Austria Trips

Vienna - Donau City and Park.

Ivana Simanek


Vienna - Donau City (DC), Donau Park and along the Danube:

Main attractions: Reichsbrücke (The Empire Bridge), Kaisermühlen VIC U-Bahn station, Andromeda Tower, Tech Gate Tower, DC 1 and DC 2 towers, Austria Center, IAEA building, Saturn Tower, Mischek Tower, Donaupark (Danube Park), Iris Lake, Donauturm (Danube Tower), Brigittenauer Brücke, Donau Insel (Danube Island), Millenium Tower, Northern Railway Bridge (Nordbahn Brucke), Neue Donau U-Bahn station.

Duration: 1/2 day.

Distance: 5-6 km.

Orientation: We ended our "Vienna - Hundertwasserhaus, the Prater, Messe Wien and the Empire Bridge" blog in the DonauInsel (Danube Island), in the eastern end of the Reichsbrucke (Empire Bridge), over the Danube river - the most famous bridge of Vienna. You can, easily, combine this itinerary with the second half (2nd Tip) of the former blog and THIS blog - making it a leisurely walking full day.

Donau City, or Vienna DC or UNO city, is a new part of Vienna's 22nd District Donaustadt, next to both the Reichsbrücke and the left bank of the Danube's 21.1 km new channel, Neue Donau. Construction work for the first building on this site, the Andromeda Tower (see below), started in 1996. The establishment of Donau City had its origins only in 1964. Unlike in many other cities, the Danube River, because of the numerous floods it regularly caused, was omitted from the urban area planning and construction. Only after extensive flood-control engineering and the creation of the New Danube relief channel, with Danube Island (DonauInsel), in the 1970s, was the surrounding cityscape of the Danube of interest to contractors and builders. Not far from Donaupark, in 1967, the planning of the UNO-City was started. It was opened in 1979. The construction of the U1 U-Bahn line and the Reichsbruecke (Empire Bridge) gave an immense boost to the UNO-City various prospects. The foundation for the first building was completed in 1995, with the start of construction of the Andromeda Tower. Within a few years, the district became a thriving urban center in Vienna, with residential and office buildings, research facilities, recreational facilities and event locations. The area bordering the Danube Island has recreation areas, Donaupark and Old Danube. Donau City has two direct connections to the motorway network, and the Vienna International Airport is about 20 minutes away.

Transportation: The metro (U-Bahn) line that goes through Reichsbrücke is U1. Stations near Reichsbrücke include Vorgartenstrasse (near Mexikoplatz on the city centre side), Donauinsel (on the island in the middle of the bridge), and Kaisermühlen-VIC (next to the UNO City).

Reichsbrücke (The Empire Bridge) connects Vienna city centre with newer parts of the city on the left bank of the Danube. On the city centre side the bridge starts at Mexikoplatz, and on the other side it takes you to Kaisermühlen (Imperial Mills) and Vienna International Center, a large complex of convention facilities and United Nations offices, colloquially known as UNO Stadt or UNO City. Halfway over the Danube, Reichsbrücke goes over a large island, Donauinsel (Danube Island), a popular place to walk, jog, and relax for the Viennese. Reichsbrücke, which literally means Empire Bridge, is a two-level bridge. On the top there is a highway (officially not a highway, but a very wide and busy street) and on the lower level there are metro tracks and pedestrian pathways.

This blog starts at the same point we ended our former blog: you end your walk along the Reichsbrucke from west to east, over the Danube river - in the Kaisermühlen VIC U-Bahn station (U1 line) (VIC = Vienna International City) located in the Donaustadt district:

Water colour of the Danube: Though (almost) everything (including water in rivers) is usually very clean in Austria, you may not like the colour of the water in this particular case. The Danube is BROWN. The colour depends on the weather upstream the Danube; rain and erosion may change the colour significantly. Nevertheless, the Danube is normally quite clean and it is even possible to swim in the river or the adjacent bays in or near Vienna.

Exit from the underground station onto Schüttaustraße. On the north-west you see the white Andromeda Tower. The building height: 113 m. It was built during the years 1996-1998. It includes offices only:

Andromeda Tower and the adjacent residence project (of Soravia): The Danube Apartments:

A bit more to the south, still north-west of the station - is the Tech Gate tower Vienna (Wissenschafts- u Technologiepark). It is a science and technology park in the 22nd district of Vienna, Danube city and was built in the years 1999 to 2005, in two construction stages, designed by Wilhelm Holzbauer and Sepp Frank in Donau City district. The approximately 26-meter-high component gate was built in the first phase, from 1999 to 2001. In the second phase of about 75 meters high tower was built from 2004 to 2005:

The most southern couple of towers are the DC 1 and DC 2 towers. The DC Towers (also known as Donau City Towers) will be a pair of towers in Vienna's Donau City. DC Tower 1 is complete and the first tenants moved into the offices in October 2013. Construction of DC Tower 2 will started immediately afterwards. French architect Dominique Perrault has designed both towers:

The four towers: Andromeda, Tech Gate and DC 1 and 2. The last, still, under construction:

Remember ? We are in Schüttaustraße, our face to the north - after exiting the Kaisermühlen VIC U-Bahn station (which is on our right, to the east). Walk in Schüttaustraße about 150 m. and continue onto Platz der Vereinten Nationen, 90 m. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Donau-City-Straße. Go through 1 roundabout, 400 m. Turn right to stay on Donau-City-Straße, 110 m. Turn right onto Bruno-Kreisky-Platz, 270 m - to see the Austria Center, Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1. As the largest conference center in Austria Austria Center Vienna can accommodate 20,000 people and has 17 rooms for 100 to 4,320 people, 180 meeting rooms and 22,000 square meters of exhibition space.

A bit more eastward is the IAEA - International Atomic Energy Association building (photo below)L

and the VIC (Vienna International Centre) UN building:

The Saturn Tower, leonard-bernstein-straße 10 (should be on your left, north-west) is an office skyscraper in the 22nd district of Vienna Danube city. It was built in the years 2003 to 2004 after plans by Heinz Neumann and Hans Hollein Donau City district. As with other buildings in the Donaucity a mythological figure was name-giving, in this case, the Roman god Saturnus. The 90 meter high (21 floors) building is situated in the northwestern part of the Danube City following the Mischek Tower:

On our way to the Donau Park we see also the Mischek Tower (south-west to the Saturn Tower):

Mischek Tower + Saturn Tower in Leonard-Bernstein-Straße:

Another tower in Donau-City-Straße or Str. Abay (south to Leonard-Bernstein-Straße) is the Ares tower:

Donaupark (Danube Park): This park is easy to access. It has numerous entrances, including ones from Leonard-Bernstein-Straße.
One of the vastest Viennese parks covering an area of almost 800,000 square metres. You can cross it in about 35-40 minutes. Its location on the northern bank of the Danube River in the 22nd district of Vienna determines its neighbouring sights, most of them already browsed earlier in this itinerary. For example, there‘s the United Nations’ headquarters in Austria, the largest conference building in the country, the Austria Centre Vienna (ACV). The Donau City-  'city within the city'  was also constructed upon this Danube island. The banks of the Danube close to Donaupark even offer beaches for all to enjoy. Transportation: you can get there by taking the U-Bahn U1 to Alte Donau, turning right as you exit the station and walking a short distance.

Despite being a relatively young green space, as it was established as late as 1964, Donaupark features a rich assembly of sights, such as the Donauturm (Danube Tower) and garden sections with various plants. It was designed for the purposes of the first Vienna International Garden Show in 1964, under the architectural guidance of the Director of Vienna's Parks and Gardens Department – Alfred Auer. During the period 1871-1945, the site was used as a military parade square and a shooting range called Kagran, as well as an execution arena during World War II. Today, a memorial stands there to commemorate those killed by the Nazis. After the war, the spot was a trash depot until 1960, then cleaned up and turned into a park.

Donaupark is a fascinating park from any point of view. Not only is it easily accessible by any means of transport, including bicycle, but there’s also a designated mini-train within the park, Donaupark-Bahn, which offers a romantic round-the-park trip. Its entertainment facilities also shouldn‘t be underestimated, and if one is keen on art they‘ll have the pleasure of discovering great pieces of art such as memorials to Simon Bolivar and Salvador Allende. Chess players will have a chance to try the giant chessboard installed on the park’s premises. Also, sports facilities like skating and playground areas play their role in building the strong bodies and clear minds of the modern youth. All this and more awaits you in Donaupark. A generous park area was created in 1963 and 1964 on an island between the Danube and the Old Danube, between the centre of Vienna and the district of Donaustadt. The target was to gradually clean up the existing site: a rubbish dump and a former site of executions during the Nazi years. Today the existing features of the garden festival include: a giant chess board, skatepark and a petting zoo. The park has become a favorite for all ages:

Art in Donau Park:

The modern view of Donaupark is dominated by its imposing landmark, the 250 meters Donauturm (Danube Tower). The Donauturm was constructed by Hannes Lintl at the same time as the park itself, so it has been an inseparable part of it ever since its inception. The  magnificent view over Vienna if offers makes it a famous tourist attraction. Moreover, visitors can have some lunch at the revolving restaurant at the top. In the summer, bungee jumping fans have the opportunity to make their dreams come true. However, the Donauturm functions not only as a tourist hot spot and an impressive figure of Vienna’s skyline, but also holds various kinds of antennae. It might be an amazing alternative to the Ferris Wheel in the Prater. The 1st stop is open balcony, the 2nd is Restaurant-Cafe, and the 4th is Restaurant. The restaurant is revolving around the tower, so you can see the entire city from different perspectives. Perfect panoramic picture-setting opportunities from everywhere (since it rotates, you will get to see every aspect of the Vienna area). Tip: Amazing views if you go at sunset time and wait until dusk. They even have a bungee platform for those wanting to get down even quicker than the lift (not expensive). Open everyday 10.00 - midnight. Adult - 7.40 euros. Students is 5,90€.

Primarily, the Danube Park is an extraordinarily large green space where you can walk, run, or just relax in peace underneath the numerous shaded areas. It is well maintained and has facilities for various sports. There is a nice lake in the centre with a bridge where you can view the birds' life and plenty of seats and picnic tables in both sun and shade. Toilets can be found in multiple locations, and several cafés are dotted throughout.  There is mini-train that regularly winds its way through the park. The ride is for approx 30-40 minutes. During May-June the roses are blooming and the air is full with their scent:

I recommend that you cross the park and head north to the big lake (in the centre of the park) from one of the entrances from Leonard-Bernstein-Straße (there are, at least, 3 entrances to the park from this road). The Korea House of Culture has moved into the long-vacant, yet wonderful lake restaurant by the artificial Iris Lake, which dates to the 1960s when the park was opened. It is open to everyone and additionally has a tea house and library to pass the time in. It also offers courses on calligraphy and many other subjects, and also organizes exhibitions and cookery courses. From there head west to the Danube tower and slight to the north-west edge of the park to the Brigittenauer Brücke.

The Brigittenauer bridge is a six-lane road bridge over the Danube. In addition, it has walking and biking trails. Characteristic are the red color and the spiral ramps for pedestrians and cyclists. It connects the two districts of Vienna Brigittenau and Floridsdorf. The relatively new bridge was opened in 1982:

View of Donau City from Brigittenauer Bridge:

The Brigittenauer bridge forms a brace between the Handelskai station and  Brigittenau 20th district (on the west bank of the river) and the A 22 - Donauuferautobahn. Walking and cycling tracks will make for an ideal access to the Danube Island, New Danube and Danube Park. The mighty tower you see on the west bank is the Millenium Tower. The Millennium Tower is the second tallest building and fourth tallest structure in Austria at 171 metres. The tower is located at Handelskai 94-96 in the Brigittenau 20th district in Vienna. An antenna mounted on top of the tower brings the architectural height to 202 metres but does not count to its overall height. Millennium Tower was designed by the architects Gustav Peichl, Boris Podrecca and Rudolf Weber. The tower has 51 floors, serves both commercial and residential purposes, and is the focal point of a complex known as "Millennium City". It was completed in 1999 for the coming of the third millennium. The Millennium Tower was built in an extremely short construction time: Thanks to efficient organization of all work steps and modern building techniques have created an average of 2 ½ floors a week and the building completed in 1999:

We continue along the east bank of the Danube - from south to north. The next bridge is the Georg Danzer Bridge (U-Bahn line U6, pedestrian/bicycle path)

and further north is the Northern Railway Bridge (Nordbahn Brucke) crossing between Brigittenau and Floridsdorf districts on the east bank.

The Georg Danzer Bridge is named after singer/songwriter Georg Danzer, who passed away from lung cancer aged 61 in July 2007. The closest public transport station is the Neue Donau U-Bahn station (Line U6).

Vienna - Spittelau Power Plant and Klosterneuburg Monastery.

Ivana Simanek


Spittelau Power Plant - Energy is also Art and Klosterneuburg - "Cradle of Austria". A side trip to Setagaya Park - Unterdobling. Another side trip to Grinzing.

Tip 1: Spittelau and Klosterneuburg.

Tip 2: Setagaya Park - Unterdobling.

Tip 3: Grinzing village.

Orientation: In this itinerary we visit two different sites. The distance between them is 10 minutes RIDE in public transportation. Both of them SHOULD be visited in a sunny day. The Spittelau Power Plant is better lighted in the afternoon sun - so, I recommend, visiting, first,  the Stift Klosterneubur and, later, the Spittelau Power Plant.

Duration: 1/2 day. With the Setagaya Garden and/or Grinzing - 1 day.

Distance: negligble. With Setagaya Garden and/or Grinzing - 3-5 km.

The Hundertwasser-Heizkraftwerk (Power Plant) in Spittelau:

Transportaion: Spittelau Bahnh station: U4 or U6.

Vienna is certainly the most beautiful power-plant in the world - it looked just the way every power plant looks like, before Friedensreich Hundertwasser started to re-decorate it, following a major fire in 1989 - the façade was redesigned and was given its present colorful, irregular structures: colourful walls, bright windows, a tall tower and a golden dome. He created a new German word for what he did : "Behuebschen" (make things more beautiful). You may take the U-bahn and get there in order to walk around the building a bit, BUT you may not enter it. It is a  popular photographic highlight in Vienna. It functions, nowadays, as a waste incineration plant.  Since the 1990s years, the former utility building has combined the topics of waste, energy and art in a fascinating way. The main tower of the facility is 126 metres high and easily recognized from many spots above Vienna (something resembling a minaret is visible from many ends of the Austrian capital). It is situated between a large station for various means of transport, the Vienna Economics University and the Bundeskriminalamt, the federal police of Austria. On the other side, there is the Donaukanal, a side-branch of the Danube. Due to the large plazas around the buidling and its "public" nature, the many students who live in this area often use the squares in front of it as recreational grounds. The most amazing thing is that there isn't any smell or smoke or anything around it, it very clean around it and on the territory.

On a guided tour of the plant, visitors get an insight into Vienna's waste, recycling and disposal system, as well as the environmentally friendly generation of thermal heat and hot water. The Müllverbrennungsanlage Spittelau has the capacity to burn almost 17 tons of garbage per hour, producing some six megawatts of electricity and 60 megawatts of heat - which is directly used for the Fernwärme heating system of the city. WIEN ENERGIE Fernwärme, a company of WIEN ENERGIE, Spittelauer Lände 45, 1090 Vienna. Phone: + 43 (0)1 313 26– 0, Fax: + 43 (0)1 313 26–2200, APPOINTMENT ARRANGEMENTS FOR GUIDED TOURS: Phone: +43 (0) 810 900 400.

On the left side of the plant you'll see paved hiking trail that allows you to see the Avant-garde decorated plant from all sides. Do not walk through the metro line - there is no access. It is necessary to go back to the subway and, from there, follow the track.  Also unusual perspective opens on the right side - from the terrace adjacent to the Technical University. Truly, it is an outstanding example of how a past-ugly-conventional energy and waste plant can be transformed into an  awkward architectural creation and becomes a tourist attraction. If there is time - this building should be included in your travel itinerary, especially because metro is 50 meters away. It is recommended to see the plant during sunny days.

The Danube Canal - west to the Spittelau Power Plant:

From Klosterneuburg Weidling to Vienna Spittelau: commuter train S40 towards Wien Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof - 11 min (3 stops).

From Vienna Spittelau to Klosterneuburg Kierling: train R towards Sigmundsherberg - 10 min (2 stops) OR

From Vienna Spittelau to Klosterneuburg Weidling: commuter train S40 towards St.Pölten Hbf - 11 min (3 stops).

Klosterneuburg Monastery (Stift Klosterneuburg) is a twelfth-century Augustinian monastery of the Roman Catholic Church located in the town of Klosterneuburg in Lower Austria, , just north of the Vienna city limits -  overlooking the Danube river. Twenty minutes outside the city limits, the Stift Klosterneuburg, a 900-year-old monastery straight out of a fairy tale, comes into view, rising up above the B14 highway with its stern peaks set against the backdrop of a steep, perfect-for-grape-growing hill.

Public transport: 20 minutes bus ride,  239A regional bus from Heilegenstadt Station in Vienna, along the Danube up to the impressive monastery

OR from Wien Heiligenstadt - take commuter train S40 towards Tulln/Donau Stadt (7 min, 2 stops) to Klosterneuburg Weidling.

OR from Wien Mitte-Landstraße - take commuter train S2 towards Mistelbach/Zaya, 8 min (3 stops) to Wien Handelskai (Bahnsteige 1-2), from Wien Handelskai (Bahnsteige 11-12) - take commuter train S45 towards Wien Hütteldorf 5 min (1 stop) to Wien Heiligenstadt, From there take commuter train S40 towards St.Pölten Hbf 7 min (2 stops) to
Klosterneuburg Weidling.

OR from Wien Heiligenstadt take train R towards Sigmundsherberg
6 min (1 stop) to Klosterneuburg Kierling.

Another alternative: take the last stop on the U6 and then walk right outside and hop on the 239 bus. There is a bus stop right outside the monastery.

Note: the monastery offers guided tours for the Museum, Wine Cellar, the Imperial Tour (state rooms), and the 'Sacred Tour' ((abbey, church, world famous Verdun Altar) and the Treasury.  These tours are only in German. They offer free audio phone guides in multiple languages for several of the tours (the wine cellar is not "covered" by the audio guides). Photos are allowed in most of the monastery and church highlights.

The origins of Klosterneuburg Monastery go back to Margrave Leopold III, who in 1113 relocated his residence to Klosterneuburg and in the following year fulfilled a vow by founding the monastery. A year later, the monastery was founded in 1114 by Saint Leopold III of Babenberg, the patron saint of Austria, and his second wife Agnes of Germany. In 1133 the Babenberg Prince summoned the Canons Regular of St. Augustine to Klosterneuburg, where they were to spend centuries developing the monastery into a centre of religious life, culture and scholarship according to the monastic Rule of Saint Augustine. The abbey church, dedicated the Nativity of Mary (Maria Geburt), was consecrated in 1136 and later remodeled in the Baroque style in the seventeenth century. The impressive monastery complex was mostly constructed between 1730 and 1834. Its foundations, including a castle tower and a Gothic chapel, date back to the twelfth century. From 1634 on, the Habsburg rulers had the facilities rebuilt in the Baroque style. In 1879, the abbey church and monastery were restored and the neo-Gothic twin steeples were erected:

The Entrance:

The Orangery:

The imperial crown over the Monastery complex:

The monastery has unbroken wine growing tradition for nearly 900 years. Since its foundation in the year 1114 the Stift Klosterneuburg winery has produced wine making it the oldest winery in Austria. With a total vineyard area of 108 hectares and top vineyard fields in four different wine villages, it also counts among the largest and most famous wineries in the country. Opening hours of the WINE SHOP: Mon-Fri: 9.00 - 18.00, Sat: 9.00 - 17.00, Sun: noon - 17.00. Closed on public holidays.

In the Monastery's cellars - you'll see jars of wine-based jam and fancy vinegars, as well as native wines (15 wine varieties) and apple juices. The abbey produces about a million bottles of wine each year:

Klosterneuburg Monastery Interior:

The monastery is home to a series of notable artworks, from the world-famous Verdun Altar from the Middle Ages, made in 1181 by Nicholas of Verdun - to magnificent Baroque works through to modern painting. Its foundations, including a castle tower and a Gothic chapel, date back to the twelfth century. Other older buildings still extant within the complex include the chapel of 1318 with Saint Leopold's tomb. The monastery also contains a museum with a collection of Gothic and Baroque sculpture and a gallery of paintings, including fifteen panel paintings by Rueland Frueauf from 1505, four Passion paintings from the backside of the Verduner Altar from 1331, and the Babenberg genealogical tree. In addition to tours and exhibitions, the monastery presents specially conceived workshops for adults, school classes and children.

The apocryphal version of the Stift's origin is quite romantic and based on a legend: on their wedding day in 1106, Leopold III's bride Agnes's veil blew away. So distraught was his new queen — it was a second marriage for both — that Leopold swore he would build a monastery on the spot where the fabric was found. Nine years later Leopold stumbled upon the veil while hunting and honored his promise:

Rueland Frueauf - finding the Veil:

Collegiate Church of Klosterneuburg:

The Collegiate Church of the Nativity of Mary started to be built in 1114, donated by Margrave Leopold III and consecrated in 1136. In the 17th and early 18th century, it was converted to Baroque style in several stages. It invol

ved highly respected artists such as Giovanni Battista Carlone, Peter Strudel, Antonio Bellucci, Matthias Steinl, Johann Michael Rottmayr and Santino Bussi. Also famous is the organ in the collegiate church from 1642, built by Johann Boyfriend from Passau and is one of the most important instruments in Austria. In the late 19th century the architect Friedrich von Schmidt built the church towers and re-designed the exterior of the nave into neo-Romanesque forms.

The surviving medieval parts of Klosterneuburg Abbey are located northwest of the church. Particularly impressive is the cloister, which was built during yeras 1250-1350 and was fitted with a six-part ribbed vault. After the disastrous fire of 1330 it was originally equipped with valuable stained glass, of which have still preserved some fragments and could be seen in the Abbey Museum and in the Leopold chapel. The cloister was restored in 1869-1881.

East of the cloister closes the former chapter house (now Leopold chapel) that under which is the crypt. In the crypt founder Margrave Leopold III. and his wife Agnes are buried. To the left of the grid of the chapel is a staircase leading down to the non-public crypt. After the canonization of Margrave 1485, this space became an important place of pilgrimage. The room was equipped with stucco 1677-1680 by Jakob shock and frescoes by Johann Christoph Prandtl. The ceiling scenes show various miracles that should have taken place with the assistance of the St. Leopold.

Cloister of the monastery of Klosterneuburg:

Leopold chapel (former chapter hall with Gothic windows dating from 13th and 15th centuries), restored between 1677-1680: here is located  the famous Verdun Altar of 1181 is also placed on what 1936 shrine for the relics of St. Leopold was installed. In the chapel is presented every year his skull relic on and around the death of the Saints (November 15). The Verdun Altar was made in 1181 by Nicholas of Verdun. Its three parts comprise 45 gilded copper plates modeled on Byzantine paragons, similar to the Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral:

High altar of the abbey church (1728). The high altar is a work by Matthias Steinl and was built in 1728. The altar picture, by Johann Georg Schmidt, shows, fitting the name of the church, the Birth of the Virgin:

Ceiling paintings:

Choir stalls:

Since the 20th century is here the seven-branched candlestick, which was built around 1135 and is thus the oldest surviving piece of equipment of the church. It was probably cast in bronze in Verona. The shape of the Jewish Menorah is here specifically in the Christian sense to the "root of Jesse" has been reinterpreted (the genealogy of Christ). The seven branches symbolize the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Freisinger or Wehinger Chapel (1394, restored 1869-1881):

In the southwest corner of the cloister finally finds the Wehinger Chapel (also Freising Chapel), which was consecrated in 1394. It is used as a burial place for the brothers Berthold (Bishop of Freising, † 1410) and Reinhard of Wehingen († 1394). The chapel was, however, significantly reduced in the 17th century and rebuilt in the 19th century. Except for some architectural elements, only the high-quality tombs of the medieval principals have survived.

Leopoldihof (Kuchlhof): West of the cloister is the Leopoldihof, also called "Kuchlhof" courtyard. It is entered through a Gothic gatehouse of the 14th century with two-sided booths. Right behind it on the west side we find the former two-storey palace of the Marquis Leopold III., Which was built in the early 12th century and used for the margrave pair as a residence. Today the monastery archives are housed here. In the eastern corner is the current Augustine Hall (the former. Refectory), built in 1508 and 1725 which have completely redesigned. Today, this space is used for events and concerts. In the middle of the courtyard stands a fountain dated of 1592 - the figure of St. Leopold was not created until 1680.

Baroque Imperial Wing:

The Baroque wing should had been from 1730, designed by Donato Felice d'Allio and Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach as a monastery residence of Emperor Charles VI. - being expanded monumentaly. When the emperor died in 1740, however, unexpectedly, it came to an abrupt halt of construction. At this time, only one-eighth of the proposed plan was built. It was not until 1834-1842 that was completed one of the courtyards  (so-called. Kaiserhof), designed by Joseph Kornhäusel, whereby at least a quarter of the planned "Austrian Escorial" was finished. The outer walls have typical Baroque character and are highly indented - particularly the east facade. They are constructed with monumental columns and a large dome.

The Imperial Room of Emperor Charles VI. with the unfinished Sala Terrena in the middle of the east wing now serve as a visitor reception and provides an interesting insight into a Baroque site. This room should be designed as a kind of cave or garden room, which of the imperial court sculptor Lorenzo Mattielli created around 1735 the monumental male supporting figures (Atlases).

The first floor of the east wing contains the Imperial Apartments, which are accessible via the huge Kaiserstiege. From here you enter the marble hall, which is divided by colossal columns at the bottom. The ceiling fresco the glory of the house of Austria in 1749 painted by Daniel Gran. It glorifies the majesty of Austria and the once reigning dynasties in Austria, ie Babenberg, Habsburg and the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. The full title is: honor, glory and majesty of the house of Austria, starting in the Babenberg tribal increased more in the Habsburg home and fixed: in Lotharingian. The fresco shows several groups. It is called also the Napoleon Room. Napoleon visited the monastery in 20 DEC 1805:

In the middle of an obelisk with the representation of the Holy Margrave Leopold III:

Allegory of the Austrian Majesty. A female figure as an allegory of the Austrian Majesty (Maria Theresia equate) are the three most important crowns of the Habsburgs presents: the Roman-German imperial crown, the Hungarian Holy Crown, and the Bohemian Wenzel crown.

Allegory of the Austrian bravery. It is represented by Leopold V, who triumphed with the Austrian shield over the Turks:

Allegory of the Austrian wisdom and fortitude. The wisdom is symbolized by a woman with the snake, while the steadfastness crushed with a column a many-headed Hydra:

The union of the Houses of Habsburg-Lorraine is embodied by the King and Queen Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen of Lorraine:

Kaizer apartments - audience reception hall:

The Feasts Hall - tapestries (Telemachos Adventures) from Brussel factory (every 1 sqm of tapestry was manufactured during 4 months), candles sticks from Japan:

Corner Imperial family room:

A clock in thew corner room - shelled by bullets from WW2:

Imperial room (1739):

In the Klosterneuburg Monastery Treasury - you can see the Crown of St. Leopold and other rare gems:

The textile treasure of Klosterneuburg treasury is unique. It includes rare medieval textiles, precious woven and embroidered vestments. Klosterneuburg Abbey has mainly an exceptional collection of vestments of Baroque silk fabrics:

Note that an entire charming village grew up around the Stift, with sidewalk cafes, shops, and a tidy and flowery park centering everything, so allow half a day to have a leisurely visit. You can enjoy a nice view from the elevated plateau where the site is located:

Cozy Viennese “heurige” (wine taverns) also await you in the old Viennese wine villages of Neustift, Nussdorf, Sievering and Grinzing.

Vienna - Hundertwasserhaus, the Prater, Messe Wien and the Empire Bridge.

Ivana Simanek


Duration: 1 day. Hundertwasser House, Village and Hundertwasser Museum (Kunst Haus) 1/2 day and The Prater + way to Donaustadt - 1/2 day.

Tip 1: Hundertwasser sites.

Tip 2: The Prater (old fashioned fun),  Messe Wien, St. Francis of Assisi Church (Kirche zum heiligen Franz von Assisi), Mexikoplatz, Reichsbrucke (Empire Bridge), the way to Donaustadt (Danube City).

Distance: The two parts: 6-7 km (2.5 km. + 4 km.).

Hundertwasserhaus, Kegelgasse 36-38, Vienna:


From the Landstrasse U-Bahn station - it is 900 m. 12-15 minutes walk:

Head south on Bahnhof Wien-Mitte toward Landstraßer Hauptstraße, 15 m. Turn left onto Landstraßer Hauptstraße, 73 m. Turn left onto Invalidenstraße, 200 m. Turn right onto Marxergasse, 270 m. Turn left onto Seidlgasse, 96 m. Turn right onto Kegelgasse.  Hundertwasserhaus is on the right.

From the Rochusgasse U-Bahn station it is 950 m. , 12- 15 minutes walk:

Head northwest on Karl-Borromäus-Platz toward Sechskrügelgasse, 35 m.
Turn right onto Sechskrügelgasse, 160 m. Slight right onto Landstraßer Hauptstraße, 48 m. Continue onto Rasumofskygasse, 450 m. Turn left onto Löwengasse, 220 m. Turn right onto Kegelgasse.  The Hundertwasserhaus is on the right.

The Hundertwasserhaus is an apartment house in the Landstraße district on the corner of Kegelgasse and Löwengasse. Built after the idea and concept of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser with the cooperation of architect Joseph Krawina. This brightly-painted, natural apartment block with a forested roof & balconies is the expressionist Artist's main creation and is a famous landmark of Vienna. The house catches the eye with its colorful tiling, mosaics, turrets, columns and onion shaped spires.

The building is locked and you may not get inside. As it is residential you cannot go inside. The building contains a cafe and a little shop. Just walking around the house is worth a visit in itself.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000) was an Austrian painter, architect, and sculptor best known for his architecture characterized by colorful, ornamental, and irregular morphic shapes. He initially gained acclaim for his paintings, but later became more renowned for his unique, avant-garde, surrealist architectural styling. Hundertwasser's architectural style is often compared with those of Antoni Gaudi. In contrast to Gaudí, Hundertwasser used symmetrical mosaic stones, very carefully arranged.

Inspired by the Vienna Secession movement, especially the work of Austrian painters Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, Hundertwasser incorporated his decorative, labyrinthine spirals into his paintings, architecture and designs for postage stamps and flags. He developed his own theory of “Transautomatism”, which was inspired by the Surrealist concept of automatism (painting or drawing without conscious self-censorship), and sought to loosen the rigid rules of conventional art to emphasize the viewer’s experience.

Born Friedrich Stowasser in Vienna, he became one of the best-known contemporary Austrian artists, although controversial, by the end of the 20th century. In 1948 Friendensreich Hundertwasser studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts for 4 months. A year later he changed his name to Friedensreich Hundertwasser. His adopted surname is based on the translation of "sto" (the Slavic word for "one hundred") into German. The name Friedensreich has a double meaning as "Peaceland" or "Peacerich" (in the sense of "peaceful"). The other names he chose for himself, Regentag and Dunkelbunt, translate to "Rainy day" and "Darkly multicoloured". His name Friedensreich Hundertwasser means "full-of-peace hundred-water".

From 1949 to 1952 he undertook many journeys to North Africa and Paris, where he started to deal with the paintings of Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee and others. In the 1950s, Hundertwasser began designing architectural projects. These designs use irregular forms, and incorporate natural features of the landscape. Hundertwasser married Herta Leitner in 1958 but they divorced two years later. He married again in 1962 but was divorced by 1966. By this point he was very popular with his art.

During the late 1960s he gave a series of attention-grabbing naked speeches advocating for an individual’s right to construct his or her own house. Hundertwasser's father Ernst Stowasser died three months after his son's first birthday. The Second World War was a hard time for Hundertwasser and his mother Elsa, as she was Jewish. They avoided persecution by posing as Catholics, a credible ruse because Hundertwasser's father had been a Catholic. To remain inconspicuous, Hundertwasser joined the Hitler Youth. In 1962 Hundertwasser had his international break through at the Biennale in Venice. Around this time he also made ideological statements, with his famous nudist speeches and his call for peace, ecology and new forms of architecture. Not unlike the artists of the Session Movement, he saw art as a decoration. Hundertwasser got even more famous as an architect. From 1986 to 1991 he planned and realized different buildings, like the Hundertwasser Haus and the front of the waste combustion Spittelau.  Hundertwasser was buried in New Zealand after his death at sea on the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2000, at the age of 71.

As Hundertwasser’s reputation spread, more commissions arrived, including buildings as diverse as a church in the south of Austria, the railway station in Uelzen, Germany, a winery in the Napa Valley, California and the Hundertwasser toilet in Kawakawa. Hundertwasser's revolutionary architectural ideas also include topping buildings with trees and areas where animals can graze, and creating floor surfaces that are unleveled. His radical philosophies and outrageous antics attracted considerable attention from the public. Hundertwasser was against monotonous architecture, and called for a boycott of architecture with straight lines, and demanded instead creative freedom of building, and the right to create individual structures. He wrote manifestos and essays and organized demonstrations.

Hundertwasser house is one of Vienna’s most popular sights and was built 20 years ago as part of the city’s community housing project. Many of its tenants have moved in on opening and enjoy its beauty, its originality and its comforts. The Hundertwasserhaus apartment block in Vienna is his most famous creation. This building has undulating floors, a roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms, with limbs extending from windows. He took no payment for the design of Hundertwasserhaus, declaring that the investment was worth it to "prevent something ugly from going up in its place".

Opening Hours:  The café is open daily from 10.00 to 18.00.

In 1985 an English telephone booth was installed in front of Hundertwasser House, which Hundertwasser himself had imported from England. For Hundertwasser the English telephone booth was more in accordance with his architectural design of the house and its surroundings as well as with his architecture philosophy in general. The Austrian telephone booths at that time for him represented the ugliness of straight lines and the grid system. The telephone booth at Hundertwasser House was rebuilt in summer 2013. Also the floor tiles inside were newly laid:

The Hundertwasser and Kalke’s 'Village' is located opposite 'Hundertwasserhaus' and reflects the same ideas of interior design. The concept was not to tear down and demolish - but to rebuild and change concepts. The 'Village' was an old horse stable turned into petrol station and tire workshop owned by Kalke who worked with Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser to turn it into "the village. The Hundertwasser Village opposite is, basically, a commercial complex with souvenir shops  and overpriced coffee bars. For 80 cents you can visit the tiled toilets (which a long queue of camera-toting Japanese tourists were all doing). The toilets ARE worth an 80 cents visit, if you need, or almost need, to go. The official Hundertwasser information centre and shop is opposite the village in the complex itself and has much more interesting and relevant fare: information books, posters etc:

Not far from Hundertwasserhaus, four blocks north at Untere Weisbergerstrasse 13, is the KUNST HAUS WIEN, Museum Hundertwasser, Untere Weissgerberstrasse 13. It is 350 m., 5 minutes  walk. From the 'Village' head east on Blüteng. toward Untere Weißgerberstraße for 25 m and turn left onto Untere Weißgerberstraße.  This Museum is the world's only permanent exhibition of Hundertwasser's works, and is a gathering place for Hunderwasser lovers from all over the world. This building was originally a furniture factory  where the famous Thonet bentwood chairs were produced. Today it houses a permanent exposition of the artwork of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Its facade has a design similar to that of the Hundertwasserhaus, but this time black and white colors dominate. The Kunst Haus Wien, as is typical of Hundertwasser houses, hardly a straight line is to be found here either. Changing exhibitions of other artists are also shown on around 1,600 square meters of exhibition space. The Hundertwasser Museum in the Kunst Haus Wien and the famous Hundertwasser House are not only recommended as places to visit for guests of Vienna who are interested in art, but also invite everyone to go on a fantastic journey through the architecture and art of Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

it is worth a visit and one who loves art needs to plan on spending at least two hours exploring because at each spot you start to say wow that is an interesting way to see the world ! This is a must see!. Believe me, you'll easily get the "Alice in Wonderland" feel in this museum and its (permanent and temporary) exhibitions.

Opening Times: Exhibitions and shop: daily, from 10.00 to 19.00 (the ticket office closes at 18.30). TIAN bistro: Sunday to Thursday from 10.00 to 19.00, Friday and Saturday from 10.00 to 22.00. (after 19.00 only the entrance at Weißgerberlände 14 is open). Opening hours during holidays: 24 December: 10.00 to 15.00, 31 December: 10.00 to 17.00.

Public Transport: U1 or U4 to Schwedenplatz, continue on tram 1 (direction: "Prater Hauptallee") to Radetzkyplatz  OR  U3 or U4 to Landstrasse/Wien Mitte, continue on tram O (direction: "Praterstern") to Radetzkyplatz.

Prices: Adults: € 10.00, Children up to 10 years: free, Children & young people 11-18 years: € 5.00, Families (2 adults, 4 children up to 18 years): € 22.00. Audioguide: € 3,- for the Hundertwasser exhibiton in English and German:

You start by having coffee in the café with its amazing interior and this is an experience in itself:

Some famed insights by Friedensreich Hundertwasser:

  • "Our real illiteracy is our inability to create"
  • "If we dont honor our past - we lose our future. If we destroy our roots we cannot grow":

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - The love is something, Venice, 1978:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - Silent Flowers:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "This is the flag of God will. It is the flag of the promised land. The Arab mood is protecting the Jewish star":

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "The horizontal belongs to nature, the vertical belongs to Man, the straight line is Godness":

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "Spectacle on human face", Tokyo, 1968:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "Do not wait house more", Kyoto, 1980:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "Tennoy fly with hats", Kyoto, 1985:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "Goodmorning bleeding town", Venice, 1970:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "In Gamba" - Venice, 1989:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "Regentag on waves of love", Bayern, 1972:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "How do you do ? ", Venice, 1984:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "King Kong", Venice, 1968:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser -  "The boy with the green hair", Paris, 1967:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "The garden of the happy deads", St. Moritz, 1953. Hundertwasser believed in equilibrium between Man and Nature, between the City and Nature and in ecological way of living as a key to piece among nations:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - "Rain of blood falling into the garden", Kyoto, 1972. Hundertwasser's mother was Jewish and all her relatives were murdered by the Nazis. Hundertwasser, himself almost fell in their hands:

The backside of the gallery in Untere Weissgerberstrasse 13 faces the Donaukanal (Danube Canal) and once that you came that far, you should really take a look as well at the ship-station designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser:

From the Donaukanal and the Kunst Haus, Museum Hundertwasser we head to the Prater. It is 20 minutes, 1.2 km. walk. Head northwest on Dampfschiffstraße toward Obere Viaduktgasse, 250 m. Turn right onto Franzensbrücke and continue along it, 600 m.  Turn right onto Hauptallee, 22 m. Turn left toward Oswald-Thomas-Platz, 16 m. Turn left onto Oswald-Thomas-Platz, 14 m. Turn right to stay on Oswald, 40 m.
Turn left to stay on Oswald-Thomas-Platz, 90 m. Turn left toward Gabor-Steiner-Weg, 58 m. Turn left onto Gabor-Steiner-Weg, 3m. See Tip 2 below.

The Belvedere - it worth to visit Vienna only to see the ''Kiss".

Ivana Simanek


Upper and Lower Belvedere, Augustinerkirche and the Prunksaal.

Main attractions: The Belvedere palaces and gardens, The Austrian National Gallery, Kärntner Str., Lobkowitzplatz, The Austrian Theatre Museum, Josefsplatz, Augustinerkirche, Prunksaal.

Tip 1: The Belvedere palaces and gardens, The Austrian National Gallery, Josefsplatz.

Tip 2: Augustinerkirche.

Tip 3: The Prunksaal.

Duration: 1/2 - 1 day.

Distance: 4-5 km.

Transportation: Upper Belvedere, Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Vienna:

Underground: U1 (Stop "Südtirolerplatz"), Train: Station "Quartier Belvedere", S-Bahn: Station "Quartier Belvedere", Tram: D (Stop "Schloss Belvedere"), 18 and O (Stop "Quartier Belvedere"), Bus: 69A (Stop "Quartier Belvedere").
Lower Belvedere | Orangery | Palace Stables, Rennweg 6, 1030 Vienna: Tram: D, 71 (Stop "Unteres Belvedere").

21er Haus, Schweizergarten, Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Vienna: Underground: U1 (Stop "Südtirolerplatz"), Train: Stop "Quartier Belvedere", S-Bahn: Stop "Quartier Belvedere", Tram: D (Stop "Quartier Belvedere"), 18 and O (Stop "Quartier Belvedere"), Bus: 69A (Stop "Quartier Belvedere").

Opening Hours: Upper Belvedere - Daily 10.00 to 18.00, Lower Belvedere, Orangery - Daily 10.00 to 18.00, Wednesday 10.00 - 21.00, Palace Stables - Daily 10.00 to 12.00, 21er Haus - Wednesday and Thursday 11.00 to 21.00, Friday to Sunday 11.00 to 18.00, open on public holidays.

Orientation and Tips: The Belvedere is a magnificent palace complex in Vienna. Two Baroque palaces stand in row on a sloping hill. Between the palaces lies a wonderful French garden with fountains, statues and cascades. “Belvedere” translates (in Italian) to “beautiful view” and that’s what you can enjoy - visiting this wonderful site. Get there just after opening. The light is perfect for photography (especially the Upper Belvedere) and the only people there for about two hours are a few joggers. This makes photography without hordes of people effortless. it's forbidden to visit with a backpack (even small one). There are free lockers next to the toilets at level -1.

Entrance to the garden is free of charge and can be accessed either from the south or north side of the Belvedere complex. 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. Entrance and access from the top is either from Landstraßer Gürtel past the water basin, or, most convenient for public transport users, from the tram stop "Schloss Belvedere" (line D) in Prinz-Eugen-Straße next to the upper palace. Less recommended is the access to the gardens from the bottom which is from Rennweg through the passage at the left end of the lower palace.

Combi-Ticket prices: Upper Belvedere, Lower Belvedere/Orangery and 21er Haus with one ticket.  This ticket is valid for 14 days after the first visit.
Adults € 22.50, Seniors (60 years and above) € 18.50, Students (0-26 years) € 18.50, Groups (of 10 Persons and over) € 18.50, Children & Teenagers (0-18 years) free. Discounted tickets with valid Vienna-Card € 19.

Photography is not allowed inside Oberes and Unteres Belvederes,

General information: The complex was built as the summer palace for Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), successful general and art connoisseur, who succeeded in defeating the Turkish army in 1683 (many still perceive as the most successful military commander in Austrian history). The Belvedere was designed by court architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, who created a masterpiece of Baroque architecture - as the general's summer residence - at the time it was still outside the gates of the city. The foundation of the collections of the museums were laid by Prince Eugène of Savoy himself, who was an avid patron of the Arts and amassed a large collection of paintings and sculptures from across Europe. After the death of the childless prince in 1736, his possessions, including works of art and a large library were sold off by his cousin Anna Victoria. In 1752 she also sold the palaces to empress Maria Theresia, who decided to use the Belvedere to house the royal art collection. In 1779 she opened the palace and gardens to the public. 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. At the end of the nineteenth century, the art collection moved to the purpose-built Kunsthistorisches Museum (see my blog devoted to this museum). This Baroque architectural jewel consists of two palaces (Upper and Lower Belvedere), which today house Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day. In 1918, after the war, the palaces were appropriated by the state, after which both palaces became home to state museums. Agnes Husslein-Arco, formerly Director of the Salzburg Rupertinum and the Museum der Moderne on the Mönchsberg, has been Director of the Belvedere since 2007. She has positioned the Belvedere as a museum of Austrian art in an international context, dispensing with using the official name Österreichische Galerie. Following extensive adaptation and remodeling, the highlights of the collections of medieval and Baroque art (previously in the Lower Belvedere) have been placed on display at the Upper Belvedere since spring 2008. For the first time, the entire scope of the permanent collection, from the Middle Ages to the mid-twentieth century, can now be seen under one roof. The adapted rooms in the Lower Belvedere and Orangery now provide space for temporary exhibitions. Moreover, a study collection of the medieval holdings was set up in the former Palace Stables. The permanent collections were redisplayed in 2011.

Upper Belvedere - Oberes Belvedere: world's largest Klimt collection.  The Oberes Belvedere or upper Belvedere stands at the southern end of the park, at the top of the slope. The upper palace became the residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand until he was assassinated in 1914, an event that led to the start of the First World War.

Its exterior is much more impressive than the rather modest Unteres Belvedere. Especially the main façade, facing south, is magnificent. The many sculptures that adorn the facade are a reference to the victory over the Turkish army. The rooftop structures are said to evoke tents at Turkish army camps. The impressive Baroque palace was completed in 1723. Its purpose was mainly a ceremonial one, its sumptuous rooms being used to hold different events for the prince's noble guests.

Nowadays the panorama from the Upper Belvedere is still wonderful. It 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 far 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 neo-Gothic 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. Note: there is a particularly good view of the gardens from third floor of the building of the Upper Belvedere:

Prices  of Upper Belvedere Permanent Collection: EUR 14 (adults); EUR 11 (visitors of more than 60 years of age); visitors under 19 go free. Worth paying to visit the inside exhibitions - don't let the cost put you off. Worth the money.

The Upper Belvedere has a couple of surprisingly small but excellent cafes. Good food and wine available at a reasonable price. The cafés can be entered free. Ask to use the toilet and you will be given a pass to get to them inside the gallery, so you can see some of it free.

The majestic wrought iron gates which are the entrance leading to the Belvedere Palaces. At the top-side of the gates are two powerful lions guarding a plague and crown.

The Upper Belvedere - home to the Austrian Gallery:

Sculptures below the the Upper Belvedere:

Two sphinxes sit below the Upper Belvedere:

The interior of the Oberes Belvedere was designed by Claude le Fort du Plessy. Unfortunately little of the original interior has been preserved since the building was actively used until the mid-twentieth century. The most impressive hall is the Sala Terrena, where large statues support the vaulted ceiling. The palace without the art masterpieces alone would be worth the visit:

Sala Terrena:

The Austrian National Gallery at the Upper Belvedere hosts not least than dozen collections of Austrian art. They span an era as vast as from the Middle Ages to the present. There are benches to sit upon in most of the many rooms while admiring the masterpieces. We browse most of the rooms in brief:

Historicism and Impressionism: The collection brings together masterpieces by such artists as Hans Makart, Anton Romako, Arnold Böcklin, Jean-François Millet, Emil Jakob Schindler, Carl Schuch, Auguste Rodin, Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The centerpiece - are Gustav Klimt’s Golden Period masterpieces.

Hans Makart (May 28, 1840 - October 3, 1884) was a 19th century Austrian academic history painter, designer, and decorator; most well known for his influence on Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists, but in his own era considered an important artist himself and was a celebrity figure in the high culture of Vienna, attended with almost cult-like adulation.

Hans Makart, The Five Senses (Hearing, Smelling, Tasting, Seeing, Touching), 1872-9:

Anton Romako, Admiral Tegetthoff in the Naval Battle of Lissa II, c. 1878/80:

Camille Jacob Pissarro, Street in Pontoise (Rue de Gisors), 1868:

Oscar Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) - Path in Monet’s Garden in Giverny,1902:

Pierre Auguste Renoir, After the Bath, 1876 :

A Seating Bather by Pierre-Auguste Renoir:

Vincent van Gogh, The Plain of Auvers, 1890:

Viennese Secession: The ‘secession’  was a split-off from the Vienna Society of Visual Artists (Künstlerhaus) - triggered as rejection of the latter’s conservatism, still rooted in Historicism. The Secession’s first exhibition was in 1898. One of its priorities was to provide connections with modern art out of Austria. In this sense, it was a kind of Austrian Avant-Garde or Decadence art:

Max Klinger The Judgment of Paris, 1885-1887:

In 1905, Gustav Klimt (1862 Vienna – 1918 Vienna) and a group of artists and architects left the Secession - forming the Kunstschau in 1908 and the Internationale Kunstschau in 1909. The Klimt Group offered modern platform and insight and included names like: Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. In those years Klimt created mainly allegorical and symbolist works, the most famous of which is his depiction of two lovers (The Kiss, 1908). The Belvedere houses the world’s largest collection of oil paintings by Klimt (after losing in court 4 famous pictures claimed by American art collector).

Gustav Klimt - "Lovers", more popularly known as "The Kiss":

Gustav Klimt - "The Bride":

Gustav Klimt: Johanna Staude:

Gustav klimt - portrait of Sonja Knips:

Gustav Klimt, Girl Friends  or Water Nymphs, 1904-1907:

Expressionism: Expressionism was one of the leading trends in the first 30-40 years of the twentieth century. The works by Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Herbert Boeckl, Jean Egger, Helene Funke,  and Richard Gerstl, are characterized by an ecstatic show of colours meant to enhance expression. An illusionist rendering of surface textures was stressed and displayed in favor of reflecting the artist’s individual sensations and emotions.

Egon Schiele (1890-1918) - The Family. Egon Schiele (June 12, 1890 – October 31, 1918)  was an Austrian figurative painter of the early 20th century. His work is noted for its intensity and its raw sexuality, and the many self-portraits the artist produced, including naked self-portraits. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize Schiele's paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early exponent of Expressionism:

Egon Schiele, Mother with Two Children III (Mother III), 1915-1917:

Egon Schiele, Death and Maiden, 1915:

Helene Funke, Still Life with Peaches, 1918:

Oskar Kokoschka, Mother and Child, Embracing, 1922:

Oskar Kokoschka, The Tigon, 1926:

Richard Gerstl, The Fey Sisters Karoline and Pauline Fey, 1905:

Between the Wars: This period saw a return to a realistic representation of things as a counter movement to the abstract trends of the Cubism and Expressionism. In Austria this style was known as Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity):

Franz Sedlacek, Storm, 1932:

Art after WW II: The Viennese School of Fantastic Realism, a variant of surrealist painting, is represented in the Upper Belvedere by Albert Paris Gütersloh, the co-founder of the Art Club. Other famous representatives of this movement are Ernst Fuchs and Friedensreich Hundertwasser:

Ernst Fuchs, “Moses and the Angel of the Lord before the Burning Bush”, 1956-57:

Friedensreich Hundertwasser, The Big Way, 1955:

Museum of Medieval Art - Middle Ages at the Upper Belvedere:

The Belvedere’s holdings comprise internationally outstanding works of Late Gothic sculpture and panel painting that give an overview of the most significant artistic developments of the International Gothic style from c. 1400 to the early sixteenth century. The works on view in the Upper Belvedere include exquisite sculptures exemplifying the so-called ‘Beautiful style’, as well as the impressive Znaim Altarpiece and works by Conrad Laib, the Master of the Altarpiece of the Abbey of the Scots in Vienna, Rueland Frueauf the Elder, and Michael Pacher:

Michael Pacher, Flagellation of Christ, 1497/1498:

Marx Reichlich - Visitation:

Andreas Lackner, Enthroned St Blasius with the Sts Rupert and Maximilian, 1518:

Baroque Museum: In the seventeenth century, it was primarily international artists who achieved great renown in the territory of present-day Austria. Only towards the end of the century can one begin to speak of Austrian painting of the High Baroque, which nonetheless was marked by a strong Italian influence. Among its prominent representatives, besides Martino Altomonte, are most notably pupils of the German-Venetian Johann Carl Loth, including Johann Michael Rottmayr, Hans Adam Weissenkircher, Johann Carl von Reslfeld, and not least Peter Strudel, who was a celebrated painter in his day and founded a protoacademy to ensure that young artists received an education. This academy, which engaged specialists from every genre, later became the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. From the eighteenth century onwards, the art of the Habsburg Empire was marked by the influence of the Vienna Academy, where painters like Jacob van Schuppen, Martin van Meytens, Paul Troger, Friedrich Heinrich Füger, and Johann Baptist Lampi the Elder were active as either professors or rectors. One of its foremost graduates was certainly Franz Anton Maulbertsch, whose expressive style broke with tradition and who later gained great popularity.

Jacob van Schuppen, Prince Eugen von Savoyen in the Battle of Belgrade- year 1717:

Paul Troger - St. Sebastian and the women - 1746:

Classism – Romantic period – Biedermeier:

The collection of Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Viennese Biedermeier comprises paintings and sculptures from all over Europe dating from 1770 to the 1860s and beyond. Comprising 2,600 objects, this is the largest of the Belvedere’s collections.

The collection of art from the Viennese Biedermeier era – Biedermeier Realism to use the correct term – is famous, even internationally, for its scope and the many artists it features. In addition, the Belvedere houses masterpieces by some of the great names of this period, among them Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Friedrich von Amerling, and Josef Danhauser.

Jacques-Louis David - Napoleon crossing the Alps - 1801:

Friedrich Heinrich Füger, Artist's brother:

François Gérard - Graph von Fries with his wife, 1804:

Caspar David Friedrich - Rocky Ravine - 1822-3:

Joseph Anton Koch - Berner Oberland - 1815:

Johann Scheffer von Leonhardshoff - The Death of Holy Caecilia (1821):

Johann Baptist Reiter - painted Slumbering Woman - 1849:

Rudolph fon Alt, Stephansdon in Vienna, 1832:

Danhauser, Josef 1805-1845. "The rich spendthrift", 1836:

Anton Petter - Wenzel asks Rudolf of Habsburg to the body of his father Przemysl Ottokar - 1826:

Josef Danhauser - Die Romanlektüre - 1841:

Johann Michael Neder - The controversy of the coachmen - 1828:

Friedrich Gauermann, Lake Altaussee with the Dachstein Massif, c. 1827:

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, 1793 − 1865:

Waldmüller is the most important Austrian artist of the nineteenth century. His name is always associated with the so-called Biedermeier era and yet his art reached beyond this period, both in date and in the realism of its images and the power of their pictorial messages. Indeed, the works that account for Waldmüller’s international acclaim – such as Corpus Christi Morning (1857) or Early Spring in the Vienna Woods (1861) – were painted long after the Biedermeier era.

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller - Early Spring in the Vienna Woods - 1861:

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, On Corpus Christi Morning, 1857:

The “Character Heads” by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt can be seen in the Upper Belvedere and I found them fascinating. Franz Xaver Messerschmidt was born in 1736 as Wiesensteig in Swabia. He studied at the Academy in Vienna. This was the start of an impressive career culminating in the monumental statues of Emperor Franz and Maria Theresia. In spite of his success, he was passed over for the Chair of sculpture at the Academy in 1774. Disappointed, he left Vienna. In his isolation, Messerschmidt began sculpting a series of works known after his death as “character heads.” He has begun them in around 1770-1772. It is likely that one source of inspiration for these was his Krohn illness he suffered from. The heads are like studies of the various expressions and reactions. Although Messerschmidt must have been a bizarre and solitary character, he was always a respected artist and was still sculpting portraits busts when he died in 1783:

Lower Belvedere - Unteres Belvedere - Prince Eugene’s apartments and staterooms: The palace was built from 1714 to 1716 and contains some magnificent rooms (Prunksaale) which are well preserved. Most of the Lower Belvedere rooms are open to visitors. Temporary showings and exhibitions are located in the lower Belevdere. Some of them might be a hit !

The Museum Shop in the Lower Belvedere:

The famous rooms are the: Dining Room, Mirror Hall and the Bedroom. The feudal splendor of the palace’s aristocratic owner is reflected in the Hall of Grotesques, the Marble Gallery, and the Golden Room/Cabinet. Intriguing special exhibitions are staged in the Lower Belvedere and the Orangery. Located at the bottom of the gardens, it's not as big or grandiose as the Upper Belvedere. The main reason being that the prince used it as his private living quarters, not for ceremonial events. It is flanked by the orangery and palace stables, both of which have now been turned into museum space. A visit to the Lower Belvedere includes a tour of the prince's gorgeous former residence, as well as access to special exhibitions (check in advance !). Once you enter, the Gold Cabinet‘s gold plated and mirrored walls, the Grotesque Hall with its rich ornaments, and the marble hall’s delicate white reliefs and display of baroque sculpture will prove otherwise.

The Marble Gallery:

The Gold Cabinet:

The adjoining Orangery, originally built to provide cover for plants during the winter, is now used for temporary expositions. The Orangery is a typically long-shaped hall with stone floors and high large windows that flood the room with light. It is regularly used for temporary exhibitions:

Palace stables – Medieval Study Collection: The stables once housed the prince's 12 finest horses: today you will find the Belvedere's entire medieval art collection here. The stables are home to the Schatzhaus Mittelalter - a museum of medieval art with a large collection of paintings and sculptures from the twelfth through the early sixteenth century. 

21er Haus: The new "21er Haus" museum is not only highly interesting from an architectural point of view, but is also intensively engaged in Austrian art of the 20th and 21st centuries.The impressive building was constructed by leading architect Karl Schwanzer as the Austria pavilion for the World Exhibition in 1958 and opened as a museum for the art of the 20th century in Vienna in 1962. Today, the building known as 21er Haus and forming a part of the Belvedere, is used in an international context as a platform for Austrian art from 1945 to the present day. In addition to themed changing exhibitions and individual items, the new museum will also show the estate of the sculptor Fritz Wotruba and house the artotheque of the Austrian Federation. A cinema and a café-restaurant with terrace in the sculpture courtyard (designed by Adolf Krischanitz and Hermann Czech) supplement the offering. Architect Adolf Krischanitz adapted and remodeled Schwanzer's building for the re-opening in 2011. In 1958, Schwanzer received the Grand prix d'Architecture for the trendsetting and technically innovative design. Krischanitz has now excavated the basement and added a six-storey tower to the facility, which acts as a long-range signal:

The Palace Garden: Between the Unteres Belvedere and the Oberes Belvedere lies the Belvedere garden. It was laid out between 1700 and 1725 by Dominique Girard in the formal French style. The garden is decorated with numerous statues as well as fountains and cascades. The view from the top of the sloping garden towards the Unteres Belvedere is magnificent and explains its name - Belvedere - which is Italian for beautiful view. The garden has three levels, separated by two large cascades. The upper cascade consists of six basins flanked by statues. Large statues of sphinxes - symbols of strength and intelligence - decorate the upper levels of the garden. Even more statues adorn the lower cascade with a small waterfall.  Classical statues of eight muses adorn the lower level. Statues along the staircase between the lower and middle part of the garden symbolize the twelve months of the year. You'll  quickly feel far removed from the city and be impressed by the loveliness of the paths, the greenery, and the geometry of the grounds. The gardens present many great photographic opportunities with their fountains, statues and manicured lawns The gardens are free to walk through. They are open from dawn to dusk. They are not huge and can be easily walked.

In 1803, Europe's first alpine garden was created in the extensive park area of Belvedere castle following a suggestion of Archduke Johann. Today, more than 4000 plants represent the diverse flora of the alpine ecosystem. Spring and early summer are the best times to visit as many plants foliate and start to flower. The Alpengarten is right on the beginning of your downhill direction visit (starting at Gürtel Landstrasse, behind the Upper Belvedere) on the right side of the so nice ornamental pond, surrounded by flower beds, around the Upper Palace. The alpine garden charges an extra 3 euros fee:

View to the Upper Belvedere:

The descent from the Upeer to the Lower Belvederes. Mythological sphinxes, figures and cherubs adorn the fountains and stairways in the middle of the garden. Each cherub represents a month of the year:

Gardekirche, Rennweg - near (east to) the Lower Belvedere:

The middle of the Belvedere Gardens:

The Cascades between the middle of the Gardens and the Lower Belvedere:

View to the Gardens slope from the Lower Belvedere:

From the LOwer Belvedere - it is a 1.2 km, 20 minutes walk to Kärntner Str: Head northwest on Rennweg toward Veithg., 220 m. Slight right to stay on Rennweg, 35 m. Continue onto Schwarzenbergplatz, 450 m.
Turn left onto Schubertring and turn right onto Schwarzenbergstraße
230 m. Turn left onto Krugerstraße, 210 m. Turn right onto Kärntner Str. Right in the heart of the city, Karntnerstrasse runs from Stephansplatz up to the Opera, so it starts where Graben finishes. We entered the Kärntner Street - north to the State Opera House and the Hotel Sacher is on our left. The Kärntner Strasse Vienna (C2) exists since the Roman Age and was at that time known as -Strata Carinthianorum- an important connection from the center to the city wall. The 19th century was characterizing for the present shopping street. Only a few of the noble buildings, from that time, were not destroyed during the Second World War. In the year of 1974 the Kärntner Strasse was redesigned to a pedestrian zone according the plans or architects Windbrechtinger and Holzbauer. This new function of the street should be used by the citizens and tourists for shopping, strolling and lingering and this task was without doubt very well done.  Today this pedestrian zone is a perfect place for shopping in the center of Vienna. There is a diversified mix of historical buildings, traditional shops and stylish flagship stores of international companies and two department stores, Steifl and Peek & Cloppenburg. There are even two large Swarovski stores a few metres from each other along the same side of the street. Shop opening hours: Monday - Friday: 09.00 - 19.00, Saturday: 09.00 -  18.00. An important Hotel on the street, is the Hotel Sacher (where Sacher Torte was first created) which is styled like a renaissance palace.  The few eateries along Kärntner Straße are best avoided. One of the most notable buildings is the Palace Esterhazy, where a branch of the Casinos Austria is located in its historic rooms:

It can be quite crowded on Kaerntner Strasse during the day and it is better for strolling early or later on, during the evening, as I did.

We don't continue south to the OPera House or North to Stepansplatz. Instead we head north-west to  Lobkowitzplatz. Head north on Kärntner Str. toward Führichgasse. Turn left onto Führichgasse, 94 m. Turn right onto Tegetthoffstraße, 50 m. Turn left onto Gluckgasse, 90 m. and you face Lobkowitzplatz: a fashionable square in Vienna. Turn left (south-west) along Lobkowitzplatz (Österreichisches Theatermuseum / Palais Lobkowitz is on your right). The Austrian Theatre Museum is housed in a palace originally built for a 17th-century count. The Lobkowitz Palace was the first important town palace built in Vienna after 1683. The central part with its big main portal was designed by Johann Fischer von Erlach, the great baroque architect. After several changes of possession the Lobkowitzs, a very musical family, took over the palace in 1745. From time to time the family kept their own band and promoted concerts. As Prince Lobkowitz was the dignitary of Beethoven’s Third Symphony, the hall was given the name the 'Eroica-Hall'. During the Congress of Vienna, many magnificent balls and receptions were held at the palace. Continuing this tradition, we offer you the opportunity to stage events in one of Austria’s most beautiful Baroque palaces. The Eroica-Hall on the first floor is the ideal setting for all kinds of festivities and events, such as concerts and musical performances, book presentations or wedding ceremonies. Exhibits reflect the history of theater design from the Baroque era to the mid-20th century. Models show the first Hofburg theatre and Eroica-Saal, an important venue of Beethoven's work, along with important stage sets that made an impact on Viennese theater, including "Anthony and Cleopatra." The museum collection features thousands of sketches, drawings, paintings, etchings, costumes and models:

This is the view Looking towards the Albertina Museum:

Turn right onto Augustinerstraße and continue onto Josefsplatz (already explored in my "Vienna - from the Hofburg to the State Opera House" blog):

We continue our itinerary with the Augustinerkirche, Augustinerstraße 3 (sub-ordinate, No. 2 Tip) (on your left, west) and the Prunksaal (see sub-ordinate, No. 3 Tip). Both of them are around Josefsplatz.

Vienna - Schönbrunn Palace and Park.

Ivana Simanek


Schönbrunn Palace interiors:

Tip 1: General information and the Palace Interiors - the Imperial Tour.

Tip 2:  Palace Interiors - Rooms included in the Grand Tour.

Tip 3:  Schönbrunn Gardens and other sites.

******************** Tip 1 *****************************

Transportaion: Public transport lines arrive directly to the palace: Underground: U4, Schönbrunn station,
Trams: 10 and 58, Schönbrunn station,
Bus: 10A, Schönbrunn station.

From the Westbahnhof (western railway terminal): journey time approximately 15 minutes - take the westbound tram line No. 58 and alight at Schönbrunn. From the Station Meidling: journey time aproximately 30 minutes - take the northbound U6 (brown) underground line and alight at Längenfeldgasse, then change to the westbound U4 (green) underground line and alight at Schönbrunn.

Opening Hours: Schönbrunn Palace is open daily, including public holidays. 1st April to 30th June 08.30 to 17.30, 1st July to 31st August 08.30 to 18.30, 1st September to 31st October 08.30 to 17.30, 1st November to 31st March 08.30 to 17.00. Ticket sale starting at 08.15.

Duration: 1 day.

Tours types:

Imperial Tour: 22 rooms, c. 30-40 minutes, € 11,50 / € 8,50 (see below).  You will see the state rooms and private apartments of Franz Joseph and Sisi.

Grand Tour: 40 rooms, c. 50-60 minutes, € 14,50 / € 9,50 (see below). Besides the state rooms and private apartments of the imperial couple you´ll also see the precious 18th-century interiors from the time of Maria Theresia.

There are combined tickets of the Schönbrunn and Hofburg Palaces.

Prices:            Imperial Tour           Grand Tour                   Grand Tour
                        with audio guides   with audio guides         with guide
                        ------------------------    -----------------------         ---------------

Adults                            € 11,50               € 14,50                       € 16,50
Children (aged 6 - 18)   € 8,50                 € 9,50                         € 11,00
Students (aged 19 - 25) € 10,50               € 13,20                       € 15,20
Disabled persons          € 10,50               €13,20                        € 15,20

Tips: Most of the outside grounds are free but you'll have to join a tour to see the inside. Of the 1441 rooms within the palace, 40 are open to the public. The Imperial Tour takes you into 26 of these, and in the last room those on a Grand Tour show their tickets again and continue through the remaining rooms. Note that the Grosse Galerie (Great Gallery), part of both tours, is being restored until late 2012. Despite the rather steep prices, both tours are well worth doing for an insight into the people and the opulence of the baroque age. Because of the popularity of the palace, tickets are stamped with a departure time, and there may be a time lag before you’re allowed to set off in summer, so buy your ticket straight away and explore the gardens while you wait. The palace tour is one of the few Viennese tourist attractions that remembers not all visitors speak German. Your ticket entitles you to a free — and excellent — audio guide, which has a choice of languages including English. There is some written information in the rooms (in German and English) but you need the audio guides to benefit from the experience. The narrators tell you what you're looking at, they put everything in historical context, and they throw in little anecdotes and bonus material, like an original voice recording of Emperor Franz Joseph.

History: The land around Schönbrunn Palace had been in the possession of the Habsburgs since 1569, when the wife of Emperor Ferdinand II. had a summer residence built there in 1642. The Schönbrunn palace and garden complex built here from 1696, after the Turkish occupation, was redesigned from the ground up by Maria Theresia after 1743. By the early 1700's Emperor Charles VI starting using the property as a Summer hunting lodge since the grounds were heavily wooded 4 miles from central Vienna, but still no Palace... It wasn't until Emperor Charles VI gifted the residence to his daughter Maria Theresa in the mid 1700's that the Estate started to blossom. Maria Theresa decided to finish the grounds as a true Palace and added many fascinating features like a huge garden, the mighty Neptune Fountain, a theater, a festive zoo, beautiful galleries, and opulent fixtures from Chinese lacquer panels and murals, to colorful wall papers. When Maria Theresa died in 1780, Schönbrunn Palace again fell to the wayside of the uniterested Royal family and was even occupied by French Emperor Napoleon twice in 1805 and 1809. The Palace finally began to start hitting its potential in 1853 when Emperor Franz Joseph, who was born in the Palace in 23 years earlier, married Elizabeth of Bavaria. Elizabeth also known as Sissi had a very keen eye for design and the motivation to spruce Schönbrunn Palace up better than ever. Elizabeth quickly come to beloved by the people of Austria for her individual sense of freedom and how beautiful she was. In a moment of perfect timing during Sissi's revamping of Schönbrunn Palace, Austria and Hungary joined as one empire in 1867 giving her an unlimited budget for remodeling any way she wanted. During the remodeling the Hapsburg's built ornate carriages as well as a series of stately Imperial Apartments. Schönbrunn Palace even got its current yellow look thanks to a new coat of paint. Although it may seem that the gold paint was meant to be bold, it was actually used because it was the cheapest color of paint available. It turns out that even empresses with unlimited budgets can still care about making thrifty decisions. Sissi later ruled Austria after her husband died and went on to become the country's longest ruling royal ever. Toward the end of her life Sissi spent more time at the Palace of Gödöllő in Hungary, but she definitely left her mark on Schönbrunn Palace and the people of Austria. She died at the age of 60 in 1898 which was a long life back then. For most of the year, the Habsburgs resided in the countless number of chambers that a large imperial family needed - in addition to the formal state rooms. Emperor Franz Joseph, who later married the enchanting Queen Elizabeth, Sisi and reigned from 1848 to 1916, was born here in 1830. In the possession of the Habsburg dynasty since Maximilian II, the palace passed to the ownership of the Republic of Austria at the end of the monarchy in 1918. Although Austria is now a republic, Schönbrunn has remained a place of political encounter at the highest level.

Since the height of the Hapsburg Dynasty, Schönbrunn has survived many political changes and even a WWII bomb that crashed through 3 floors but failed to explode. Today the giant 1,441 room palace has 40 rooms available to visit with a paid guided tour and pristine grounds that can be seen for free. Inside the rooms had been renovated to look like Maria Theresa and Sissi had just spruced them up yesterday.

In 1992 the Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. was founded and entrusted with the administration of the palace as a modern, limited-liability company. The company is solely owned by the Republic of Austria. Preservation and restoration have to be financed by the company from its own resources without recourse to state subsidies.

Schönbrunn Palace is one of Europe's most impressive Baroque palace complexes. Today, the palace is part of UNESCO’s cultural heritage due to its historic importance, its unique grounds and its splendid furnishings.

The tour: The tour actually starts at the west wing of the palace in the rooms of the aforementioned Emperor and his wife Elisabeth (the famous "Sissi"). The rooms in the west wing are Iess elaborately decorated and were used for domestic purposes by members of the imperial family. By contrast the living rooms and offices used by Emperor Franz Joseph are simple and very unpretentious. Take a note of the relatively (but only relatively) spartan decor so you can compare it to the rooms used by earlier generations of Hapsburgs. Franz Joseph clearly led a disciplined life. His bed (the one he died on) is totally nondescript, as is his lavatory. Yes, we get to see the place where even the Emperor had to be alone.

Offer of itinerary:

Proceed up the Blue Staircase--named for its color scheme--to the "Bel Étage," where the most important state and private rooms in the palace are located. At the top of the stairs, turn right into the Fishbone Room for a view of one of the inner courtyards, then turn right for a view into the relatively spartan room of the Emperor Franz Joseph's aide-de-camp (Adjutants Room). From there turn left into the Guard's Room, then right into the Billiard Room, which is decorated with paintings about the Hapsburg family history. Go straight to the Walnut Room, where the Emperor held audiences. Turn left into Franz Joseph's Study, where the Emperor spent most of his time working on State papers. Straight ahead is Franz Joseph's bedroom, where he died in 1916. On the wall is a portrait of him on his death bed. Go straight to the Western Terrace Cabinet, with its portraits of the daughters of Empress Maria Theresa and then left into the Stairs Cabinet--the study of Franz Joseph's wife, the Empress Elisabeth, better-known as "Sissi." Next up is Sissi's dressing room, and beyond that Elisabeth and Franz Joseph's bedroom, which they used at the beginning of their married life. Beyond this is Sissi's neo-Rococo Salon. The Marie Antoinette Room was used as the family dining room. Further along are the Children's Room, named for all the portraits it has of Maria Theresa's children, and the Breakfast Cabinet.

Backtrack into the Children's Room and turn left into the Yellow Salon, which is notable for the drawings of children on the walls. Go straight into the Balcony Room, which features more portraits of Maria Theresa's children, and from here into the Mirror Room, where Mozart gave a recital as a boy. Move on into the Great Rosa Room, and from there turn to your upper right to the Second Small Rosa Room, and then straight into the First Small Rosa Room. This suite is named after Joseph Rosa, whose landscapes hang in all three rooms. Turn right into the Lantern Room, where the palace lantern carriers gathered.

Move on straight ahead into the Great Gallery, a vast Rococo space used for balls and formal banquets. Turn right into the Small Gallery, which was used for family functions. To the right is the Round Chinese Cabinet and to the left the Oval Chinese Cabinet. These were conference and card rooms. Backtrack into the Small Gallery and Great Gallery and turn right into the Carousel Room, an audience room named after the subject of one of its paintings. Go straight into the Hall of Ceremonies, which is decorated with huge paintings. To the right is the Equestrian Room, named after all its pictures of horses. Turn left into the Blue Chinese Salon, where the last Hapsburg Emperor, Karl I - now a candidate for Catholic sainthood called Blessed Karl - renounced his throne at the end of World War I.

Walk straight to the Vieux-Laque Room, which Maria Theresa decorated in honor of her husband Francis Stephen I after his death. Next to this is the Napoleon Room. It was occupied in 1805 and 1809 by Napoleon I. When Napoleon I abdicated the second time in 1815, his young son Napoleon Francis Charles Joseph was named Napoleon II, but he was little more that a toddler at the time and was stripped of his title. As his mother was an Austrian princess, he was sent to live at Schönbrunn, and was referred to as Franz, Duke of Reichstadt. He was kept a virtual prisoner in the palace and died in this room at the age of 21. His pet lark, which he claimed was his only friend, is preserved here under glass. Continue on straight into the Porcelain Room, a study and game room with faux porcelain walls, and to the left into the Millions Room, named for its expensive paneling. Off to the right is the Miniatures Cabinet, named for the type of artwork displayed therein. If you go straight you'll see the tapestry-filled Gobelin Room and beyond that, the neo-Rococo study room of Franz Joseph's mother, the Archduchess Sophie. The Red Salon is filled with Hapsburg portraits, while the Eastern Terrace or Flower Cabinet has--obviously enough--designs of flowers all over its walls. Turn left into the Rich Room. This was the bedroom of Franz Joseph's parents, Archduke Francis Charles and Archduchess Sophie. Next up is Francis Charles' portrait-filled Study and Salon. To the left of the Study is the Hunting Room, named for the the artwork it displays depicting hunting scenes. Exit and go down the stairs to see the ground floor Palace Chapel, which was completed under the aegis of Maria Theresa. On the ground floor are laso the Bergl rooms - open only to groups (special fee) or by advance appointment.

Finish by exploring the extensive palace grounds and secondary buildings, including the Orangery, Children's Museum, Coach Museum, Zoo, Theater, maze, labyrinth, swimming pool, Neptune Fountain, Palm House, Gloriette pavilion, Obelisk Cascade, faux Roman Ruins, Butterfly House and Privy Garden.

The Palace rooms:

Enter the building via the Blue Staircase in the Western wing of Schönbrunn.The Blue Staircase used to be the dining hall in Joseph I's hunting lodge and was made into a ceremonial stairway when the lodge was converted into an imperial and family residence fo Maria Theresa by Nikolaus Pacassi in 1745. The ceiling fresco, painted by the Italian artist Sebastiano Ricci in 1701-2, was not affected by the conversion, and is a glorification of the conversion to the throne, Joseph, depicted as a hero of war and man of virtue who finally receives the victor's crown of laurels before the throne of eternity:

Fishbone Room: When you reach the first floor go to your right, into the so-called “Fishbone” room. Through the window you look into the Grand Imperial Courtyard, which is now part of the Children’s Museum, in which visitors can find out a great deal about everyday life in the Imperial Court and can also try out a few things.

Adjutants Room (Aide-de-Camp's Room): During the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph (and possibly earlier) an Aide-de-Camp's Room (adjutants room) was installed immediately before the monarch's apartments on the piano nobile of the palace. Its appearance is documented in a photograph dating from around 1910.

Guard Room: Emperor Franz Joseph’s guards were posted in this room, to protect the entrance to his private apartments. To your right you can see a ceramic stove, which, like all the others in Schönbrunn, were originally heated with wood via a heating duct running behind the rooms, so as not to disturb the imperial family and to prevent dirt. From the 19th century on, a hot-air heating system was installed, which has been out of commission since 1992.

Billiard Room:  The Billiard Room is the first in the suite of rooms comprising the audience rooms and private apartments of Franz Joseph. These rooms still have the original decoration and furnishings, most of which date from the second half of the 19th century. The furniture, accessories and mementoes give an idea of the monarch's world, his everyday life at the palace in both its professional and domestic aspects. Several times a week Emperor Franz Joseph received the members of his government and high-ranking military staff. While the ministers, generals and other officers waited here they were permitted to pass the time playing at this Biedermeier billiard table. The two large paintings are connected with the Order of Maria Theresa. The one in the middle depicts the ceremony at which this order was invested for the first time, in 1758. The two paintings flanking it record the celebrations held to mark the centenary of the order's foundation:

Walnut Room: The name of this room derives from the fine walnut panelling of the walls. The gilt decoration and console tables are typical of the Rococo style – ornamental Rococo combinations made of rock, shell, plant forms or artificial forms – all adding to the astounding décor. The chandelier has 48 arms, and the furniture boasts Rococo. It was in this room that anyone living in the Monarchy could meet with the Emperor Franz Joseph. In this room Franz Joseph gave audiences to his generals, ministers and court officials. On Mondays and Thursdays any of the subjects of his empire could request an audience with the emperor. From these audiences Franz Joseph developed an astounding memory for names and faces retained well into his old age. Here you can see Franz Joseph's writing-desk with a number of items belonging to the emperor displayed on it:

Study and salon of Franz Karl (39 and 38):

The study room together with the adjoining salon were last occupied by Archduke Franz Karl, the father of Emperor Franz Joseph. After the death of the archduke in 1878 the rooms were refurbished and the decoration and furniture have remained largely unchanged to this day. The paintings that hang in the former study room (by Martin van Meytens and his studio) show Emperor Franz Stephan, Maria Theresa and eleven of their chilkdren on the terrace at Schönbrunn (two children were born later and three had died previously):

Western Terrace Cabinet: The Western Terrace Cabinet leads into the apartments of Empress Elisabeth. It contains a portrait by the French artist Malers Pierre Benevault des Mares: Theresa's youngest daughters, Johanna Gabriela and Maria Josepha:

Stairs Cabinet: The Stairs Cabinet served Elisabeth as a study. Here she wrote numerous letters and composed her diaries as well as her poems. Until the end of the monarchy there was a spiral staircase in this room which had been installed for the empress in 1863 and led down into her private apartments on the ground floor. These apartments were not furnished according to court guidelines but to the empress's personal taste. They had violet silk wall-hangings and also contained many personal items of furniture belonging to the empress. This apartment also had direct access to the gardens, enabling Elisabeth to leave and re-enter the building at any time without being observed by door-keepers, guards or other palace staff.

Elisabeth's (Sissi) Dressing Room: Elisabeth's daily routine was dominated by a strict regime of beauty care, exercise and sport which she followed to preserve her appearance. Caring for her magnificent head of hair took several hours. Her hairdresser, Franziska Feifalik, became one of the empress's closest confidantes and sometimes even took Elisabeth's place in public, for example on official occasions where she would only be seen from afar:

Imperial Bedroom: This room was the marital bedroom of the emperor and empress. In 1854, the year of their marriage, the room was hung with blue and white silk and furnished with heavy palisander furniture. The bedroom was only used during the first years of their marriage. From the very beginning, Elisabeth rejected the oppressive formality of court life. From the 1870s onwards she began to lead an independent life of her own, travelling extensively. Franz Joseph grew increasingly lonely in her absence, yet he continued to worship her right up to her tragic death. She was assassinated in Geneva by an Italian anarchist in 1898:

Empress' Sissi Salon: The clock in front of the mirror on the window side of the room displays a unique feature: it has a reversed face at the back so that the time could be told from a brief glance in the mirror. The paintings in this room are of particular interest. The three portraits of Empress Elisabeth are impressive testimony to her beauty. In the oil painting by Skallinsky the empress is wearing a ruby parure, while the painting by Schrotzberg shows her with a blue ribbon. The anonymous lithograph shows off the empress's slender waist. The 18th-century pastel portraits in this room show some of Maria Theresa's children. The portrait of Marie Antoinette in a fashionable hunting costume is by Joseph Kranzinger:

Marie Antoinette Room: During Elisabeth's time this room served as a dining room. The table is laid for a family dinner with Viennese porcelain, Viennese court silverware made by the company of Mayerhofer & Klinkosch as well as prism-cut lead crystal glasses made by Lobmeyr & Co. When the imperial family dined here alone the occasion was less formal than at court dinners which were ruled by the strictest court etiquette. The emperor himself determined the seating plan and conversation was permitted across the table, whereas at court dinners one could only converse with one's immediate neighbour in an undertone. On official occasions French dishes were served, while at family dinners Viennese cuisine and simpler dishes were preferred. These included Wiener schnitzel, beef goulash, beef with onions, steamed dumplings or 'Kaiserschmarren' (meaning literally 'the emperor's nonsense', a sweet shredded omelette made with raisins and served with fruit compote). The flowers for the table decorations were supplied by the court garden administration at Schönbrunn. Besides azaleas and hyacinths, the most precious arrangements were made of orchids. In 1900 the palace nursery garden contained 25,000 orchids of 1,500 different kinds constituting the largest collection in Europe at that time. The painting in the middle shows Emperor Franz Joseph at the age of 20. The room is named after a tapestry which formerly hung here showing Marie Antoinette and her children. It was a gift from Napoleon III to Emperor Franz Joseph and is today in the private ownership of the Habsburg family:

Children's Room: In the right hand side of the room is a portrait of Maria Theresa in mourning. She was born in 1717, the daughter of Emperor Charles VI. She fell in love with Franz Stephan of Lorraine at while she was still very young. The couple married when she was nineteen. She bore him sixteen children, eleven daughters and five sons. The room is hung with several portraits of Maria Theresa's daughters. The rooms her children actually occupied lie on the ground floor or on the upper floors of the palace. The door on the left opens onto the bathroom installed in 1917 for Zita of Bourbon Parma, the last empress of Austria:

Yellow Salon: The Yellow Salon marks the start of the apartments which overlook the gardens of the palace. This room was once the bedroom of Emperor Francis Stephen and Maria Theresa in the early years of their marriage until 1747. Later it was occupied by the Emperor´s sister, Charlotte of Lorraine, and it is mentioned as having been used by Emperor Franz I as his study room. The room is also remarkable for the pastel portraits with realistic depictions of children from the bourgeois classes, which form a complete contrast to the typical court portraits of Maria Theresa's children which can be viewed in the next room (the Balcony Room):

Balcony Room: The paintings in the Balcony Room were made by the court painter Martin van Meytens and show the Maria Theresa's children. Among them is Maria Elisabeth, who was considered to be Maria Theresa's most beautiful daughter and thus a splendid match. However, she got smallpox and while she eventually recovered, her face was so disfigured by scarring that there was no hope of finding her a husband. The only alternative for the archduchess was to enter a convent. This was not the grim fate it sounds; the imperial archduchesses resided as abbesses of the convent they had entered in magnificent apartments as befitted their rank, and could pursue their own interests unhindered.

Mirror Room: With its magnificent white and gold Rococo decoration and the crystal mirrors that give this room its name, the Mirrors Rooms is a typical example of a state room from the era of Maria Theresa. The mirrors are positioned so that they reflect one another, creating the illusion of a corridor that blurs the actual dimensions of the room. It was either this room or the adjoining larger Rosa Room that was the setting for the first concert given by the six-year-old Mozart in front of Empress Maria Theresa. After his performance - according to his proud father - "Wolferl leapt onto Her Majesty's lap, threw his arms around her neck and planted kisses on her face."...:

Rosa Rooms: The following three rooms are named after the artist Joseph Rosa who created the landscape paintings they contain. The first painting on the left shows an idealised view of a ruin in the Swiss Aargau: the Habichtsburg (Hawk's Castle), a name that would later coalesce into 'Habsburg'. The castle is the hereditary seat of the dynasty. The largest of the Rosa Rooms also contains a portrait of Empress Franz I Stephan. It is a full-length portrait of the Emperor standing at a table surrounded by various objects and collector's items that reflect his interest in the arts, history and the natural sciences. The portrait, which has been housed in the storerooms of the Kunsthistorisches Museum for many decades, was restored in Japan in 2006 and first put on public display for the "Maria Theresa and Schloss Schönbrunn" exhibition:

Lantern Room: Before electric lighting was installed in the palace the lantern-bearers used to wait in this room. Their task was to light the passage of the imperial family or members of the court household after dark. The room is also remarkable for the marble door panelling from the time of Joseph I.

Great Gallery: Measuring over 40 metres by 10 metres the Great Gallery provided the ideal setting for court functions such as balls, receptions and banquets. The tall windows and the crystal mirrors facing them on the opposite wall together with the white and gold stucco decoration and the ceiling frescoes combine to form a total work of art resulting in one of the most magnificent Rococo interiors in existence. The central panel of the ceiling frescos by the Italian artist Gregorio Guglielmi shows the prospering of the monarchy under the rule of Maria Theresa. Enthroned at its centre are Franz Stephan and Maria Theresa surrounded by personifications of monarchical virtues. Ranged around this central group are allegories of the Habsburg Crown Lands, each with its riches and resources. Since the foundation of the Austrian republic the room has been used for concerts and official receptions. In 1961 the legendary encounter between the American president John F. Kennedy and the Russian head of state Nikita Khrushchev took place in this room:

Small Gallery: The Small Gallery, which was built at the same time as the Great Gallery, was used for smaller family celebrations during the reign of Maria Theresa. In order to give an authentic impression of the room, the wall chandeliers have been fitted with special light bulbs which imitate the effect of candlelight and animate the shimmering surfaces:

Chinese Cabinets: To either side of the Small Gallery are the two Chinese Cabinets; the Oval Cabinet on the left and the Round Cabinet on the right. The fashion for art from China and Japan had an immense influence on the decoration and furnishing of royal residences in the 18th century of which the two Chinese Cabinets are an impressive example. Set into the white-painted wooden panelling are lacquer panels of varying shapes and sizes. The gilt frames containing the panels incorporate little consoles which support pieces of blue and white porcelain. The rooms are also remarkable for their parquet flooring with its intricate patterns and their chandeliers. The two rooms were used by Maria Theresa for conferences with her ministers – the Round Cabinet was where she held secret state conferences with her chancellor, Kaunitz – and for playing cards:

Carousel Room: TThis room was a waiting room for visitors of Maria Theresa. It is named for the painting hanging to the left of the mirror of a ladies carousel (carriage parade) given by Maria Theresa in 1743 in the Imperial Riding School to mark the withdrawal of the French and Bavarians from Bohemia.

Hall of Ceremonies: The Hall of Ceremonies served principally as the antechamber to Emperor Francis Stephen´s apartments. Here the imperial family gathered before entering the oratories of the palace and it was also used for large celebrations such as christenings, name-days and birthdays, as well as for the court banquets. The hall is remarkable for its monumental paintings which were commissioned by Maria Theresa. The five paintings depict a family event of political and historical significance: the marriage of Joseph, the heir to the throne, to Isabella of Parma, a princess of the royal French Bourbon dynasty, in 1760. This marriage was also a calculated political move on Maria Theresa's part, intended to bring France onto Austria's side. The largest painting in the series depicts the entry of the princess from the Belvedere Palace to the Hofburg. The other paintings show the marriage ceremony in the Augustinian Church, the wedding banquet in the Knights' Hall of the Hofburg and the nuptial dinner and serenata in the ballroom. The paintings display a remarkable wealth of detail in their depiction of the buildings, the people, their clothing and even the tableware. The cycle includes what is probably the most famous portrait of Empress Maria Theresa as the 'First Lady of Europe' :

******************** End of the Imperial Tour ********************

For rooms included also in the Grand Tour: see sub-ordinate Tip.

Vienna - from Karlsplatz to the Hofburg

Ivana Simanek


From Karlsplatz to the Hofburg:

Main attractions: Karlsplatz (,Karlsplatz Pavilions, The Stadtbahn, Karlplatz underground station, Musikverein, Künstlerhaus, Wien Museum, Karlskirche, Secession Building, Schwarzenbergplatz, Wiener Konzerthaus, Stadtpark (City Park),  Franziskanerplatz, Stephansplatz, Stephansdom (sub-ordinate Tip), Virgilkapelle, Haas-Haus (sub-ordinate Tip), Petersplatz, The Graben, Michaelerplatz.

Start: Karlsplatz, Public transport: U1, U2, U4 Station Karlsplatz. Karlsplatz is the best connected U-Bahn station in the city and it is easy to access.

End: Michaelerplatz (the Hofburg).

Duration: 1/2 - 3/4 day. Distance: 5-6 km.

Orientation: this itinerary starts where the "Vienna - from the Hofburg to the State Opera House" ends - in the Staatoper haus (State Opera House in Opernring 2. It is 5 minutes walk from the Statoper haus to Karlplatz.  Head east on Opernring toward Opernpassage
72 m. Turn right at Opernkreuzung onto Kärntner Str, 180 m.
Turn left onto Karlsplatz, 110 m. Take the crosswalk and you face Karlplatz.

Karlsplatz is one of the most frequented and best connected transportation hubs in Vienna. It is one of Vienna's largest squares. The Karlsplatz is a concert location and hosts various brief music festivals. It is also a political rallying point at times. There are benches around the huge square so one can relax and enjoy the view of the sites described below. In December the big plaza becomes market for Christmas. Some stalls specialize in handmade crafts others in small gifts; but they all have hot wine and great food. There is something special about wandering through this market in particular when the Karlskirche is lit up (a stunning view ! )and there are several hundreds of people there every evening before Christmas. Do mind your belongings after dark, though, as pickpocketing is an issue here. In other parts of the year Karlplatz seems to be rather quiet and uneventful.

Karlsplatz sites clockward:

On the north side of the Otto Wagner passage and subway pavillions, in Art Nouveau style building erected inclusion of the former station Karlsplatz the Vienna Stadtbahn and  the Wien Karlsplatz (Straßenbahn) U-Bahn station. More northward, beyond Karlplatz street, separated from the plaza to the north are the buildings of the Wiener Musikverein (Vienna Music Society), the Künstlerhaus (art house), and the Handelsakademie (business school).

To the east is the Karlskirche, located in front of a water pool with a sculpture by Henry Moore with the building of the Vienna Museum (formerly the Historical Museum of Vienna) and the Winterthur Insurance building.

on the south side:, Resselpark, is named after the inventor Josef Ressel. It is a leafy park dotted with statues of famous Austrians. In Resselpark, monuments and busts are of famous people such as the inventor Siegfried Marcus and Josef Madersperger, as well as the composer Johannes Brahms.  The park is often crowded as it leads to the large Karlsplatz underground station.

On the west side of it is the main building of the Technische Universität Wien and, its library (Vienna Technical University), the Novomatic Forum, the Wiener Secession and the Protestant school.

Karlsplatz Pavilions: Coming out of the Karlsplatz important underground station - you first see the Subway Pavilions built by Otto Wagner in 1898. He was an architect who worked for the Vienna Stadtbahn (the metropolitan railway network). The two Pavilions in Art Nouveau - Jugendstil were disassembled, renovated, and then reassembled in the 1980s. One is now used as an exhibition space by the Vienna Museum; the other is used as a café. The delicate design of the pavilions was meant to be in harmony with the nearby Karlskirche. Marble slabs in a green-painted wrought-iron frame are decorated with gold-colored sunflowers and gilded trimmings. The two pavilions no longer serve as station entrances but still retain their charm and elegance. Both pavilions on the Karlsplatz are a preferred photographic subject of Vienna visitors:

The Stadtbahn was the predecessor of today's U Bahn (U 1, U 2 and  U 4). The U-Bahn wagons are running on the tracks of the Stadtbahn. The first line opened 1898 as a steam railway, the stations where designed by Otto Wagner partly in Jugendstil.  The Stadtbahn was electrified in 1925 and changed to U-Bahn in the eighties. The Karlsplatz station changed completely and the old station became partly a museum for Otto Wagner and partly a cafe and party event location:

Don't miss the Karlsplatz underground station, it's ornate with it's gold and green paintwork. Not a place to hang around but also nothing to worry about:

Two well-known Viennese cultural institutions border the north side: the Musikverein (Viennese Music Association) and the Künstlerhaus. The Musikverein, completed in 1869 and home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Künstlerhaus, built in 1868 for the Vienna Artists' Society. The Musikverein is a neoclassical building that was designed by Theophil von Hansen. The Musikverein is made up of several concert halls. The main one is called the Großer Musikvereinssaal, and is characterized by its golden and ivory tones. More than two thousand people, 1,744 seated and 300 standing, come together as one audience:

Großer Musikvereinssaal:

Adjacent to the Musikverein is the Künstlerhaus, an exposition hall. It was built between 1865 and 1868 by the Austrian Artists' Society (Gesellschaft bildender Künstler Österreichs, Künstlerhaus), the oldest surviving artists' society in Austria. It has served since then as an exhibition centre for painting, sculpture, architecture and applied art. Since 1947 it has also managed a cinema, which is used as one of the screening venues for the annual Viennale film festival:

The busts in front of the Künstlerhaus are: Leonardo de Vinci, Tizian, Velasquez:

This side wing of the Künstlerhaus is used as a cinema:

The Wien Museum – from 1887 to 2003 called the "Historical Museum of the City of Vienna" – was once housed in the Vienna town hall. There were already plans for a new building on Karlsplatz before 1914, in fact by Otto Wagner. The museum's first new building opened in 1959, the work of Oswald Haerdtl, a former associate of Josef Hoffmann and architect of the Austrian pavilion at world exhibitions of the 1930s. Since the interior courtyard was roofed over in 2000, the museum has gained a multi-functional event facility and a café. Alongside the permanent collection, special exhibitions are held at regular intervals in the Haerdtl building. Here you'll find a collection of archaeological finds from the Roman era, Ottoman items obtained during the siege of Vienna in 1683 as well as many paintings, scale models, postcards and photographs depicting Vienna through the ages. Some items of note include Gothic stained glass windows from the Stephansdom - rescued from a fire in 1945 - and reconstructed apartments of famous Viennese, such as architect Adolf Loos. The museum also has a collection of art, including works from famous Viennese artists including Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays,
10.00 - 18.00. 24 December and 31 December: 10.00 - 14.00. Closed on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. Prices: Adults: EUR 4,-, Senior citizens, Vienna Card, disabled persons, apprentices and trainees, students up to age 27, military and civil social services: EUR 3,-. Combined ticket (Wien Museum Karlsplatz and Otto Wagner Pavilion Karlsplatz) -Adults: EUR 8,-, Senior citizens, Vienna Card, disabled persons, apprentices and trainees, students up to age 27, military and civil social services: EUR 6,-. For visitors younger than 19 years: free entry. Every first Sunday of the month for all visitors: free entry. Photos allowed without flash. Uninspiring exterior, but, interesting and extensive display with occasional explanatory labels in English:

Emilia Floege by Klimt:

Egon Schiele - Self portrait with spread fingers (1911):

Egon Schiele -Young Mother (1914):

Resselpark: The attractive fountain in Ressel Park is known as Tilgners Fountain. It was erected in 1902, and has bronze sculptures of a winged cherub and a large fish above another cherub who seems to have fallen. A goose spits water from the back into a clover-leaf marble basin where some frogs are sitting on the basin edge:

Statue of Johannes Brahms in Resselpark:

The Karlskirche is a magnificent Baroque and has gained reputation for its dome and its two flanking, Roman-like columns of bas-reliefs. The two columns, were crafted by Lorenzo Mattielli, and are based on a model in Trajan's Column in Rome. The reliefs on the columns depict scenes from the life of St. Charles (Karl) Borromeo, to whom the church was dedicated. The façade in the center, which leads to the porch, corresponds to a Greek temple portico. It derives its name from Charles Borromeo, who was revered as a healer for the year 1713 plague sufferers. You can take an elevator up and inside the church which takes you to scaffolding and stairs all the way up to the top of the interior dome. This gives you an amazing view and a different perspective of the incredible paintings on the walls and ceiling. You'll like seeing the dome up close, but the frame and stairs and other scaffolds spoil the effect from floor level. There is a pond in front of St.Charles church. Its construction started at 1716 and completed at 1737. A pond in front of the church is embellished with a large modern sculpture created by Henry Moore, who donated it to the city of Vienna in 1978:

Reliefs on the eastern pillar of the Karlskirche:

Reliefs on the western pillar of the Karlskirche:

High Altar:

The Dome:

There is a statue, "HILLS ARCHES", by famous British sculptor Henry Moore, situated in a pool in front of the Karlskirche (St.Charles Boromeo). It was presented to the City of Vienna by artist himself in 1978. Walk around and view it from different angles:

Cemented cube - opposite KarlsKieche:

The nice building of the Technische Universität complex is a good place to see classic architecture. The Technische Hochschule is a school housed in an imposing building with a neoclassical facade decorated with large sculptures. Founded in 1815 as the "Imperial-Royal Polytechnic Institute". it currently has about 26,200 students (19% foreign students/30% women), eight faculties and about 4,000 staff members (1,800 academics). The university's teaching and research is focused on engineering and natural sciences:

Library building of the Vienna University of Technology:

Secession Building: More works of Vienese artists can be found in the Secession building, located near the west side of Karlsplatz, towards the Naschmarkt. This remarkable building was designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich in the Jugendstil style, the local version of Art Nouveau. It was built in 1898 as the headquarters of the Secession, an art movement that broke ties with classical art. Its most famous proponent was Gustav Klimt, of whom several artworks can be found inside the Secession building. The structure is crowned with a sphere of gilded intertwined laurel leaves. Flower motifs and small sculptures decorate the white painted facade:

Head east on Karlsplatz toward Maderstraße, continue 300 m. and turn right onto Schwarzenbergplatz for 65 m. Slight left to stay on Schwarzenbergplatz. One of the more famous places in the city, it is well worth the visit, and is a great photo stop. Just be careful crossing the busy roads around it with the traffic lights. It is not really a square as most platz's are, but is distinguished by a large fountain built in 1873 behind the heroes of the Red Army Statue, statue of Prince Karl Philipp and a impressive monument that was erected in 1945. It is actually more like a small, open street than a square, and it runs between the Kärntner Ring section of the Ringstraße and Lothringerstraße. Travelling south, the street, Schwarzenbergstraße, becomes Schwarzenbergplatz after passing Kärntner Ring. Schwarzenbergplatz then continues briefly until it becomes Rennweg Straße as it passes by the large enclosed parks of Belvedere-Garten and the Palais Schwarzenberg, and the Schwarzenberggarten to the west. A large equestrian statue of Austrian Field Marshal Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, who fought with distinction in the Napoleonic Wars, is on display. In 1861, Emperor Franz Joseph I ordered the construction of the Schwarzenberg Monument to commemorate the victorious commander of the 1813 Battle of Leipzig, Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg. The equestrian statue was created by Ernst Hähnel and completed in October, 1867:

In August 1945, immediately after the end of World War II, the Red Army revealed the War Memorial (now popularly called the Russian Monument) behind the Hochstahlbrunnen fountain. Until 1955, a Soviet T-34 tank was placed there. During the occupation, the southern part of square was renamed Stalin Square on 12 April 1946, and this name was officially effective until 18 July 1956. The "Haus der Industrie" (House of Industry), then No. 4 Stalin Square, was the seat of the Allied Council of the four occupying powers until 1955. In 2003 and 2004, the Schwarzenberg Square was re-designed by Spanish architect Alfredo Arribas and equipped with sunken lighting elements representing different lighting effects. Under the Schwarzenberg Square courses the Wien River and the underground line U4, and it was also once the location for the "Zwingburg", a shelter for homeless people who retreated into the Viennese sewers.

French Embassy in Schwarzenbergplatz:

The most imposing figure on Schwarzenbergplatz is the unknown Red Army soldier (Denkmal der Roten Armee). The huge monument to the Soviet liberation of Vienna in WWII. The soldier towers above the surrounding area. The backdrop to the soldier is a classy structuralist piece of architecture reminiscent of a viaduct. In front of the soldier is the commemoration plaque in Russian and German. A popular spot for Russian tourists:

The fountain in Schwarzenbergplatz (known locally as the Hochstahlbrunnen) is magnificent and have 365 smaller jets, even more impressive under floodlights. The fountain is simply AMAZING. The fountain celebrates the arrival of Alpine water channeled to Vienna. It  offers some real relief when passing by in the heat of the Vienna summer:

A sonic pavilion by Matthew Ritchie with
 Aranda Lasch and Arup AGU on Schwarzenbergplatz:

Head northwest on Schwarzenbergplatz. Turn right to stay on Schwarzenbergplatz for 110 m. Turn right onto Lothringerstraße and the Wiener Konzerthaus is on the right. The Konzerthaus was built between 1911 and 1913. The architects were Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. The original Art Nouveau building was partly destroyed during renovations and adaptions, but the building was reconstructed from original sketches in the 1970s:

It contains originally three halls, in which there can be simultaneous concerts: Großer Saal  with 1,840 seats,

Mozartsaal, with 704 seats,

Schubertsaal, with 336 seats.

The Berio Saal was added during the latest renovations and seats up to 400 people. The Konzerthaus hosts the Vienna Symphony, the Wiener Kammerorchester, the Wiener Singakademie and the Klangforum Wien. The Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft also conducts several festivals during the year.

Head northeast on Lothringerstraße toward Beethovenplatz (it will be on your left) and head straight to the Stadtpark toward Johannesgasse.

The Stadtpark (City Park)  is a large municipal park that extends from the Ringstraße in the Innere Stadt first district up to the Heumarkt (Hay Market) in the Landstraße third district. Beautiful and well kept park. It is famous for the monument of Johann Strauss. The park is rich with beautiful flowers and pathways. There is a restaurant (Steirereck, Am Heumarkt 2A) and hall where classical music performance take place. The park is divided in two sections by the Wienfluss (Vienna River). Scattered throughout the park are statues of famous Viennese artists, writers, and composers, including Johann Strauss II, Franz Schubert, and Anton Bruckner. The opulent Kursalon building on Johannesgasse, with its broad terrace that reaches into the park, is the site of popular waltz concerts. The park was opened in 1862, following the demolition of the old city wall and the construction of the Ringstraße, and was Vienna's first public park. There are some nice cafes in the park with wonderful Austrian cuisine.


Stadtpark Uhr:

The Wien river passes into the Stadtpark. The Wien is a river that flows through the city of Vienna. It is 34 kilometres long), of which 15 km are within the city. Its drainage basin covers an area of 230 km²  both in the city and in the neighbouring Wienerwald. In German, the river is colloquially called the "Wienfluss":

There are many sights in Wiener Stadtpark that deserve visitors’ attention. One of these is the Kursalon, where healing mineral water from the former water Glacis was originally served. Kursalon’s functions developed further with the concert performances held there since the second half of the 19th Century:

The Stadtpark is the richest park in Vienna for monuments and sculptures: the golden Johann Strauß memorial, 

Franz Schubert,

Franz Lehar and Robert Stolz,

a marble statue of the painter Hans Makart, bronze busts of composer, Anton Bruckner, Vienna Mayor, Andreas Zelinka, under whose governance the Stadtpark was laid out, and many more.

Exit the Stadtpark from its west side, walk along Liebenberggasse from east to west, cross  Singerstraße, turn left (west) to Seilerstätte, and
turn right to Weihburggasse. The Franziskanerkirche in Franziskanerplatz 4 is on your right. Franziskanerplatz is located in one of Vienna’s oldest quarters, just a few minutes’ walk from Stefansplatz. Its name is derived from the Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church) that was built here in the 17th century in a Renaissance style that incorporated Gothic elements. Artner Franziskanerplatz in Franziskanerplatz 5 is one of the most famous restaurants of Vienna.

Visit also the Kleines Café in Franziskanerplatz (they serve delicious bread with a choice of toppings).

Franziskanerplatz with the Franciscan monastery and church has 17th and 18th C. buildings all round and is one of the most attractive squares in Vienna. In front of you is the Franciscan Church. The order was founded as a tribute to St. Francis of Assisi. Directly adjoined to the church is the Franciscan Monastery. Especially noticeable on the building facade are the round grey-blueish depressions. A tendency towards Italian style buildings is a reminder of the Franciscan Orders Italian origins. A touch of Italian flair in Vienna. It is one of the few remaining building facades in renaissance style, which still exists in Vienna.The Franciscan Church has a beautiful baroque interior. The Moses Fountain, with its jaws like the base of a lion, used to stand in the courtyard of No. 6 "Zum grünen Löwen" (The Green Lion). Johann Martin Fischer designed the lead statue of Moses striking water from the rock. In 1798 it was placed on the base of the fountain which had been brought here. The country coaches used to set out from the former "Zum grünen Löwen" in the days of Emperor Joseph. It was possible to travel 160km/100mi and more out of the city into the country by these coaches. The Franziskanerkirche was erected in 1603. The outside facade of the Franciscan Church is Renaissance in style. However, its interior is Baroque. The high altar depicting the Virgin Mary was designed by Andrea Pozzo in 1707. The church holds the oldest organ in Vienna. The carved Baroque organ was designed by Johann Wockerl in 1642:

It is 300 m., 3 minutes walk from the Franziskanerkirche to the Stephansplatz. Head northeast on Franziskanerplatz toward Singerstraße
45 m. Turn left onto Singerstraße, 160 m. Turn right onto Churhausgasse,
49 m. Turn left onto Stephansplatz. It is named after its most prominent building, the Stephansdom, Vienna's cathedral and one of the tallest churches in the world. To the west and south, respectively, run the exclusive shopping streets Graben ("ditch") (see later in this blog) and Kärntner Straße ("Kärnten" is the German for Carinthia). A bustling pedestrian precinct surrounded by shops and cafes.

The U-Bahn station at Stephansplatz is one of the busiest in the city, and is the only junction between the U1 and U3 underground lines. It is also the nearest U-Bahn station to many of the tourist attractions in the city centre. The U-Bahn has a lift which opens directly onto the square/plaza.

Stephansplatz itself does not have all that much to offer. It is basically a tourist crossing. All streets around are wonderful and enjoyable. Kärntner Straße and the Graben intersect at Stephansplatz. These two streets are both the nicest to walk down. Most of the outdoor cafes there are rather expensive. The St. Stephan cathedral's bells add to the nice atmosphere. Stephanplatz is also one of the locations to find the Fiaker, horse-drawn carriages, that are so popular with tourists for tours of the city. The smell of horse manure from the stylish carriages mingles with but doesn't turn you off the many wonderful smells (especially, Cinammon) from the coffee houses and restaurants:

Of interest are houses: Singerstrasse No. 1- a date on the facade of 1906 with the signing "Painted Brothers Voelkel, Vienna" refers to a restoration of the painting,

No. 2, "Zur Weltkugel" (The Globe),

No. 3, Das Churhaus (Election House),

No. 5, Domherrenhof (Prebendary's Court),

No. 6, Zwettlerhof (Zwettler Court)

and No. 7, the Archbishop's Palace:

Until 1732 Stephansplatz was a cemetery, as is indicated by the tombstones incorporated in the external walls of the cathedral and the Late Gothic column in which the eternal light burned for the dead. To the right of the cathedral colored stones mark the outline of the Chapel of Mary Magdalene, in which burial services were once held. It was first documented in 1378 and burned down in 1781. When Stephansplatz underground station was being constructed the Virgilkapelle (Virgilian Chapel) was discovered beneath the crypt of Mary Magdalene. The Virgilkapelle is an extraordinary relic of Vienna's medieval past, which also houses a collection of historic Viennese ceramics and is open to the public. The Virgilkapelle is an underground crypt next to the Stephansdom in Vienna. It is rectangular in form (approximately 6 meters by 10), with six niches, and today lies approximately 12 meters beneath the Stephansplatz:
The outlining lines of the Virgilkapelle at the Stephansplatz:

We'll walk 350 m. in 5 minutes from Stephansdom to Petersplatz. Head southwest toward Jasomirgottstraße, 110 m. Turn right onto Goldschmiedg, 180 m. Turn left onto Petersplatz - where you find the Peterkirche (St. Peter church). The first Roman church was built on, or close to, a Roman camp and replaced by a three-naved Romanesque church, which in turn was demolished to make way for the present Baroque church. The old medieval church burned down in 1661 and was given only crudely repaired. It was decided to build a new church when the Fraternity of the Holy Trinity arrived, of which the emperor Leopold I was a member. He had taken a vow to rebuild this church when Vienna was ravished by the plague in 1679-1680. The construction of the new Baroque church began in 1701 and was more or less completed by year 1722. The Peterskirche was finally consecrated in 1733.

Petersplatz and the facade and entrance to St. Peter's Church topped by its great turreted dome:

The pale-yellow-and-white facade features towers that turn slightly inward and turrets inspired by the tents of the Turks during the siege of 1683, and a fine facade portal. The turreted dome was mainly designed by Matthias Steinl, who was also responsible for the interior decoration and the pews with their fabulous cherubic heads:

St. Peter's Interior: The highly decorated interior contains lots of fine artwork from the early 18th century, including frescoes, gilded carved wood and altarpieces. There are also glass-crowned galleries high on the walls to either side of the altar, the tableau of the martyrdom of St. John Nepomuk, and the fresco in the dome by J. M. Rottmayr depicting the Coronation of the Virgin. The church makes an overwhelming impression on the visitor with its surprisingly rich interior filled with golden stucco. Over the years, the paintings had become darker, and the interior began to take on a grey appearance. From 1998 to 2004, the church underwent a renovation, which returned the paintings to their original rich colouring and brightness:

The Dome:

Head southwest on Petersplatz toward Jungferngasse, 30 m. Turn right onto Jungferngasse, 45 m. Turn left onto Graben. The Graben (German: Trench) is one of the most famous streets in Vienna's first district, the city centre. It begins (south-east) at Stock-im-Eisen-Platz (adjacent to the Stephansdom) next to the Palais Equitable

and ends at the junction of Kohlmarkt and Tuchlauben (north-west):

It is crossed by Wipplinger Straße by the Hohe Brücke, a bridge about ten metres above street level. OUR WALK DIRECTION IS: from south-east to north-west.

Although the name Graben translates into the word 'ditch' or 'trench' there is absolutely no comparison between the two. Graben is a showcase of elegance and style. It is one of the most beautiful streets not only in Vienna, but in Europe. The Graben is a wide-open space which is half street and half square. In 1950 it was the first place to have fluorescent lighting. In 1971 it became the first pedestrian zone, and soon afterwards cafes took over for the summer months what was formerly a major thoroughfare. Graben was once the city moat around the Roman camp, then it became the flower and vegetable market, and from the 17th C. on it was the scene of Court festivities.

There are two old fountains along the Graben: the Joseph Fountain (Josefsbrunnen)

and the Leopold Fountain - near Stephanplatz and the Haas Haus:

Both were altered many times and lead figures by Johann Martin Fischer were added in 1804. Of the many Baroque buildings that surrounded the Graben in the 18th C. only the Bartolotti-Partenfeld Palace (No. 11) remains:

The Graben was particularly suitable for festival processions as well as for triumphal processions, in particular for the arrival of Archdukes and Emperors. On December 4, 1950, the first neon lights in Vienna were installed here. On November 22, 1974, the Graben became, on a provisional basis, Vienna's first pedestrian zone. In the course of the construction of the U-Bahn, the Graben was rebuilt in successive phases, and the pedestrian zone was gradually expanded. Today the Graben is again one of the most important promenades and shopping streets in Vienna.

Here are several interesting, well-known buildings and shops along the Graben:
The shop facade of the jewelers Caesar's by Hollein has long been on the itinerary of tourists interested in art. With its polished granite slab and a mass of metal pipes it is reminiscent of the decorative style of the early 70s nearby:

Also of interest in the Graben are the subterranean Art Nouveau toilets. They were built in 1905 by Adolf Loos and have been renovated to reveal their true glory. The cubicles are lined with wood and marble panels and have gilded fittings:

Ankerhaus - residence building in the Graben:  This residential building was erected between 1894 and 1895 by Otto Wagner, presumably for himself. Its name owes to the fact that the previous building had been purchased by the insurance firm Der Anker. The style of the lower storey, with its large glass surfaces, points forward to later construction techniques with reinforced concrete. Beginning in 1971 the building was used by Friedensreich Hundertwasser:

Generalihof (Graben 14-15): This building, first erected between 1794 and 1795 by Peter Mollner and Ernest Koch, was rebuilt in 1831 by Josef Klee. This was the site of Leopold Kozeluch's music shop. In 1894 the Assicurazione Generali acquired the house, renovating the facade and adding a penthouse. Knize, a prominent tailor, occupied the ground floor; its showroom was built by Adolf Loos:

Grabenhof: The Grabenhof, also known as the Thienemannhof, is a historicizing work built between 1873 and 1874 by Otto Thienemann and Otto Wagner on the site of the old Arkadenhof. The roof was rebuilt in 1947 by Alfons Hetmanek. It is today owned by the Österreichische Beamtenversicherung, and has been used since 1991 as a site for cultural events. On June 18, 1994, a memorial plaque for Josef Sonnleithner, who lived in the Arkadenhof until 1874, was erected. Sonnleithner was the founder of the "Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien" (Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna):

The Freisingerhof, built c. 1180 to manage the estates of the Bishopric of Freising, boasts the first monumental building on Der Graben, used as an administrative centre, as well as a lodging place for the Freising bishops. Built in the Romanesque style, the building is huge and imposing, with comparatively small vaults and rooms.

The Trattnerhof is also impressive with its nicely decorated entrance portals, engraved with caryatids by artist Tobias Kögler. In 1911, it was substituted by two administrative buildings, separated by an alley that leads to the old city of Vienna:

In the middle of Graben Square an imposing Baroque monument called the Pestsäule, or Plague column, is an impressive sight. As the name implies, it was erected to commemorate the end of the devastating bubonic plague of the 1600s. At the base - which is triangular in its outlay - you find a kneeling Emperor Leopold I, easily recognizable by his enormous (and enormously ugly) chin. The Vienna Trinity Column is the most famous and oldest piece of a whole genre of columns that can be found in various cities mostly in Austria, Bohemia and Bavaria:

View from the Graben to the Stephansdom and Haas-Haus before sunset:

Outdoor sculptures along the Graben:

A relief in the northern-west edge of the Graben (Tuchlauben x Naglergasse):

From the north-west end of the Graben, from Tuchlaubenstr. - we head southwest on Tuchlauben toward Bognerg (Partial restricted usage road),
46 m. Continue onto Kohlmarkt, 200 m. Turn left onto Michaelerplatz, already explored in the "Vienna - from Maria-Theresien-Platz to Michaelerplatz" blog:

Vienna - from the Hofburg to the State Opera House

Ivana Simanek


1/2 or 1 day itinerary from the Hofburg to the Wiener Staatsoper in Albertina Platz:

Main attractions: MichaelerTor, Hofburg Innenhof,  Hofburg Schweizerhof, Hofburg Burgkapelle, Josefsplatz, Hofburg Prunksaal, Augustinerkirche, Redoutensäle, Stallburg, Hofburg Imperial Apartments, Hofburg Sisi Museum, Hofburg Imperial Silver Collection, Hofburg Schatzkammer or Treasury, Heldenplatz, Neue Burg, Burggarten, Palmenhaus, Albertina Museum, Albertina Platz, Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera).

Orientation: We ended our "From Maria-Theresien-Platz to Michaelerplatz" itinerary in the north-east entrance to the Hofburg - in Michaelerplatz. The MichaelerTor (the eastern, ancient gate to the Hofburg), is, exactly, where we start this itinerary:

Start: Herrengasse U3 (U-Bahn) station.

End: Karlsplatz U1, U2, U4 (U-Bahn) station.

Distance: 4 km.

*** Hofburg - the Imperial Place:

The Hofburg in Vienna is the former imperial residence. From 1438 to 1583 and from 1612 to 1806, it was the seat of the kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, thereafter the seat of the Emperor of Austria until 1918. Today it is the official seat of the Austrian Federal President. Today the Hofburg consists of three museums which afford authentic insight into the traditions and everyday life of the Habsburg imperial court. It is the best place to visit, in Vienna, particularly on a rainy day.

a) The Imperial Apartments with their original furnishings and decoration.

b) The Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) Museum with its presentation of the empress' life.

c) The Imperial Silver Collection which contains a comprehensive range of tableware used at the imperial court.

Transportaion to the Hofburg: Underground: U3 (orange), stop at Herrengasse, From the Meidling train station - take the U6 (brown) underground line and alight Westbahnhof and change to the eastbound U3 (orange) underground line and stopt at Herrengasse.
Trams: 1, 2, D and J, stop at Burgring
Bus: 2A and 3A, drop off at Hofburg.

Opening hours: The Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Silver Collection are all open daily, including public holidays:
September to June 09.00  to 17.30.
July and August 09.00 to 18.00. Last admission one hour before the ticket office closes.

Café Hofburg: Opening hours daily from 10.00 to 18.00.

Prices (including audio guide in 13 languages) : Adult - € 11,50 €, 
(combined ticket with the Schönbrunnn Palace - € 25,50), Children (aged 6-18) € 7,00 (€ 15,00), Students (aged 19-25) € 10.50  (€ 23,00), Disabled persons € 10,50  (€ 23,00 ), Vienna Card € 10,50 (€ 23.00).

Guided tours:
Standard guided tours of the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Apartments  used by Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth: Daily at 14.00.
Duration approx. 55 minutes. Admission charges: Adults € 13,50, Children (aged 6-18) € 8,00, Reductions (Students, Vienna Card) € 12,50.

Touring the Palace exterior: We start our visit in the Hofburg in the MichaelerTor entrance (north-east side of the Imperial Palace complex) and exit the Hofburg from its north-west side in the Ballhaus platz. The tickets office is in the south-east side of the palace and the entrance is, also, in the north-east side (adjacent to Michaelerplatz). The Michaelertor, which is a very beautiful Baroque gateway, that connects Michaelerplatz (St. Michael's square) to a large courtyard referred to as the Innenhof. On the west side stands the Amalienburg (see later) 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 Imperial Apartments and the Sissi Museum. The monument in the centre is the bronze statue from 1846 of Emperor Franz II . He is represented as a Roman Caesar emperor even if he suffered several defeats by Napoleon (like in Austerlitz). Here stands the statue of Francis I in the Inner Castle Court (innerer Burghof) by Pompeo Marchesi. The monument shows the emperor in classical Roman attire set atop a tall plinth, surrounded by four other statues:

The emperor looks in the direction of the Schweizertor,

an old gate which leads to Schweizerhof (Swiss Court), the inner courtyard of the oldest part of the imperial palace. The vast complex of buildings went through five major stages of constructions over six centuries. To follow the course of its development, continue right onto the middle at the Schweizerhof, named after the Swiss guard that used to be housed there:

The Burgkapelle (Castle Chapel) tucked awayin the northern corner of the Schweizerhof, was built in year 1449.Originally Gothic, it was rebuilt in Baroque style and partially restored to its original form in 1802. The Wiener Sangerknaben (Vienna Boys' Choir) sing Mass here every Sunday morning (except: July, August and September). The Burgkapelle is directly above the entrance to the Schatzkammer or Treasury (see later - the Hofburg museums interior). It was built in the 1440ies under the rule of Friedrich III, the first Habsburg to become Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. This makes the chapel one of the older, but not the oldest part of the Hofburg in general:

An archway connects Schweizerhof with Josefsplatz, a square graced with a statue of Joseph II, created in 1807 by Franz Anton Zauner. Josefsplatz (Joseph Square) is at the south-east corner of the Hofburg. Of note is the equestrian statue of Emperor Joseph II by Franz Anton von Zauner at the center of Joseph Square. It imitates the statue of Marcus Aurelius on Capitoline Hill in Rome. The statue was commissioned by Emperor Francis II who, from the age of 16, had been raised under the supervision of his uncle, the Emperor Franz Joseph II. The depiction of Franz Joseph II as a Roman conqueror, dressed in a toga and a laurel wreath, reflects the Habsburg belief that they were descendants of the ancient Roman emperors:

The square is enclosed on three sides by famous sections of the Hofburg Palace. In the south-west side is the Prunksaal (State Hall), the central structure of the Austrian National Library, which is part of the Hofburg Palace complex—a fine example of late Baroque architecture on a grand scale. The building was designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and his son Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach, with side wings later added to the designs by Nikolaus Pacassi. This grand Baroque library, at around 80 metres long, has impressive domed and marble interior, with giant bookcases and many frescoes. Opening Times: TUE - SUN 10.00 - 18.00 ( THU to 21.00). Entrance Fee: 5 Euro:

To the south is the Augustinian wing of the Austrian National Library and the Augustinerkirche (Augustinian Church), the oldest building on the square. In fact, following Augustinerstrasse from Josefsplatz brings you past the Augustinerkirche. Here Maria Theresa married Francois of Lorraine in 1736, Marie-Louise married Napoleon in 1810 and Franz Joseph married Elizabeth in 1854.

In the north-west side and facing the Augustinian Church is the Redoutensäle (Redoubt Hall), which was added to the Hofburg complex between 1744 and 1748. The Redoutensäle was badly damaged by fire in 1992:

In the northwest corner of the square is the Stallburg (Stable Palace), the former Imperial Stables, which once housed around nine hundred Lipizzaner horses. Built in the sixteenth century for Archduke Maximillian, the Stallburg housed the art collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm between 1614 and 1662. The building was later converted to stables for the Hofburg, surrounding a large courtyad with arcades on three levels with large chimneys. Today the Stallburg houses the Spanish Riding School and the Lipizzaner Museum.

We turn, now, to the Hofburg museums interiors. We'll explore the three museums and, later, return to the newer wing of the Hofburg exterior - the Neue Burg.

Hofburg Interior:

Until 1918 the extensive palatial complex at the heart of Vienna was the political centre of the Habsburg empire and monarchy. In the Hofburg Emperor Joseph II drew up his revolutionary programme of reforms, the Congress of Vienna met and danced and where Emperor Franz Joseph held audiences. The Hofburg was the residence of the Habsburgs for over 600 years and thus the centre of the Holy Roman Empire. Apart from its function as the seat of government and administrative centre, the Hofburg was also the winter residence of the imperial family. From the 18th century onwards the court spent the summer at Schönbrunn Palace. The nineteen rooms in the Imperial Apartments (Kaiserappartements) were occupied by Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth, comprising studies, residential suites and reception rooms. They are all furnished and decorated to the highest standards of historical authenticity, Visitors to the Imperial Apartments will gain an insight into the world of Austria's most illustrious imperial couple.  The Imperial Apartments form a fascinating contrast to the exuberant splendor of imperial summer residence at Schönbrunn. Court ceremonial dictated that each member of the family had their own apartments or suites in one of the numerous palace wings. Today the imperial complex fulfills the same role for the democratic Republic of Austria. Now, part of the palace houses the offices of the Federal President, the ministers of the chancellor's office and the secretaries of state. The other part - the Imperial Chancellery Wing and the Amalia Residence, which contained the apartments of Franz Joseph and Elisabeth, are today open to the public. A wonderful insight into the living arrangements of one of the richest and most powerful European dynasties. The fittings and furniture mostly date from the second half of the 19th century, but the majority of the ceramic stoves are part of the original 18th-century fittings. These stoves were fired by court stove-stokers from special parallel "heating" passages in order to avoid making the rooms dirty. From 1824 pipes for heating the stoves with hot air were installed. The chandeliers of Bohemian lead crystal were made by the firm of Lobmeyr and held candles until the end of the 19th century, when electricity was installed in the palace.

The Sisi Museum is dedicated to Elisabeth who was Franz Josesef'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. The Sisi Museum conveys a broad web of Empress Elisabeth daily life: with numerous, partly very personal objects on display which afford fascinating insights into the official and private worlds of this unique woman. Here as in no other place the legend of Sisi becomes tangible. More than 300 items on display in the museum include parasols, boxes and gloves which once belonged to the melancholic Elisabeth, along with her beauty recipes, her death mask and the actual file used in her assassination, which is usually kept securely under lock and key. Further items include a reconstruction of the evening dress worn by 16 year old Sisi in 1854 before she left her home in Munich, and a replica of a section of her imperial railway carriage. She wanted no part of being part of the Royal Family but yet for all of Austria’s history, she is the most popular member of the royal family. Her myth started ONLY after her assassination. In 2009 the Sisi Museum was closed for renovation and partial remodeling. The display was extended to include some spectacular exhibits, including the reconstructed Hungarian coronation dress, the black coat used to cover Elisabeth after the assassination, mourning jewellery and the young Sisi on her swing. The guided tour adds a lot of juicy stories and gossip about Sisi life.

In the Imperial Silver Collection magnificent dining services, centrepieces measuring up to 30 metres in length and exquisite napery give an impression of the lavish grandor of the imperial banquets and feasts. As far back as the 15th century, the Silver Chamber at the Habsburg court was supervised by a Master of the Silver Chamber who was responsible for administering fruit, bread, silver and tableware. Over the course of time the Silver Chamber gained in importance. Its various responsibilities were divided between the Court Kitchen, the Court Confectionery, the Court Linen Room, the Court Cellars, the Court Silver and Table Room, the Court Depot of Victuals, the Court Firewood and Coal Depot and the Court Light Room, that is, the offices that regulated the imperial household. After the end of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918 the court household was dissolved and the imperial holdings passed into the ownership of the Austrian Republic. While a number of items were sold off, the majority remained in the Court Silver and Table Room. Of these, a part remained in use for formal state banquets and dinners given by the republic while others were put on public view in the former offices of the Silver Room from 1923. After complete renovation and the adaptation of adjacent rooms that had once housed the Royal and Imperial Gobelin factory. the Silver Room was reopened in 1995 as the Imperial Silver Collection. Today around 7,000 items from the total of 150,000 in the collection's holdings are displayed over an area of 1,300 m².

Tips: There is no cloakroom in the Hofburg: you must take your equipment with you all along the palace floors and rooms. Go early - as soon as they open, to avoid the big crowds and the large tourist groups. During the busy summer months - tour guides would park their groups in the middle of hallways and block many walk through spaces in the Hofburg palace and museum.  we recommend visiting in April or from September as the weather is still lovely and crowds are low. Note that the Hofburg treasury is not included in your ticket price. Bear in mind that the Schonbrunn Palace is partially similar inside to the Hofburg Imperial Apartments. This Audio / Guided tour starts with the china, silver, gold dining ware on the whole bottom floor. To some people, this part becomes easily boring with the endless display of crockery. In that case - just breeze through that part and start your in-depth visit in the 2nd floor of the palace...  If you are planning to visit the Hofburg and the Schönbrunnn Palace-  go first to the Hofburg and buy the "Sisi Ticket" which gets you into both locations and, here is our advice - lets you skip a frequently massive queue at the Schönbrunnn.

The Austrian Crown Jewels are kept at the Imperial Treasury (Schatzkammer) in the southern wing of the Hofburg Palace. It is even more impressive than the luxury displayed in the Kaiserappartements Imperial and royal regalia and jewels date from the 10th century to the 19th century. They are one of the biggest and most important collections of royal objects still in existence, and reflect more than a thousand years of European history. The Austrian Crown Jewels (Insignien und Kleinodien) is a term denoting the regalia and vestments worn by the Holy Roman Emperor, and later by the Emperor of Austria, during the coronation ceremony and other state functions. There are crowns, sceptres, orbs, swords, rings, crosses, holy relics, and the royal robes, as well as several other objects connected with the ceremony itself. The regalia were normally kept in Nuremberg, and a smaller part in Aachen. With the advance of the French in the French Revolutionary Wars, they were taken away in 1796 and brought to Vienna for safety. They have remained in the Schatzkammer ever since, even after the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. The regalia briefly left Vienna when Hitler had them sent to Nuremberg in 1938. After the war they were found by American troops in a bunker and eventually returned in 1946. Opening hours: everyday (EXCEPT TUESDAY) 09.00  - 17.30. Prices: Adult -  € 12, Vienna-Card - € 11, reductions -  € 9.  Combined Ticket „Treasures of the Habsburgs“: KUNSTHISTORISCHES MUSEUM, NEUE BURG & TREASURY (visit each one on 3 separate days): Adults: € 20. Audioguide: € 4 (!). Vistiors are enthusiastic about this exhibition and museum !

Bust of Emperor Rodulph II:

Heldenplatz is located south-west to the Hofburg and the Imperial Treasury. It is south-west to the In der Burg road which exits from the Hofburg. Heldenplatz (German: Heroes' Square) is a public space in front of Hofburg Palace where many important actions and events took place there along the history course of time, most notably Adolf Hitler's ceremonial announcement of the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany on 15 March 1938. In the huge square, there are two equestrian statues designed by Anton Dominik Fernkorn:

The statue of Archduke Charles of Austria, inaugurated already in 1860:

The second statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy was inaugurated in 1865:

In 1809, a part of the old bastion adjacent to the old castle was demolished in the course of the Napoleonic Wars. All the way up to the present Ringstraße, new grounds were laid, in which the neoclassical Castle Gate (Burgtor) was integrated. Within the new walls which were erected in 1817, three gardens were laid: the private Imperial Castle Garden (Burggarten), Heroes Square as a lawn with boulevards, and the People’s Garden (Volksgarten) with the Temple of Theseus (Theseustempel), which, along with the Burgtor, was designed by Peter von Nobile. A further addition from this period (already by 1804) is the Hall of Ceremonies (Zeremoniensaal) by Louis Montoyer, which at that time was a protrusion jutting out of the complex. Today it is fully integrated into the New Castle (Neue Burg) (see below):

Neue Burg (the New Castle) is part of the Hofburg Palace complex. The most recent part of the Hofburg is the Neue Burg, an imposing wing built between 1881 and 1913 after designs by Gottfried Semper. It can be accessed from the Heldenplatz which is reached via a gate through the Leopold Wing coming from the Hofburg or via the Ringstrasse. It is standing south-east to Heldenplatz and north-west to the Burggarten (see below). Neue Burg is not only home to a number of museums but also contains the main reading room of the National Library. The curved building, Neue Burg, was built in 1913 - making it the newest addition to the palace complex. Today, the Neue Burg houses the Austrian National Library and a number of museums: 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 and the Armour exhibition. The items are so well preserved and so beautiful and the collection quite extensive. This is an amazing collection of crowns, robes and religious material. Opening hours: TUE- SUN 10.00 - 18.00, (THU 10.00 - 21.00). Closed: Monday. Prices: adult - 14 €, Vienna card 13 €, < 27 yr & > 65 yr 11 €, Free < 19 yr. Combined Ticket „Treasures of the Habsburgs“: KUNSTHISTORISCHES MUSEUM, NEUE BURG & TREASURY (visit each one on 3 separate days): Adults: € 20:

We head south, out of the Hofburg - where the Burggarten resides. The Burggarten is a former palace garden, located (south to) near the Hofburg. Today it is a pleasant public park with a number of statues and an elegant palm house. As we move to the Hofburg Garten - we see the south-west facade of the Hofburg palace:

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Vienna was still surrounded by a defensive wall, at a time when most cities in Europe had started to demolish city fortifications. The wall proved useless in stopping Napoleon from occupying Vienna, and in 1809, when Napoleon left, he demolished large parts of the defensive wall. This created space around the Hofburg, and part of it was used to create a private palace garden, the Burggarten. The garden was laid out in an informal English style. In 1918, with the fall of the Habsburg Empire, the park opened to the public. The most photographed statue in the Burggarten is undoubtedly the Mozart memorial statue (Denkmal), created in 1896 by the Austrian sculptor Viktor Tilgner. The monument, which was originally erected at Augustinerplatz but moved to the Burggarten in 1953 shows Mozart on a pedestal surrounded by musical instruments. Reliefs refer to Mozart's famous opera 'Don Giovanni. In May-June - beautiful giant peonies bloom in front of the Mozart statue.

The solemn statue of Emperor Franz-Joseph I was created in 1904 and moved to its current location in 1957. A more classical equestrian statue shows Emperor Franz I, spouse of Empress Maria-Theresia.

In the south end of the Burggarten there is a huge monument of Goethe. A Goethe society was founded in 1878 in Vienna and wanted a monument built of Goethe. Unfortunately, they had trouble raising the money, so it wasn't until December 1900, the monument was finally unveiled on the corner of Goethegasse/Opernring close to Ferdinand Schiller. It shows Goethe sitting majestically on a chair:

The Burggarten is bordered to the north by the Palmenhaus, a magnificent glass palm house designed by Friedrich Ohmann in the Jugendstil style (the local version of Art Nouveau). The iron and glass structure was built between 1901 and 1907 as a greenhouse. Today the central part is home to a popular café:

There are some lovely places to sit and eat if you buy something from a food cart nearby (cheap noodles).

The left part of the Palmenhaus houses the Schmettlerlinghaus, a butterfly garden where you can see tropical butterflies and even bats. In the butterfly house you see, in the annual cycle, around 50 species of butterflies and more than 300 daily butterflies. Opening times:
April to October Daily 10.00 - 17.00, November to March Daily 10.00 - 16.00. Visit to the butterfly garden is highly recommended, especially for young children.

Intetior of the Butterfly House (Schmetterlinghaus-Burggarten):

From the Palmenhaus walk south-east and from the Goethe statue walk nort-east - to exit the Burggarten from its east side (Goethegasse/Hanuschgasse. Cross Hanuscgasse from south-west to north-east and you face the Albertina Museum. Named for the son in law of Maria Theresa. This museum houses one of the largest and most important graphic works collections in the world. Apart from the graphics collection the museum has recently acquired on permanent loan two significant collections of Impressionist and early 20th-century art, some of which will be on permanent display. The Albertina was erected on one of the last remaining sections of the fortifications of Vienna, the Augustian Bastion. In early 1919, ownership of both the building and the collection passed from the Habsburgs to the newly founded Republic of Austria. In 1920 the collection of prints and drawings was united with the collection of the former imperial court library. The name Albertina was established in 1921. In March 1945, the Albertina was heavily damaged by Allied bomb attacks. The building was rebuilt in the years after the war and was completely refurbished and modernized from 1998 to 2003. The range of outstanding works at the Albertina span from Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael through Albrecht Duerer, Rembrandt and Rubens to Lorrain, Delacroix, Manet and Cezanne. The collections of the 20th century include works by Magrit, Picasso, Schiele,Klimt and Kokoschka, as well as Andy Warhol and Rauschenberg. Another highlight of this museum are the Habsburg State Rooms, which are newly renovated and recently reopened to be viewed. The building interior itself is also a marvel to look at - especially the state rooms, open rotunda, grand stairway and the statues. Handsome, convenient, noble, no-hurried museum without glass cases in between. Quite expensive entrance fees. Wait for attractive temporary exhibitions. Opening hours: Daily 10.00 to 18.00, Wednesday 10.00 - 21.00. Prices: Adults - € 11.90, Vienna Card (Wien Karte) holders - € 9.70, Senior citizens (aged 60 and over) - € 9.90, Students with ID (up to age 26) - € 8.50. Photos allowed.

The cast statue of the Hapsburg Emperor Joseph II stands guard over Albertina Platz:

The building in the back is the Opera house:

View from the Albertina balcony to the Burggarten and the Schmettlerlinghaus:

The lower level of Albertina Museum:

Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) - Beggars and Cripples:

The Painter and The Buyer (Maler und Käufer) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder ((1526/1530–1569), 1565:

The White Horse "Gazelle" by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, 1881:

House Among the Roses by Claude Monet, c. 1918:

Egon Schiele - Female Lovers, 1915:

William Kentridge: Five Themes:

Litho print of Erzherzog Albrecht Stadler:

Jakob Alt - Der Dachstein vom Plassen bei Hallstatt - 1825:

Cornelis Hendrickszoon Vroom - Forest Road with Two Horse-Drawn Carts, c. 1638-1642:

The Albertina Square is surrounded by the Vienna Opera House, the Albertina and well known coffeehouses. The tower and spire of St Augustin's Church is on the distant right.  Albertina platz and a walk-in sculpture of Albert Hrdlicka (1928-2009) against the Fascism and the Enslavement:

The 'Stone of the Republic' bears excerpts from the declaration of reestablishment of the Republic of Austria in 1945:

The Cafe Mozart, in the Hotel Sacher (east side of the square) , in Albertina Platz is famous for its traditional coffee culture:

The Wiener Staatsoper, Opernring 2 (Vienna State Opera) is in the south side of Albertina Platz. Vienna is music and music is Vienna and it all happens here at the Opera House. The Neo-Renaissance style building was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstraße. Work commenced on the building in 1861 and was completed in 1869. owards the end of World War II, on March 12, 1945, the opera was set alight by an American bombardment.The front section, which had been walled off as a precaution, remained intact including the foyer, with frescoes by Moritz von Schwind, the main stairways, the vestibule and the tea room. The auditorium and stage were, however, destroyed by flames as well as almost the entire décor and props for more than 120 operas with around 150,000 costumes. Lengthy discussions took place about whether the opera house should be restored to its original state on its original site, or whether it should be completely demolished and rebuilt, either on the same location or on a different site. Eventually the decision was made to rebuild the opera house as it had been. on May 1, 1945, after the liberation and re-independence of Austria from the Nazis, the first performances were given. It was not until November 5, 1955, (after the Austrian State Treaty), that the Staatsoper could be reopened with a performance of Beethoven's Fidelio, conducted by Karl Böhm. The musical tradition and history of this house always performed at a top level. World famous musicians managed the house: For example, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss ro also Herbert von Karajan. Also the musical cast of characters is, as usual, a conspicuous class of its own: beside Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko or also Maria Callas sung at the Opera of Vienna. The Wiener Staatsoper is one of the busiest opera houses in the world producing 50 to 60 operas per year and ten ballet productions in approximately 300 performances. It is quite common to find a different opera being produced each day of a week. As such, the Staatsoper employs over 1000 people. More than 50 productions are staged every year, and there is a performance nearly every day for ten months of the year. The orchestra fantastic. The productions beautiful. Year 2009 marked the 140th anniversary of the Vienna Opera House. The opera house also has an opera school for boys and girls between the ages of eight and fourteen, which takes place in the afternoons after regular school. The children are introduced to music theatre and the prospect of becoming opera singers. The company recruits singers for children's roles in its productions from this opera school. Twice every season there is a special matinee performance of the opera school. Immediately before each performance, cheap, standing room tickets are sold (€ 3 and you don't see so much). These are popular with all age groups, and now have an almost legendary regular clientele, which allegedly is merciless in showing its displeasure with a performance loudly and unambiguously, but is even louder in voicing approval. You can get standing room tickets for only € 3. They go (quickly) on sale 80 minutes before the show starts. Sometimes, it is definitely worth it. Sometimes, the standing option is unpleasant experience. If you get a Burgtheater card, any seat not sold within 24 hours of a performance will cost you 50 Euros. You can find out about the Opera productions and buy Opera tickets on-the-spot for many performances, just by going to the Burgtheater ticket office right near the opera, at #2 Operngasse.  The Wiener Staatsoper is closed from July 1st until August 31st. The state Opera offers subtitle machines in front of most seats (standing spots too) so you can read and listen to better follow the show. Great for Non-German-speaking tourists. Another option of visiting the stunning State Opera house: The doors are open an hour before performance starts, thus go early to walk around and take pictures. You can bring snacks and drinks with you - no one checks your bags in the entrance.

The building is much too distinctive and much too showy to be ignored when passing it. The building complex with the numerous side wings and ornaments is very fascinating. What is specially attractive is the State Opera House of Vienna at night because it is then illuminated from all sides. On the exterior a loggia façade enthralls with statues of muses on horseback. A triumphal arch is set prominently in front of the main roof. Above it is a shield flanked by eagles with the Habsburg-Lorraine coat-of-arms, topped by the Austrian imperial crown. The glassed in loggia boasts five bronze statues, such as Heroism and Fantasy, the tallest because it is the source of all arts. The water sprite Lorelei, whose beauty and song caused sailors to crash their vessels, is perched on top of a fountain on the front façade. Other statuary represents Love as a maiden with flower petals; Mourning who is in the midst of covering her face with one hand; and the wild-haired Revenge, armed with a dagger, ready for battle. Twenty coats-of-arms of states and provinces in the Austro-Hungarian Empire adorn the façade, too.

For online tickets make sure you use the official state opera house website which sells at face value and has a seating map from which you choose your seats. With other web sites - you'll pay hiked prices. Ticket agent add on at least 10-15 of euros. If you do take or reserve a tour, try to do it on a Sunday or a holiday, when you will have a better chance of visiting the stage. Best seats, for the most sought-after performances, will cost a bundle and must be reserved far ahead.

The Vienna State Opera offers guided tours. The approximately 40-minute tour includes the entrance foyer, main staircase, Tea Salon, Marble Hall, Schwind Foyer, Gustav Mahler Hall, and the auditorium (with a look at the stage). Guided tours are offered in the following languages:
English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese. Tours cost €7.50. There are 2-4 guided tours in very specific days along the month. The Opera house is spectacular, well worth a visit but do try and see an opera while you are in Vienna. It is amazing. Pricey but well worth it for the experience. Dress up !You must see the exact days and hours in their web site:

Front of the Staatopera:

Carriages waiting in front of the Opera house (Fiaker Rundfahrten):

Inlaid stone slabs memorizing famous composers in front of the Opera building:

The State Opera interior: The staircase leading up from the main entrance to the first floor. The main staircase shows off seven allegorical statues made of marble, representing arts such as music, dance and sculpture. The painting on the ceiling, “Praise and Recognition,” depicts in vibrant colors a female figure gripping a roll of music and holding a trumpet and laurel wreath. Noone wants to take the elevator with this grand entrance...

The capacity of the auditorium is now 2,284 instead of the previous 2,881. It offers 1,709 seats, 567 standing spaces, 4 wheelchair spaces, and 4 wheelchair companion seats. The traditional colors of red, gold, and ivory were used for the auditorium, and the large central chandelier was replaced for safety by ring of built-in ceiling lights made of crystal glass. The glass ring weighs about 3,000 kilograms and uses 1,100 bulbs. It is 7 meters in diameter and 5 meters high; it has space for a lighting stand and corridors for maintenance of the system. The safety curtain is decorated with the mythological scene in which Orpheus and Eurydice bid farewell to the underworld:

The Foyer: The tour turns left at the top of the stairs and moves into the Foyer. There are 16 oil paintings from the operatic repertoire, including Beethoven’s Fidelio and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville displayed in this elegant room. A bust of the composer sits beneath each painting:

Mahler worked here from 1897 to 1907. Today his piano is on display as is a modern portrait. But the most famous monument to Mahler is the bronze bust by Rodin, on display in the Schwind Foyer:

There are two tearooms in the Vienna Opera. One displays the original tapestries by Schwind, and the other has more modern pictures made of inlaid stone. I am researching to learn more about the inlaid stone:

Gustav Mahler Hall is dedicated for the rest of the spectators during opera reception and intervals. Gustav Mahler was apparently one of the most accomplished conductors and directors in Viennese history:

It is 450 m. walk from the State Opera House to the Karlplatz subway station (U!, U2, U4). Head east on Opernring toward Opernpassage. Turn right at Opernkreuzung onto Kärntner Str. Walk 180-200 m. and turn left onto Karlsplatz station.

Vienna - from Maria-Theresien-Platz to Michaelerplatz

Ivana Simanek


Maria-Theresien-Platz to Michaelerplatz:

Main Attractions: Maria-Theresien-Platz, Naturhistorisches Museum, Volkstheater, Volksgarten, Schmerlingplatz, Palais Auersperg, Palais Epstein, the Parliament, Reichsratsstraße, Rathausplatz, Rathaus, Rathauspark, Burgtheater, Palais Ferstel, Ferstel / Freyung Passage, Freyung Platz, Palais Kinsky,Cafe Central, Herrengasse, Michaelerplatz (Michaelerkirche, Michaelertract, Michaelertor, Looshaus).

Start: Maria-Theresien-Platz. It is easy to reach by the U Bahn using the Volkstheater stop or by tram; it is also a transfer point for the hop-on hop-off tour buses. On one side of the square is the Naturhistorisches (Natural History) Museum, and on the other side is the Kunsthistorisches (Fine Arts) Museum. Across the Burgring is the Hofburg Complex, and across the Museum Platz is the Museums Quartier Wien. By subway - U2 “Museumsquartier” , U3 “Volkstheater”, Tram D, 1, 2, Bus 2A, 57A “Burgring”.

End: Michaelerplatz (adjacent, north side of the Hofburg).

Duration: 1/2 - 1 day.

Distance: 5-6 km.

Maria-Theresien-Platz is a large, green square that joins the Ringstraße (Burgring) with the Museumsplatz and the Museumsquartier (Museums Quarter).  Facing each other from the sides of the square are two identical buildings: the Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum) (see a separate blog dedicated to this wonderful museum) and the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum). The buildings are near identical, except for the statuary on their façades. The Naturhistorisches' façade has statues depicting personifications of the various continents known to Austrian science at the time—Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The monumental buildings mirror each other; they have the same neo-Renaissance design with large domes, a creation of the renowned German architect Gottfried Semper. The interior of the museums - designed by Carl von Hasenauer - is sumptuous, and features an abundance of marble stairs, statues and columns. The building south of the square houses the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) and the building opposite is home to the Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History).

Naturhistorisches Museum:

America and Australia:

The Kunsthistorisches façade features famous European artists, such as the Dutch Bruegel, among others:

With the demolition of the fortifications around Vienna the opportunity arose to create a new monumental royal complex. By 1870 an ambitious design by Gottfried Semper, dubbed the Kaiserforum, was approved. Construction of this Kaiserforum started the following year and consisted of the creation of two museum buildings as well as two new palace wings (of which only one was eventually completed) - the Neue Burg - and two squares: Heldenplatz and Maria-Theresien-Platz. Plans to connect the two squares across the newly created Ringstrasse by two triumphal arches were never realized due to the outbreak of the First World War.

The area between the two museums is laid out with formal gardens that are decorated with statues, fountains and shrub beds. At the center of the square is a large statue depicting Empress Maria Theresa, namesake of the square - first woman to hold the throne (reigned for forty years, 1740-1780), she supported the arts, reinforced the economy and the military status of the empire. She married for love and had 16 children, the most famous of all being Marie Antoinette (wife of French king Louis XVI and beheaded during the French Revolution). The monument, created in 1888 by Kaspar Zumbusch, shows Maria Theresa seated on top of a large pedestal supported on all sides by Corinthian columns. She is holding a scroll with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, an edict issued by Emperor Charles VI that allowed women to ascend the throne. It is remarkable how similar her repose is in this statue to another long-lived European queen, Victoria of England (her statue opposite Buckingham Place). The empress is surrounded by some of her closest advisors. Four of her generals (von Daun, von Khevenhüller, Traun and von Laudon) are shown on horseback. Von Kaunitz, the chancellor of state, Van Swieten, her physician, Liechtenstein, director of the artillery forces and count von Haugwitz, who reformed the economy and strengthened central authority are shown standing near the pedestal. Habsburg splendor, majesty and harmony at their best. It is a great area to enjoy the weather. The statues and the manicured gardening beds are great for taking pictures:

In addition to the monument to Empress Maria Theresa at the square, you will also find a series of four fountain pools with marble statues, each surrounded by large manicured shrubs. There are park benches, found at each fountain as well if you want to have a rest before or after visiting one of the nearby museums:

The Naturhistorisches Museum and the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the square adjoining them were built in 1889. The Naturhistorisches Museum houses displays of butterflies and other insects, and an extensive preserved and stuffed animal collection, the most poignant examples of which include a Przewalskii's horse, a baby Javanese rhinoceros, and a case of dodo remains. Also notable is the museum's famous Mikrotheater, showing slides of microscopic organisms, its two spider crabs which were sent to Emperor Franz Joseph by the Japanese Emperor as a gift, and the first ever human depiction of an underwater scene made from life observation and the diving bell from which it was made. The stairwell contains paintings of Emperor Franz Joseph, Empress Maria Theresa and her stuffed pet lap dog, a miniature hound. The current building was completed in 1889. Today it houses a collection of about 30 million specimens and artifacts. Its collections were founded in 1750 by Emperor Franz I Stephan of Lorraine, the husband of Maria Theresa. Like the Kunsthistorisches Museum - the Naturhistorisches Museum building is great and on its own a reason to come and visit. Be prepared - you can easily spend half or even a full day here. There is plenty to keep you occupied, many interesting exhibits. Also an interesting exhibition on the top floor about the Chernobyl disaster in Russia.

Opening times: THU-MON: 9.00 - 18.30, WED: 9.00 - 21.00. Tuesday: closed. closed:  Dec. 25,  Jan. 1. Admission: Children and youth under 19 - free, Adults - € 10, Senior citizens - € 8, Students - € 5. Audioguide € 2:

The Venus of Willendorf:

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is described, in detail, in my separate blog  "Vienna - Museum of Fine Arts - Kunsthistorisches Museum: 7th heaven for art lovers:

From the Nature History Museum head southwest, turn right toward Museumsplatz and the Volkstheater ("People's Theatre") is on your left. One of the prettiest buildings in Vienna! The Volkstheater station of lines U2 and U3 of the Vienna U-Bahn is located here:

The Volkstheater is located in Neubau, the seventh district of Vienna. It is often said to be the "biggest theatre in the German-speaking world". The Volkstheater was founded in 1889 by request of the citizens of Vienna, amongst them the dramatist Ludwig Anzengruber and the furniture manufacturer Thonet, in order to offer a popular counter weight to the Hofburgtheater. Like the Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, the Vienna Volkstheater was built by the architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. The founders of this stage had a theatrical stage in mind, in order to expose wider circles of the population of Vienna to classical and modern literature whilst staging these next to more traditional plays. The theatre follows this tradition even today. Nowadays, the repertoire of the Volkstheater includes Austrian as well as German and international classics. Other focal points are comedies and musicals. Most of the time you can't get inside for a tour.  To see its interior come to a concert, opera, musical or a play on stage in the evenings. It is incredibly nice under the decorative lighting. The Voklsteather is perfect for the operas you if have time at Vienna:

From the Volkstheater head northwest on Museumsplatz toward Bellariastraße. Turn right onto Bellariastraße and walk 230 m. Turn right onto Burgring and turn left onto the Volksgarten. The Volksgarten (People's Garden) is a public park, part of the Hofburg Palace. It was laid out by Ludwig Remy in 1821. The Volksgarten area was originally used for fortifications. Between 1596 to 1597, a fortress wall was built on the eastern side of park. In 1639, additional fortifications were built on the southern side. In 1809, these fortifications were destroyed by Napoleon's French troops. Between 1817 and 1821, the area near Ballhausplatz square was converted to gardens originally intended for a private garden for the archdukes. These plans were changed through a proposal by the court garden administration to turn the area into the first public park in the city. On 1 March 1823, the park was officially opened. Starting in 1825, the name Volksgarten was commonly used. In 1862, the gardens were extended toward Ringstraße after the city moat had been filled in. The park includes, if you're in Vienna in the right season, stunning rose garden:

At the center of the park is the Theseus Temple, a replica of the Temple of Hephaestus (Theseion) in the Ancient Agora of Athens. The temple was originally built between 1820 and 1823 by Peter von Nobile, an Austrian architect. It originally housed the statue 'Theseus and the Minotaur' by Antonio Canova. The statue is now missing; in 1890 it was moved to the
staircase inside the Kunsthistorisches Museum shortly after the museum opened:

The Cortisches coffee house was built between 1820 and 1823, also by Peter Nobile. Austrian Romantic composers Johann Strauss I and Joseph Lanner performed here. On 10 March 1867, Johann Strauss II conducted the first performances of his Donauwalzer. The Cafè Meirei was built in 1890, originally as a water reservoir. In 1924, it was converted to the Milchtrinkhalle. The Milchpavillon was built in 1951 by Oswald Haerdtl:

At the northern end of the park stands the Empress Elizabeth (“Sissi”) Monument by Hans Bitterlich and Friedrich Ohmann, completed in 1907. At the center of the monument is a statue of a seated Empress Elisabeth by Hans Bitterlich. The dedication of the monument took place on 4 June 1907 in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria:

At the other end of the park is a monument honoring Franz Grillparzer, created in 1889 by Karl Kundmann. It shows a statue of the poet and playwright Grillparzer in an exedra flanked by reliefs depicting scenes from his plays:

Head southwest on Volksgarten toward Burgring, to exit from the southernmost edge of the park. Turn right onto Burgring, continue onto Doktor-Karl-Renner-Ring and turn left onto Schmerlingplatz. It is named in 1893 after the politician Anthony Von Schmerling:

You can't miss, here, the Palais Auersperg, originally called Palais Rosenkavalier, which is a baroque palace at Auerspergstraße 1. It was in Palais Auersperg, built in 1710 according to plans by Lukas von Hildebrandt, that the six-years-old W. A. Mozart leapt onto the lap of Empress Maria Theresia. Later, he and other famous composers premièred their masterpieces in this magnificent setting, and Emperor Franz Josef and his wife Sisi danced there at resplendent balls. The pale pink and green marbled walls and the sparkling crystal chandeliers also inspired Hugo von Hofmannstahl to write his libretto for "Der Rosenkavalier". With this famous opera, Richard Strauss gave Palais Auersperg and its illustrious guests a memorial for posterity. In our time it has been used as a shooting location for numerous films, including the world-famous "The Third Man". In the beginning of 2006 the Palais was sold again to an old European family. The State Apartments remained the same and are still used for musical purposes. In the upper floor most areas have been changed into office rooms. In the next few years the Palais will be restored and a small museum is planned. Currently the Palais is used for balls and musical events of various kinds; it has eleven rooms and can accommodate up to 1000 guests. You can visit here only during musical events (Vienna Residence Orchestra):

In the west side of Schmerlingplatz stands the Palace of Justice (Schmerlingplatz 10-11). The Palace of Justice (German: Justizpalast) is the seat of the Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof) of Austria. The Neo-Renaissance building erected from 1875 to 1881. In addition to the Supreme Court, the Palace of Justice houses the Higher Regional Court of Vienna and the Regional Court for Civil Matters Vienna and the General Prosecution and the Supreme Public Prosecutor for Vienna:

Palais Epstein, Doktor-Karl-Renner-Ring 3 is in the eastern side of chmerlingplatz. It was built for the industrialist and banker Gustav Ritter von Epstein. The architect was Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, who also designed the adjacent Austrian Parliament Building. Unlike traditional Baroque noble palaces in Vienna, the Palais Epstein was built in the late 19th century and is therefore considered a Ringstraßenpalais. It is up to five storeys high and built in the neo-renaissance style typical of its time. Following the Gründerkrach (i.e. "Founders' Crash", the 9 May 1873 crash of the Vienna Stock Exchange) Epstein had to sell the palais to the Imperial Continental Gas Association, an English gas company, to avoid bankruptcy. In 1902 it was acquired by the State and used as domicile of the Administrative Court. After conversions it became home to the Vienna School Authority in 1922. Following the Anschluss it housed offices of the Reichsstatthalter's building authorities. From 1945 to 1955 the Palais Epstein was domicile of the Soviet Headquarters. After that, it briefly served as a branch of the Academy of Music and Performing Arts and then again for the School Authority until 2002. After a thorough refurbishment it has been a branch of nearby Parliament ever since. A permanent exhibition about the history of the palais and its owners has been set up in the basement and there are guided tours of the bel etage first floor which has been restored to its original state. Guided Tours Palais Epstein: Groups of 10 people on demand. Start of the guided tour is at the Parliament Visitor’s Center. Combination tickets for guided tours of Parliament and Palais Epstein are available (admission: 8 €). Mid-September until mid-July (except on days when parliament is in session): MON - THU: 11.00 , 14.00, 15.00, 16.00, FRI: 11.00, 13.00, 14.00,  15.00, 16.00, SAT: 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00. Mid-July until mid-September (except on days when parliament is in session):
MON - SAT: 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00:

The Austrian Parliament building is a bit north to Schmerlingplatz (see Tip below). We devote a special Tip (below) to this wonderful construction between the Hofburg Imperial Palace and the Palace of Justice.

From the Parliament complex head north on Reichsratsstraße toward Rathausplatz and continue straight onto Rathausplatz:

The town square in front of Vienna's city hall is called "Rathausplatz". Rathausplatz is an amazing place. A masterpiece of architecture. One of the greatest city halls, with the statues of all the mayors along the path, leading to its main entrance. The square is busy all the year round. During the Summer are various local fairs, with wine and food stalls. There are so many reasonable choices of cuisines to choose from. Every summer, from the end of June until the beginning of September, the square in front of Vienna’s City Hall becomes a nightly tribute to the city’s status as a global music capital, by playing host to the vibrant Rathausplatz Music Film Festival. Every evening at dusk, a different music-centric film plays on a giant screen displayed above the square. The selection is diverse—from operas to ballets to jazz to rock concerts—which can be refreshing for those worn out by Vienna’s constant onslaught of classical. The festival doesn’t just offer audio delights either—a wide selection of international cuisine is available daily from 11 a.m. until midnight. Provided by twenty of the top restaurateurs in the city, the aim is to provide a “culinary world tour” for festival-goers. There is a Christmas market (Adventmarkt and Silvesterpfad) from mid-November to the New Year. Every year there is an ice-skating rink (Wiener Eistraum) in the early months of the year. The range of events put on by the municipality is phenomenal. Vienna is to be applauded for producing such excellent entertainment for its people and for the tourists. Enjoy visiting Rathausplatz at night - allowing outstanding views of the Rathaus building when it is illuminated with floodlights:

On your right is the Rathaus. A Gothic structure that was built between 1873-1883. It is well served by trams though slightly less so by U-Bahn as the station entrance is tucked away a couple of minutes behind the Rathaus. The Rathaus is a very beautiful town hall on one side of the Ringstrasse and a definite must see; on the other side is the Burgtheater which is much less imposing. In the night, it is very nice lighted. Building with stunning fairy-tale details and wonderful symmetry, especially backlit by the setting sun. The free building tour, little under a hour, is offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 13.00. The tour is in German only but they will give you an audio guide in English, French, Spanish or Italian with a photo ID. The guide takes you around the huge building (don't try this if you can't do stairs) and tells you what number to listen to on your audio guide while he speaks in German. A couple of beautiful rooms to see. Pay particular attention to the fine wood ceilings and to the gorgeous chandeliers:

The entrance to the Wappensäle in the Rathaus is via Feststiege II (festive staircase II) in Lichtenfelsgasse 2:

The Rathauspark is on the eastern side of the Rathausplatz. About 20 food and beverage stands in the center with plenty of seating. The green areas of the Platz have a huge number of wooden benches. THere would be never lack for a seat. Several nice statues.

From the Rathausplatz head east, turn right toward Josef-Meinrad-Platz and walk 100 m. crossing the Universitatsring. Turn left to arrive to the
Burgtheater, Universitätsring 2. After the Comédie Francaise, the Burgtheater in Vienna is Europe’s second-oldest theatre. Today, the Burgtheater, originally known as the K. K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg, complete with its three affiliated venues – the Akademietheater, Kasino and Vestibül – and a permanent ensemble of more than 80 actors and actresses, is one of Europe’s largest theatres and plays a major role in the German-speaking theatrical world. Every season, the Burgtheater and its affiliated venues welcome approximately 400,000 theatre-goers to some 800 performances. The stage of the Burgtheater is one of the biggest theatre stages in the world. The main stage is 28,5m wide, 23m deep and 28m high. At the opening in 1888 the stage technology was already innovatory and has been modernized on many occasions. During the reconstruction after World War II, which was accomplished in 1955, a stage equipment was installed that is still revolutionary today. The revolving stage consists of a rotating cylinder  and four hydraulic lifts. With the help of this technical features the scenery can be changed within 40 seconds. It is the biggest automatic and computer controlled stagesystem in Europe. The Burgtheater auditorium holds 1175 seats, it has standing room for 84 visitors and 12 places for disabled visitors. Apart from the stage-art the Burgtheater plays an important part in architecture and interior design of the 19th century in Vienna. The magnificent decoration, especially the two imperial staircases painted by Gustav Klimt, his brother Ernst Klimt and their companion Franz Matsch as well as the main foyer and the many statues, busts and paintings of famous writers and actors can be visited during a daily guided tour. Opening hours: The programme is published on on the 1st of each month for the following month. The Burgtheater and all its four venues are closed during July and August. All plays and performances are in German language, if not indicated otherwise. Ticket sale & information: Beginning on the 20th of each month, the ticket sales start for the following month. (e.g. the ticket sale for Novemer starts on the 20th of october). Ticket Prices:
Burgtheater & Akademietheater: EUR 5 / 8 / 12 / 19 / 27 / 35 / 43 / 51
Standing room EUR 2,50. Burgtheater ticket office: Phone: +43 (0)1 51444-4440, Universitätsring 2, 1010 Wien. Last Minute and Reduced Ticket: For designated performances: one hour prior to the performance all remaining tickets can be bought 25% off the full price (as marked on the online-schedule or at the box office, except matinees and special events). Reduced tickets for 8€ are available at the ticket offices for students, apprentices and unemployed (necessary identity card).

Guided Tour „Burgtheater – behind the scenes“ - SEP-JUN only: Daily 15.00. (Subject to change), MON - THU: 15.00 in German with English summary. FRI - SUN: 15.00. German and English. Admission (SEP-JUN):
Adults EUR 6,50, Seniors EUR 5,50, Students EUR 3,-, Children EUR 3,-.

Guided Tours „Burgtheater – behind the scenes“ - JUL – AUG only: Daily 15.00 German and English. Admission (JUL-AUG): Adults EUR 5,50, Seniors EUR 4,50, Students EUR 2,-, Children EUR 2,-.

Meeting Point: in the hall at the main entrance
Duration: 50 minutes. No registration required. Ticket sale 15 minutes prior to guided tour.


Information and Contact
Burgtheater Service-Centre
Phone +43(0) 1 514 44-4140
Fax: +43(0) 1 514 44-4143
Universitätsring 2, 1010 Wien

From Josef-Meinrad-Platz, in the south side of Burgtheater - head east on toward Löwelstraße, 65 m. Continue straight onto Löwelstraße, 17 m. Continue onto Bankgasse, 230 m. Turn right onto Herrengasse, 98 m and
turn left onto Strauchgasse. The Palais Ferstel is in Strauchgasse 4. The famous Palais Ferstel is located in one of the oldest districts of Vienna, the Palais Quarter in the 1st district. Palais Ferstel is one of the most interesting buildings belonging to the Wilhelminian Era and by 1900 formed the social centre of Vienna comprising of its Café Central, ballrooms and salon areas. The large Ferstel ballroom, together with the arcade courtyard and side rooms, form an elegant and stylish setting. The building originally housed the Austro-Hungarian National Bank and the Stock Exchange as well as bazaar and a café popular with artists and men of letters. The palace was built in the 1850s to plans provided by the architect Heinrich von Ferstel. This prestigious building in the style of those put up along the Ringstrasse boulevard still catches the eye today because of the use of Venetian and Florentine elements in its design:

Head northeast on Strauchgasse toward Heidenschuß, 94 m and turn left onto Freyung Platz. A pretty, triangular historic square surrounded by imposing Baroque palaces. In the centre is a large fountain topped with a figure representing Austria. At its base four other figures symbolizing the principal rivers of the past Austro-Hungarian territory: – the Danube, Elbe, Po and Vistula:

In the north-west edge of the Freyung square stands a beautiful baroque building which turned out to be a Palace. Palace Kinsky (Freyung # 4)was originally built in 1717 for Count Wirich Philipp von Daun who was Austrian field marshal in the war of the Spanish succession. His son Leopold Josef Graf Daun became a field marshal of Empress Maria Theresa. In 1784, the Bohemian Kinsky family bought the Palace. The yellow-white façade happens to be on the narrow side of the Palace, it goes back much further in depth (to the west). At the main entrance there are two arcs which enclose the central window, and two allegorical figures: on the left - the wisdom and on the right - the justice. The emblem of the Kinsky is situated over the window. The interior is richly-decorated, has a lovely staircase, frescoed ceilings, mirrors and statues and expensive parquet floors. The Palace was used for the final-status negotiations between Serbian and Kosovo Albanians in EU-sponsored negotiations. The palace is used for auction events, houses shops and a restaurant:

At Freyung # 3 is one of Vienna's oldest palaces, the Palais Harrach, built around 1600. It has a magnificent gold Coat of Arms above the arched entrance:

Other palaces around: Hardegg (Freyung 1),  Lamber (Freyung 5), Ferstel (Freyung 2 - see above), Schönborn-Batthyány (Renngasse 4), and Windisch-Graetz (Renngasse 12). Renngasse is to the north-east of Freyung square. Opposite the Palais Kinsky stands the Schottenstift or Schottenkloster (Scottish Monastery). The monastery goes back to the 12th c. and is called  although the monks were Irish. In that time these monks were called "Iro-Schotten". It was founded in Vienna in 1155 when Henry II of Austria brought Irish monks to Vienna. The Baroque church we see now is from 1648:

South to Palais Ferstel and Freyung Platz is the Freyung Passage, on Strauchgasse, home to  Café Central - a Viennese institution, corner Strauchgasse / Herrengasse. The marble-clad passage with pilasters and vaulted ceiling, was built by an Austrian Architect in 1860. It contains luxury stores with beautiful window displays. ,detailed wrought iron, painted ceilings and lovely old lamps - all make made this one classy passage-way ! Inside, in a small inner courtyard covered by a hexagonal glass dome, there is a tall fountain was in the centre with a statue of the Danube water nymph (Donaunixen), who is holding a fish in her hand:

This famous traditional Central café with its 130 year history was first opened in 1876 and at the turn of the 20th century it was a popular meeting point for leading lights in the world of art, literature, politics and science such as Arthur Schnitzler, Sigmund Freud, Peter Altenberg and Leo Trotzki ( once met with his fellow socialists). Then, like today, the legendary literature café was a meeting point for all ages. The fountain here has a statue of the Donaunixen (Danube water-nymph), with a fish in her hand:

The Freyung Passage links the square of the same name with Herrengasse, one of Vienna’s most atmospheric streets. This is a lovely area for a stroll, as little back streets provide contrast with the grand town palaces that line the wider ones such as Herrengasse (see below) and offer surprises at every turn. There are several small courtyards with smart shops and equally smart cafés, and you could easily while away a couple of hours in this part of the city.

We walk along Herrengasse with our face to the south. The section of the street between the Freyung and Lobkowitzplatz squares was known during the Middle Ages as Hochstraße (High Street). After Vienna began to establish itself as the imperial capital, the nobility (known in German as Herren or Lords) increasingly migrated to the city to be close to the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the residence of the Habsburg rulers. There are several palaces along our way in Herrengasse:
Palais Herberstein (built in 1897, at Herrengasse 1-3). Built in 1896-1897. It replaced an older structure, Palais Dietrichstein, which was famous for its Café Griensteidl, where a group of young poets and writers known as Jung-Wien gathered on a regular basis. After the café was demolished, they moved to the nearby Café Central, now the most famous of all cafés in Vienna. In 1990 a new, reconstructed Griensteidl Café opened in Palais Herberstein,

Palais Wilczek (former Palais Lembruch, 1737, Herrengasse 5),

Palais Modena (today Federal Ministry of the Interior, 1811, Herrengasse 7),

Palais Mollard-Clary (1689, Herrengasse 9) (see next paragraph),
Palais Niederösterreich (formerly Niederösterreichisches Landeshaus,  Herrengasse 13),

Palais Ferstel (formerly Österreichisch-ungarische Bank, 1856–1860, Herrengasse 14, entrance also at Freyung 2) (see above),
Palais Batthyány (integrates parts of the former Palais Orsini-Rosenberg, 1716, Herrengasse 19),

Palais Trauttmannsdorff (1834–1838, Herrengasse 21),

Palais Porcia (1546, Herrengasse 23).

Further south, in this road, on your right is Palais Mollard-Clary, Herrengasse 9. A Baroque palace, built from 1686 to 1689 for Count Mollard (Reichsgraf von Mollard). In 1760, it was bought by Count Franz Wenzel von Clary-Aldringen. Emperor Joseph II held his famous "round tables" here. Since 2005 it has been used by the Austrian National Library and houses the Globe Museum, the Department of Music and the Department of Planned Languages and Esperanto Museum:

The Herrengasse ends, in the south, in Michaelerplatz. Michaelerplatz is one of Vienna's most famous squares, thanks to its proximity to the Hofburg, Vienna's imperial palace. Many tourists head straight for the palace, but there are some other noteworthy sights around the square as well:

The oldest building at Michaelerplatz is the Michaelerkirche, long the parish church of the emperors. The Michaelerkirche (St Michael's Church) is the former parish church of the Austrian monarchy. Church St. Michael date from as far back as the first half of the thirteenth century. It was originally built in 1221 but regularly expanded and modified to such an extent that it now consists of a mix of architectural styles. Experts believe that the altar room was built between 1327 and 1340, the lower parts of the tower later. In the ensuing centuries, the church was rebuilt and added to several times. The tower is still Gothic and dates from the fourteenth century. The neoclassicist facade was designed in 1792. Of note is the sculpture group above the Baroque porch, depicting the Fall of Angels and created by Lorenzo Mattielli. Guided tours: Wedenesdays 13.00 and 15.00, except on holidays - German/English. Meeting Point: in front of the church. St. Michael's used to be the parish church of the Imperial Court, when it was called Zum heiligen Michael. The church is a late Romanesque, early Gothic building dating from about 1220–1240. There is a document giving 1221 as the foundation date of the church, but this is most probably a 14th-century forgery. it has stood in its present form since 1792. Opening hours: MON - SAT, 07.00 - 22.00, SUN, 08.00 - 22.00, on holidays 08.00 - 22.00:

St. Michael´s Crypt - The crypt was created in the 16th and 17th centuries, as a result of the closure in 1508 of the graveyard that had been located around the church. Today, the church is visited mostly for its interesting catacombs. From 1631 to 1784, about 4,000 people were buried here. Today, one can still see hundreds of coffins adorned with flowers or skulls, as well as mummified corpses. The most famous person buried in the catacombs is Pietro Metastasio, who wrote some of the librettos of Mozart's operas:

The domed Michaelertrakt is one of the most exuberant wings of the imperial palace. It was originally designed in the 1720s by Josef Emanuel Fischer von Erlach, but the project stalled and it wouldn't be until 1888, when the old Burgtheater was demolished, that construction really started. Michaelertrakt, the semicircular St Michael's Wing of the Hofburg dates from 1888-1893. Austrian architect Ferdinand Kirschner followed von Erlach's original Baroque design and completed the wing in 1893. Two monumental fountains emphasize the grandeur of the building. The dome covering the roof is one of Vienna's most famous sights. Through the Michaelertor (see below) gateway is a round vestibule leading to the Palace apartments and various collections:

At the center of the wing is a monumental gate, the Michaelertor. Along the sides of the three entrances are colossal statues of Hercules. At either end of the Michaelertrakt are large wall fountains with sculpture groups. The fountain on the right, the 'Mastery of the Land', was designed in 1897 by Edmund Hellmer and symbolizes the Austrian army. The fountain on the left is known as the 'Mastery of the Sea'. It was sculpted in 1895 by Rudolf Weyr and symbolizes the Austrian naval power.

"The forces on land" (1897) - Fountain with statue group on the outside of the St. Michael's tract. This interesting fountain is located on the corner of the left (south) side of the Michaelertor.It was sculpted by Rudolf Weyr in 1895 and symbolizes the Austrian Navy. It is made of white marble and it depicts a young woman on a ship, dominating the "powers of the sea" (God of seas Neptune, sea dragon):

Michaelerplatz is dominated by the impressive neo-Baroque Michaelertor, the entrance gate to the Hofburg:

Opposite the palace is one of Vienna's first modern buildings, the Looshaus. It was built in 1911 the Looshaus caused quite a controversy due to its modern façade void of decorations, very unusual in Baroque Vienna. Adolf Loos was influenced by the nascent skyscraper architecture that he had seen on a trip to the United States, and employed a business-like style with straight lines and little or no decoration.

At the center of the square is an open area with Roman and medieval remains. Excavations at Michaelerplatz unearthed remains of a Roman house as well as some medieval foundations and remains of the former Burgtheater. The ruins are now exposed and can be seen from street level:

Vienna - from Europaplatz to the Museumsquartier

Ivana Simanek


Vienna - from Europaplatz to the Museumsquartier or Museums Quarter - 1/2 day walk:

Start: Europaplatz, 15th district of Vienna, Fünfhaus.

End: Museums Quarter - Museumsquartier U-Bahn station.

Orientation: winning solution for a rainy day or for an introductory part-of-the-day (after early arrival to Vienna).

Duration: 5-7 hours, depending on your in-depth visits in the MQ numerous museums. 5-6 km.

We start at the 15th District (Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus). My accommodation was in the Strawberry Hostel, Mittelgasse 18 (see Tip below) . Head southwest on Mittelgasse toward Aegidigasse. On your left is the Raimund Theater. Named after the Austrian dramatist Ferdinand Raimund, the theater was built by an association of Viennese citizens and opened on 28 November 1893 with Raimund's play Die Gefesselte Phantasie. The theater mainly presented German folk dramas and playsץ Nowadays - musicals.

Then, turn right onto Mariahilfer Gürtel Straße (Gürtel = inner-city ring road). The Hotel Ibis Wien Mariahilf Mariahilfer,  Gürtel 22-24 is a bit forward, on your right. The  Maria vom Siege church is on your left. Open: 07.30 - 20.00 - everyday. Maria vom Siege was built between 1868 and 1875 on a site that had previously been mostly agricultural lands. The area of Fünfhas had become a prospering working-class suburb with a rapidly increasing population and needed a bigger church. The name "Maria vom Siege" ("Mary of the Victory") is derived from a painting that depicts a nativity scene. It was damaged in the 30-Years-War by Protestant troops. Imperial Catholic units had carried the painting into battle and when they were victorious, the Imperial forces donated money towards the construction of a church in Rome. This became "Santa Maria della Vittoria", the model for the church Maria vom Siege in Vienna. It is a dark brick building with a very large, central cupola that is easily spotted from the Gloriette Hill of Schloss Schönbrunn Palace. In fact, people often only drive by it without taking a closer look... The Viennese Maria vom Siege church was designed by Friedrich Schmidt, the architect who has also designed buildings like the Rathaus city hall or the Akademisches Gymnasium. Friedrich Schmidt was a popular architect of the Ringstraßen-Style, recycling styles of various periods in decorative elements on buildings. The interiors are surprisingly light and friendly with several large windows. On contrast to the neo-Gothic outside, the inside of Maria vom Siege resembles a neo-Byzantine style:

You head 400 m. northward along Mariahilfer Gürtel Straße - passing Kurzgasse, Aegidigasse, Bürgerspitalgasse, Mariahilfer Straße ( to the immediate south-east provides a direct route into the centre of the city), westend Cafe' and Hotel Fürstenhof - all, on your right (east). Then, turn left to the Wien Westbahnhof. Westbahnhof is the largest Viennese railway station after Wien Südbahnhof, and the departure point for trains to Germany, Poland, and beyond to France and Belgium. There are also trains (via the Speisinger connection station) to Hungary, Serbia, and Romania in the east and southeast. The station is also the departure point for regional rail lines into the west of Vienna. With the establishment of the long-planned Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna main station) the Westbahnhof will lose some of its significance, as international trains, above all those that go on to Eastern Europe, will be routed directly to the Hauptbahnhof through connecting Lainzer Tunnel under the Lainzer Tiergarten, which has been put into regular operation by December 2012. From 2013 the Westbahnhof faces degradation in its status and volume of transport. The station was designed by the architect Moritz Löhr and opened in 1858. It was redesigned (by Architects Hartiger & Wöhnhart) and rebuilt in 1952. Because only narrow administration wings were built on the sides, space was available for eleven tracks in all, accessed from covered peninsular platforms. The centerpiece of the rebuilt Westbahnhof is the large hall giving on to the Gürtel (Europaplatz), which is divided into a lower and an upper level that is reached by two flights of stairs and escalators. The hall is lighted by high windows that are built into the east and west facades above the platform overhangs. The ticket windows are installed beneath the upper hall. Later on, a pavilion was built in the lower hall that offered a service centre for bookings, hotel reservations and the like. In the 1980s a parking garage was erected on the north side of the station. The Westbahnhof, with its half-timbered roof construction, enjoys protected-monument status. In the course of building the U3 subway line, a large new steel and glass construction was built in 1993, which accommodates some of the station's restaurants and a cafe on several levels. The underground passage to the subway stations can be reached from the lower level. Various businesses catering to travelers are on both levels of the hall (supermarket, tobacco and newsstands, Internet cafe, post office, copy centre, snack shops, flower shops, barber shop, etc.). In September 2008 a series of works commenced at Westbahnhof. There were constructed two new buildings to the left and right of the main hall, all of which are part of the new BahnhofCity project. To the left, above the park on the corner of Mariahilfer Straße and Neubaugürtel, an office building with a large atrium, on the other side another modern office complex with integrated hotel was constructed. The new shopping centre includes space for roughly 90 shops and various restaurants. The station and the buildings of BahnhofCity Wien West were officially reopened on  November 2011. Bus line 1187 is the best connection between Vienna airport and the Westbahnhof and it departs from the railway station. You pay € 8,- for a one-way ticket for adults, for children it's € 4. Departure times: Vienna Westbahnhof (Europaplatz) from 05.10 until 23.10, always at minute 10 and 40. Ride length: 45 minutes. There are 24hr left luggage lockers and a manual storage option:

U-Bahn: The station is at the top of Mariahilfer Strasse, which leads directly to the city centre. It's a 30 min walk and so it's much easier to take the excellent U-Bahn (lines 3 or 6) which takes about 10 minutes.
The underground (U3) station:

The lines of the Underground - U3 and U6 - are as well integrated in the lower parts of the station building. But should you leave on foot in the direction of the city center, you'll find yourself on the Europaplatz, which is crossed by the Mariahilfer Strasse. In the other direction it leads until the castle alley of the Castle of Schönbrunn (tram 58), but leading downtown the Mariahilfer Strasse is a traditional shopping street. In the past it was only outdone by the Kärntner Strasse, today it has a lot of competition in many other districts, not at least due to the newer shopping centers. So, we return to the Wiener Gürtel Straße. Head east toward the Wiener Gürtel Straße and turn right 150 m. back onto Europaplatz. Mercure Wien Europaplatz and Leonardo are two hotels and the most remarkable buildings in this square:

But before we start walking, we have a quick cup of coffee. We get that in the Café Westend, right on the corner of the Europaplatz. There will be lots of pavement cafés later, but the Westend is at least as traditional as the Mariahilfer Strasse itself. The building and the café have known better days - you are supposed to benevolently overlook a possible hole in the leather sofa - but on the other hand you are still served by waiters in tailcoats and the furniture is as well from the "good old times":


We continue, from Europaplatz, more southward and turn LEFT (east) to Mariahilfer Straße. The Mariahilfer Strasse got its name in 1862, called after the sixth district in Vienna, which is called - Mariahilf. But the truth is, that it forms the border between the sixth and seventh district. The original village was founded in the 17 th century and got the name Mariahilf after a statue of the Virgin. The length of the street from the Wesbahnhof station to the Ring around the city center is about two kilometers, but it slopes downwards in our direction. The look of the street has changed a lot during the latest decades. Earlier there were trams passing, together with the rest of the traffic, later all of it became a pedestrian area and today it is something in between - there are rather wide pavements, but cars may drive on the street. Mariahilferstrasse that includes the Innerer (inner) and Ausserer (outer) parts divided by the Gurtel is the longest shopping street in all of Vienna, stretching on for nearly two kilometers. While the inner Mariahilferstrasse is more popular, a variety of shops, restaurants, cafes, as well as historical buildings can be seen in both sections. Anything from H & M or Benetton to Libro and Merkur can be found here. Today, the traffic through Mariahilferstrasse is extremely slow thanks to all the traffic lights and narrow roads. Thus, walking is usually the preferred choice when shopping at Mariahilferstrasse:

On the first intersection of Mariahilferstraße with Stumpergasse - you can turn right to Mariahilferstraße, then take the first turn to the left onto Schmalzhofgasse and then, right to Haydngasse - to visit the Haydnhaus (see Tip below).

We walk along Mariahilferstraße from west to east and browse several interesting places in this bustling street. In the second half of the 19th century large stores started to establish themselves in the street. Herzmansky was at that time (1897) the biggest shop in the entire Habsburgian Empire, that specialized in textiles. Herzmansky and his partner and later competitor Alfred Gerngross were the first to build their stores here. The Herzmansky building in the Mariahilferstraße 30 fell victim to the flames In the last days of the war in 1945. in 1957 the building was sold to the German Hertie company with a new building in the Mariahilferstraße 26 - 30 rebuilt. Since 1998, located in its place a branch of Peek & Cloppenburg. Today, one of the largest department stores in Vienna. Recommended for a stroll for shopping lovers:

Kaufhaus Gerngross - in the shopping centre of  Mariahilfer Straße 42-48:

Most of the shops on Mariahilferstrasse specialize in clothing, with 40% of the shopping area assigned to it. The average size of a shop on Mariahilferstrasse is 287 square meters, more than twice the size of Vienna’s average. The most recent refurbishments of the 1990ies led not only to good access to modern means of transportation (most importantly the U3 subway line that runs along the street), but also 10 metre wide sidewalks on both sides as well as lines of trees. As the Green party of Vienna has criticized quite rightfully, cyclist paths are severely unsatisfactory.

In this shopping centre, Mariahilfer Straße 42-48 (very near to the Neubeugasser U-Bahn) - you can find also a branch of Akakiko - a chain of Asian food restaurants - to get a nice Asian meal. Main courses starting at €10 (summer - 2014). Check the daily deals for cheaper options. The Akakiko branch in Mariahilferstrasse offers a great view of the city. Especially, you have a great view of the Mariahilfer Church ! Take the lift at the side of the building. The toilets at this shopping centre / mall and near the restaurant are free - unlike in many malls in Vienna!

But still much older is - on the other side of the street - the Mariahilfer church, Mariahilfer Straβe 55, in which one can see the statue, giving the name to street and district. Of all the busy shopping lanes and malls in Vienna, Mariahilferstraße is by far the busiest. But it does have its quite corners - and one is the Mariahilfekirche Church, also known as "Kirche Maria Hilf" or "Barnabitenkirche". In front of the church you find a monument of the famous composer Joseph Haydn, holding a sheet of music in his hands, a work by Heinrich Natter. The Church of Mariahilf is a Baroque parish church and the church of the Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel. When the Church of Mariahilf was completed it became the parish church for Order of the Barnabites in acknowledgement to their contribution to the building process. The Salavtorians took over the church during the 1930's. Since 1997 the Church has been run by the Michaelite Fathers. Open: MON, TUE and FRI  09.00 - 12.00, WED - 10.00 - 12.00, THU -  09.00 - 12.00  and 14.00 - 17.00:

The church has six chapels and is decorated with frescoes in trompe l'oeil made by Johann Hauzinger and Franz Xaver Strattmann in 1759–1760, pupils of Paul Troger. The altar was made by J. G. Dorfmeister:

The organ was built in 1763 by the Austrian organ builder Johann Hencke (3 Dec 1697 Geseke- 24 Sept 1766 Vienna):

A market in front of Mariahilfer Kirche:

Another option of cheap dining is the McDonald's Restaurant, Mariahilfer Straße 22-24 (numbers are going down from west to east).

Before arriving to the Neubaugasse U-Bahn station - you can turn right to the Schadekgasse - leading to the Fritz-Grünbaum-Platz - where the Haus des Meeres (Aqua Terra Zoo) is located (see Tip below).

After passing the Karl-Schweighofer-Gasse, on your left - you arrive to the Museumsquartier or Museums quarter at the onset of the Mariahilfer street. MuseumsQuartier Wien is one of the largest art and culture complexes in the world. With many courtyards, ­cafés, and shops throughout the complex it owns quality of being an urban living room and an oasis of recreation in the middle of the city. Historic buildings from the 18th and 19th century and contemporary museums form a unique architectural ensemble. In addition to its use as an art and creativity space, the MuseumsQuartier represents a living space for a variety of different purposes. About forty private apartments are integrated within the complex, and it also offers a comprehensive selection of services and recreational activities that invite visitors to make themselves at home. Food and drink in the MQ: Aloha, Café Leopold, CupCakes Wien, cafe-restaurant CORBACI (see Tip below), Café.Restaurant.HALLE, der KIOSK, DSCHUNGEL WIEN•CAFE•BAR, Glacis Beisl, Kantine.

List of Museums in the MQ quarter and described in the subordinate, below tips: Leopold Museum, The museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien (Mumok), Kunsthalle Wien, Tanzquartier Wien, Architekturzentrum Wien, Quartier21, ZOOM Children's Museum.

Entrance to the MQ from Mariahilfer Straße:

Alongside terrace cafés, bars, shops, and relaxation zones, the MQ courtyard furniture creates a comfortable environment for spending free time or meeting with friends. Incredible courtyards, which are really good fun.

Vienna - Museum of Fine Arts - Kunsthistorisches Museum: 7th heaven for art lovers

Ivana Simanek


Museum of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria. Main Building - Maria Theresien-Platz, A - 1010 Vienna.

Duration: At least a full-day activity. You need a whole day (if not more) to briefly cover all exhibits.

Weather: The best deal in Vienna in a rainy day.

Tips: The picture gallery is ALWAYS crowded. Other sections or wings of the museum are far more peaceful. Go as soon as it opens to avoid the larger crowds and the large tour groups. Backpacks are not permitted. Lockers are available (3 Euro) but it is best to travel light on the day you come here. You can buy the combination ticket, which allows you to see the Neue Burg Treasury at the same day,

Into the museum  - walk slowly to soak the beauty. You will be blown away by the marvelous setting, lighting and presentation. There are comfortable couches everywhere inside the museum and the visitor can rest tired limbs.

Be sure to stop at the cafe under the dome ! It is very good and offers a good selection of meals and snacks.

Transportation: Tram 1,2,52,58,D,J to Burgring.


One cannot go to Vienna and miss the Art History Museum. It rivals the best in London and Paris. There are no words to describe the place and its contents. One of the most eminent, reputative museums in the world. Just browsing the collections really doesn't do justice to the rarity and quality of the objects. Major art works of European painters : Raphael’s "Madonna in the Meadow," Velazquez's Infanta paintings, Vermeer’s "The Allegory of Painting". The picture gallery is huge and covers a wide range of important artists: Archimboldo, Caravaggio, Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Tintoretto and Tizian are, among others, housed in the paintings gallery. Ranked #1 of Vienna's attractions... Stunning collection of paintings. There are masterpieces in every room. Some real thought has gone into the presentation making each room quite different and engaging. Would take several days for art lovers to see it all.

The main building on Ringstrasse houses the Picture Gallery, the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection, the Coin Collection, and the Kunstkammer that was reopened in February 2012. Other collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum are housed in the Neue Burg (the Collection of Historical Musical Instruments, the Collection of Arms and Armour, and the Ephesus Museum), in Hofburg Palace (the Treasury), and in Schoenbrunn Palace (the Collection of Historical Carriages). The collections on show at Ambras Palace are also part of the holdings of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Vienna (Kunsthistorisches Museum) is also referred to as the Museum of Art History (KHM). It is housed in a palace on Ringstraße and crowned with an octagonal impressive dome. The museum's architecture alone is incredible. The building itself is a work of art before you even start looking at the paintings. It was opened around 1891 at the same time as its twin museum - the Museum of Nature History (Naturhistorisches Museum) by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary Empire. The two Ringstraße museums were commissioned by the Emperor in order to find a suitable shelter for the Habsburgs' formidable art collection and to make it accessible to the general public. The two museums have identical exteriors and face each other across Maria-Theresien-Platz. Both buildings were built between 1872 and 1891 according to plans drawn up by Gottfried Semper and Karl Freiherr von Hasenauer.  Construction work lasted 20 years, from when ground was first broken in 1871 to completion in the year 1891. The two façades were built of sandstone. The buildings are rectangular in shape, and topped with a dome that is 60 meters high. The insides of the two museums are decorated with multi-coloured marble, stucco ornaments, gold-leaf, and wealth of paintings.

The monumental structure was intended to both unite and appropriately represent the artistic treasures that had been collected by the Habsburgs over the centuries. Thanks to the acquisitions by and the patronage of the House of Habsburg, the Museum of fine Arts in Vienna has an unrivaled collection of old masters. The primary collections are from the portrait and weapons collections of Ferdinand of Tirol, the collections of Emperor Rudolph II and the collection of paintings of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm. There is the largest selection of works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

The collections range from Ancient Egyptian and Greek and Roman Antiquities to precious artworks from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque era. The main collections of the Fine Arts Museum are: Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection, Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities (fascinating treasures from mysterious cultures long past), Collection of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Coin Cabinet and a Library.

Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10.00 - 18.00, Thursday: 10.00 - 21.00.
September to May: Monday - closed.  Admission: adult - € 14.00, senior - € 11.00, student - € 11.00. Children and teens under 19 years have free entrance.  Your entry ticket entitels you to a one time entry to
the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna as well as to the collections in the Neue Burg located at Heldenplatz. Online tickets:[showItem]=200000000001132-T003-01

You enter the building from the open space between the two museums. WOW ! the moment you step into the museum, when you enter the grand interior that greets you:

Second Floor - Museum Interior:


Notable works in the picture gallery include:


Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) - Madonna of the Pear 1512:

                                                 -  Emperor Maximilian I:

                                                 - Portrait of a Young Venetian Woman, 1505:

                                                 - The Painter's Father, 1497:

Giuseppe Arcimboldo -  Summer (1563):

Barthel Beham (1502-1540) - Woman with a Parrot:

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525 – 9 September 1569) - The Peasant Wedding, 1568–69:

                                                         - The Peasant Dance (1568/69):

                                                          - Children's Games 1560. 230 children playing 86 different types of games:

                                                  - The Hunters in the Snow (Dec.-Jan.) (1565):

                                              - The Tower of Babel 1563:

                                                  - Conversion of Paul 1567:

                                                - Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap, 1565. This picture has approx. 100 version (all original). The winter of 1564-1565 was extremely harsh. The trap is in the bottom right:

                                              - The Fight Between Carnival and Lent , (1559):

                                                   - The Gloomy Day, (1565):

                                                           - The Return of the Herd, (1565):

                                                     - The Peasant and the Nest Robber, 1568:

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio - Madonna of the Rosary,  (1606/07):

                                                                  - The Crowning with Thorns:

                                                           - David with the Head of Goliath, 1610:

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) - Paradise:

                                              - Adam and Eve. c.1530:

                                               - The Fall of Adam and Eve. c.1530:

                                               - Judith with the Head of Holofernes. c.1530:

                                                         - Man figure:


Dirk de Quade van Ravesteyn - Resting Venus (Ruhende Venus - 1672:

Anton van Dyck (1599-1641) - Samson and Delilah 1628 - 1630. Note the double-faced look of love and hate at their faces of Samson and Delilah:

                                                       - Lamentation of Christ:

                                                    - Head of a woman looking up:

Jan van Eyck - Portrait of Cardinal Niccolò Albergati,  (c. 1431):

                       - Portrait of Jan de Leeuw, 1436:

Jan Fabre (B. Antwerp, 1958) - Ink 1988:

Hans Holbein the Younger - Jane Seymour, ca. 1536–1537:

                                                       - Portrait of John Chambers, 1543.

In year 1536 Holbein joined the royal court of the king:

                                                      - Portrait of young man, 1541:

Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627-78) - Man at a Window, 1653:

Jordaens, Hans III (1595-1643) - "Kunstkammer" - an art gallery:

Ludger Tom Ring The Younger - self portrait, 1547:

Bartolomeo Manfredi - Cain Kills Abel, c. 1600:

Jan Massys (1509 - 1575) - Peasants Feast:

Francesco Mazzola, called Parmigianino - Young man with a book, 1525:

Raphael - Madonna of the Meadow , (1506):

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (15 July 1606– 4 October 1669) - self-portrait:

Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640) - Ansegisel and his wife St. Begga, 1612/1615:

                                                          - The Triptych of St. Ildefonso Altar. Ruben'sd ability to connect between religious subjects and sensual expression:

                                                           - Autoportrait 1638 - 1640:

                                                           - The Fur ("Het Pelsken") 1638:

                                                        - The Feast of Venus 1636-7. A tribute to his teacher Tizian who painted a picture of the same subject:

Jakob Seisenegger - Portrait of Archduchess Eleonora of Mantua (daughter of Ferdinand I king of Spain), 1536:

Jacopo Robusti, called Tintoretto - Man with a White Beard, 1570 - 1578:

Titian - Violante, c. 1515–1516:

                                                       - Portrait of Pope Paul III, 1543 or 1546:

                                                         - Diana, 1554:

Diego Velázquez - Felipe IV, 1632:

                           - Isabel de Borbón 1632:

                       - El príncipe Baltasar Carlos 1639:

- Portrait of the Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain 1651–1653:

                                                              - La infanta Margarita 1653:

                                                               - La infanta Margarita 1656:

                                         - Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress 1659:

Johannes Vermeer - The Art of Painting, also known as The Allegory of Painting, or Painter in his Studio, is a 17th-century oil on canvas, 1665 - 1668:

Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari), 1528-1588 - Judith with the Head of Holofernes (1575 - 1580):

Some interesting Egyptian coffins and an informative videos scrolling in a corner of the Egyptian section which details the mapping of the tombs:

Statue of a priest from ancient Egypt:

Head of a pharaoh from ancient Egypt:

Four-headed Sphinx:

Do not miss the antiquities on the lower floor the Greek and Roman displays are second to none. There is a wonderful Greek funeral scroll,

Greek Art - Woman with maid , 3rd Century BC:

- Enthroned Goddess, beginning of the 5th century BC:

Fragment from the north frieze of the Parthenon, Old Men, 442-438 BC.:

Ancient Greek statues:

Hellenistic Art - Aristotle, 1st - 2nd century AD, after Greek original of the 4th century BC:

The Roman busts are beautifully displayed with each on a column with individual lighting, such an atmospheric display:

Bust of the Ancient Roman Consul Eutropius:

Marc Aurel:

Traian Ceasar:

Double-sided mask Relief:

Don't miss the Klimt works above the stairs. You can you see frescoes by Gustav Klimt  (1862 - 1918) as a part of a museum’s interior décor: