History of Belvedere Palace complex and Upper Belvedere started when Prince Eugene of Savoy the most talented Austrian General for all history of that country bought the land here in 1697. It was the year of his brilliant victory over Ottomans at the Battle of Zenta when his career as Army Commander started. Construction of Belvedere Palace (Upper Belvedere) started in 1717 and was accomplished by 1723. This is typical baroque palace of first half of XVIII century. Today Upper Belvedere Palace is the museum where many provisional exhibitions are conducted. You can by tickets on-line at official site of Belvedere palace. Palace is available for the rent to celebrate weddings and other solemn events with many guests.
Open daily from 10:00 to 18:00 hours.
Tel. +43 1 795 57-134
Lower Belvedere is the big park built in typical French style of the first half of XVIII century, otherwise this is the imitation of Versailles and other great parks of France. Orangery and Palace Stable are also parts of lower Belvedere. Orangery is opened daily from 10:00 to 18:00 hours. On Wednesday from 10:00 to 21:00 hours. And stables are opened daily from 10:00 to 12:00 hours.
Tel. +43 1 795 57-134
So, here is something I was confused by ... on the website it states the upper and lower Belvedere, but it doesn't explain what that means. So here is the answer ... these are 2 seperate buildings with a nice garden in between them. One being on the slight hill and the other building being at the bottom part of the hill.
Admission price is 20 euro's for both buildings.
What everyone comes to see without a doubt is the Klimt paintings with the star attraction being the Kiss painting. These are in the Upper Belvedere palace on the 2nd floor.
The Upper Belvedere has some great rooms and wonderful amount of paintings. It took us about an hour to go thru it.
One then leaves and walks down the gardens to the Lower Belvedere .. which is bit less grand ... but it does have a couple of Klimt and a Picasso as the main attraction, also the grand and beautiful marble room. Being a lot smaller it took us about 20 minutes to go thru all the rooms.
The train stops right across the street from the grounds of the Palace so getting to it is very simple.
This palace is not far from the Soviet War Memorial and not far from our favourite Vienna hotel - Hotel am Konzerthaus, so we regularly visit. The gardens here are filled with beautiful statues and lots of lovely fountains. The gardens are free entry and are a great place to sit in or to enjoy a stroll through.
One of the most impressive things about the Belvedere Palace Gardens is that the gardens are filled with several spectacularly carved fountains. It is fun to simply wander around and take shots of the gardens from several very different angles.
There are those who have visited the Upper Belvedere museum before March 2006 and have seen the Klimt's and those who came later and will not see them.
You might have read about the case "Republic of Austria v. Altmann."
In January 2006 an arbitration tribunal in Austria decided in favour of Mrs. Altmann and her fellow heirs, awarding them the five paintings. In addition to "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" from 1907 they include a second portrait of Adele (Bloch-Bauer II), from 1911, and three landscapes: "Beechwood" (1903), "Apple Tree I" (circa 1911) and "Houses in Unterach on Lake Atter" (1916).
These Klimts are no more at the Belvedere but are in the USA.
The masterpiece "Adele Bloch-Bauer I" was sold to the Neue Galerie in New York of Ronald Lauder for a reported US $135 million.
The 4 others were sold by Christie's New York on November 8th, 2006 to private collectors at prices between 30 and 88 million USD.
The Austrian government received wide criticism for its failure to have secured a deal with Maria Altmann.
Fortunately, the Upper Belvedere has other Klimt's (a.o. "The Kiss") and many good paintings from the 19th and 20th century.
And for those who don't like paintings the architecture of the Belvedere, the terraces, the gardens and the ornamental pond are so nice that one might forget the Klimt's.
In a previous review "Good bye Klimt" I mentioned the fate of some Klimt's who went to the USA to be sold at auctions. I visited the museum before but was less impressed by the collections than by the architecture of the Upper Belvedere Palace itself.
Each time I'm in Vienna I like to reach the majestic wrought iron gates at the Gürtel Landstrasse and from there to start a walk downwards: first through the Alpengarten on the right side of the so nice ornamental pond, surrounded by flower beds, around the Palace and then the terrace leading to the Belvedere Garten and finally the Lower Belvedere.
It's from this terrace that one has a beautiful panorama on the centre of Vienna. My photo with the Sphinx is a classical.
The Baroque palace complex was built between 1712 and 1723 as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy with Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt as the chief architect.
I think it is a real architectural success if you look at the Palace from the upper side as well as from the lower side.
In 1897 the Upper Belvedere was modified by the architect Emil von Förster so that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir of Emperor Franz-Josef, could live here with his wife Sophie. Both were assassinated in June 1914 at Sarajevo what started WW I and its 15 million deaths. It is difficult to remember this when admiring the peaceful great water basin in the upper parterre and the stairs and cascades peopled by nymphs and goddesses that links upper and lower parterres.
Note that when you walk down the terraces the exit is on the right by the portico of the Lower Belvedere palace (free toilets inside) on the Ringstrasse.
A visit to Belvedere is usually to see the major artworks displayed there, especially those of Gustav Klimt. But it's also well worth visiting just to enjoy the gardens, with a baroque palace at either end, stunning water features and relaxing gardens.
The buildings date from the early 1700s, the gardens are formal but with plenty of open grassy areas and entry to the gardens is free. And all just a short walk from the city centre, or a tram ride.
A visit to Belvedere is usually to see the art collection, especially the Gustav Klimt works, but it's also well worth a visit just to spend time in the superb gardens.
Beautiful baroque-style buildings, from the early 1700s, at either end, superb water features, lovely relaxing gardens - and all a short stroll from the city centre.
The baroque gardens of Belvedere are one of my favourite walks in Vienna. The formal garden extends on a gentle slope between Prince Eugen’s two summer palaces known as the Upper and the Lower Belvedere.
Downhill is probably the best direction to enjoy the view over the gardens, the palaces, the surrounding buildings. Enter at Upper Belvedere and then find your way down. The panorama of central Vienna with its spires and domes is in front of you.
The gardens are embellished with a large number of white statues (probably copies in situ today while the originals are kept in a safe spot). There is a lot of Greek mythology represented in those of the lower garden and also the big fountain in the middle of the terrace. Towards the upper palace, the gardens are watched by sphinxes.
Access to the gardens from the bottom is from Rennweg through the passage at the left end of the lower palace, at the top either from Landstraßer Gürtel past the water basin, or, most convenient for public transprot users, from the tram stop "Schloss Belvedere" (line D) in Prinz-Eugen-Straße next to the upper palace.
The photos in this tip have been taken in December. During the summer half of the year the gardens are even more beautiful. Have a look:
Photos taken in May, part 1: the upper part around Oberes Belvedere
Photos taken in May, part 2: the lower part of the gardens around Unteres Belvedere
“Belvedere” translates to “beautiful view” and that’s what you can enjoy from the terrace behind the upper palace.
In Eugen’s times the grounds were located on the outskirts of the city outside the fortifications. The view over the empty glacis was open and he must have had the panorama of the whole city, as Canaletto’s famous painting in Kunsthistorisches Museum shows. There were no other buildings except Karlskirche, the Salesian convent, and next-door Palais Schwarzenberg in his way.
Nowadays the panorama is partly obscured by newer buildings and by the trees in the adjacent garden of Palais Schwarzenberg. Nevertheless it is still a fine view of Vienna, with the gardens and the lower palace in front, the chain of Wienerwald hills in the background, and the various spires and domes parading the horizon. The steeple and high roof of Stephansdom make the main focal point. From the right end of the terrace you can also spot the pointed steeple of Michaelerkirche and the neogothic twin spires of Votivkirche, the tower of the town hall and the green copper-plated domes of Hofburg, and further left the dome of Karlskirche.
Prince Eugene of Savoy have made here his own summer residence, named Belvedere. It was built in rich baroque style to commemorate all the wars with Ottoman Empire.
The architect of palace was Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, it was constructed in the end of 17th century and beginning of 18th century. Nowadays it houses a museum of art.
It is a place I really recommend to visit in Vienna, more or less it is reachable by foot from old town, contrary to palace of Schonbunn.