is warm and wet. This is where you will see orchids, pineapples, bamboo and some more palms.
The cold section, is where some of my favorites from my home country Australia are - lovely tree ferns
There is a Desert House opposite and a Japanese garden.
Palm House is open all year.
1 May to 30 September 9.30 - 6pm Last admission 5.30 pm
1 October to 30 April9 .30-5pm Last admission 4.30pm
The Palm House is on the east side of Schönbrunn, between the Hietzing entrance and the zoo.
Did you know the park at Schönbrunn Palace was opened to the public around 1779 and is mainly free, except for the Privy garden. The grounds of Schönbrunn, are a World Heritage Site and cover 160 hectares, quite an area to cover by foot. OK, all right for the young and fit and the elderly with no walking problems, it is the way I like to see it, but as my husband has walking difficulties, a choice had to be made.
We had already walked quite a bit and were feeling a little tired.
Choices looked to be, either horse & carriage or the little Petit train.
As the Horse & carriage is usually quite expensive for two people, we decided on the Train.
There is more than one train running around the park at one time. A look at the route map and we see that it stops at 9 stations through-out the park. We found we could get off one train, have a look around and get on the next train.
If you just want to do the full circle tour, this will take approx. 50 mins.
Even though we didn't need this, I though it was a good idea, that the last train car has a hydraulic lift for wheelchairs and baby carriages as well as a boarding aid.
TRAINS OPERATE FROM
10:00 am to 6:00 PM DAILY. They stop every hour and every half-hour at the Gloriette Hill and the Schönbrunn Palace.
A day pass costs €7.00 for adults, €4.00 for children 14 and under, and €4.00 for handicapped persons. With ticket and hand stamps, you can do as you please.
1: Schönbrunn Palace
3: Hietzinger Gate
4: Zoo/Palm House
5: Tirolergarten Tavern
6: Gloriette Hill
8: Obelisk Fountain /Schönbrunn Spa
9: Meidlinger Gate
TAKE A TOUR OF THE PALACE INTERIOR
As I come from Australia where there is nothing like this to see, I always try and see the interiors of the better known Palaces. This one has an amazing baroque interior, something I couldn't live with, but nice to see the opulence.
There are a lot of rooms in the Palace, 1,441 to be exact. In the 17th century, Emperor Leopold I commissioned a baroque architect to build a palatial hunting lodge for the heir to the throne. Schonbrunn Palace was born. Evidently, because of the war years and lack of money, it isn't as grand as originally planned. Even so, the Palace remains much as it did when Maria Theresa became Empress.
During Maria Theresa's 40-year reign, it was the scene of great ceremonial balls, banquets and receptions held during the Congress of Vienna. Mozart performed for Maria Theresa and her court, in the Hall of Mirrors when he was only 6 years old.
There are tour tickets of which there were two to choose from - Imperial and Grand tours.
Of course, there is no chance of seeing all the rooms, just enough to give you a taste of what life was like back then.
THIS TOUR IS TAKEN BY YOURSELF - NO GUIDE
The IMPERIAL TOUR is through 22 rooms and takes approx. 35mins
Prices valid from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2015
Adult € 11,50 Children € 8,50
This tour takes in the apartments of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth and a tour the Rococo state rooms of the palace, the Great Gallery, the Chinese Cabinets, Emperor Franz Joseph's private suite and the Yellow Salon to name a few.
THE GRAND TOUR takes you through 40 rooms and takes approx. 50 minutes
Prices valid from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2015
Adults € 14,50 | € 16,50 guided tour
Children € 9,50 | € 11,00 guided tour
Choose between guide or go by yourself - We did the latter.
The Imperial Tour is done plus extras to make it the Grand Tour. We saw the magnificent Hall of Ceremonies, the Gobelin Salon with its tapestries as well as the Millions Room on account of its precious panelling of rare rosewood.
You can explore the imperial rooms with a guided tour or alone with a audio guide - included in entry price
Guided tours in english: depending on demand - Ask at the cash desk.
I really loved this Palace! Over the top - Yes! So much gold, baroque and rococo!
I was here in early May, and it wasn't that busy, not in the morning anyrate.
No photos allowed of the interior. Plenty of postcards for sale in the shop