Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence located in Vienna, Austria.
It is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country.
Schönbrunn Palace is one of Europe’s most impressive Baroque palace complexes.
Schönbrunn Palace was designed by the architects Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and Nicolaus Pacassi.
The first construction phase from 1743 to 1749 was carried out in close collaboration with Nikolaus Pacassi, whose practical skills led to him taking a leading role in the project.
At the end of the seventeenth century Emperor Leopold I commissioned the Baroque architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, who had received his training in Rome, to design an imperial hunting lodge for his son, Crown Prince Joseph, later to become Emperor Joseph I.
Replacing the château de plaisance built on this site for the dowager empress Eleonora of Gonzaga in 1642, it was to grow into a palatial imperial residence.
From the 18th century to 1918, Schönbrunn was the residence of the Habsburg emperors.
This baroque complex has 1,441 room.
Over forty metres long and almost ten metres wide, the Great Gallery provided the ideal setting for court functions. From the mid-eighteenth century onwards, it was used for balls, receptions and as a banqueting hall.
With its magnificent white-and-gold Rococo décor and the crystal mirrors that give this room its name, the Mirrors Room is a typical example of a state room from the era of Maria Theresa. Young Mozart gave his very first concert at the age of six to Empress Maria Theresa in this room.
The Hall of Ceremonies served not only as the second or Large Antechamber to Emperor Franz Stephan’s apartments but also as a ceremonial hall for family celebrations such as christenings, name-days and birthdays, weddings of members of the court household who were of noble birth, and for court banquets.
The Yellow Salon is the first room in the apartments that face the gardens. It underwent several
refurbishments during the course of the palace’s history, eventually ending up decorated in the
Rococo Revival style of the second half of the nineteenth century.
The Walnut Room was furnished with the wooden panelling that gives it its name as an audience room for Joseph II around 1765, when he became co-regent with his mother, Maria Theresa.
The spectacular park around Schönbrunn Palace covers an area of 200 hectares (500 acres) and was laid out in the 18th century in Baroque style.
The sculpted garden space between the palace and the Sun Fountain is called the Great Parterre. It is lined with 32 sculptures, which represent deities and virtues.
Designed as the crowning element of the Great Parterre, and sited at the foot of the hill behind the palace is the Neptune Fountain, which was conceived as part of the overall design of the gardens and park commissioned by Maria Theresa in the 1770s.
The garden axis points towards a 60-meter-high (200 feet) hill, which since 1775 has been crowned by the Gloriette structure.
Originally known as the Ruin of Carthage, the Roman Ruin is a set of follies that was designed by the architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg and erected as an entirely new architectural feature in 1778.
The Palm House in the palace park was built in 1883, at the time it was the largest greenhouse in Europe and contains three sections in which numerous exotic plants are kept, along with hundreds of species of butterflies.
An inventory of the palace gardens in 1900 counted 25,000 orchids of 1,500 different species which held the record as the largest collection in Europe at that time.
The zoo inside the vast Schönbrunn park dates back to Francis I’s menagerie founded in 1752, making it the oldest zoo in the world. It is home to more than 750 species, as diverse as giant pandas, orangutans, Siberian tigers, African elephants, cheetahs, koalas, penguins, and Arctic wolves.
When the Habsburg Monarchy fell in 1918, the newly-founded Austrian Republic took control of the property and turned it into a museum.
After World War II, the palace served as offices for British military officers, before being turned into a museum once again in 1955.
A great deal has changed in Austria today, with the country now a republic, but Schonbrunn Palace has remained a place where high-level political meetings still occur.
UNESCO catalogued Schönbrunn Palace on the World Heritage List in 1996, together with its gardens, as a remarkable Baroque ensemble and example of synthesis of the arts.
Schönbrunn Palace is Austria’s most frequently visited tourist attraction with 2,600,000 visitors per
The name Schönbrunn (meaning “beautiful spring”), has its roots in an artesian well from which water was consumed by the court.
The palace was recently selected as the main motif of a high value commemorative coin: the Austrian 10-euro The Palace of Schönbrunn silver coin, minted on October 8, 2003.
The Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn is held every year.