The Hapsburgs and Vienna – A Photoblog

Front view of Hofburg Palace with a horse buggy passing in front of it.
Front view of Hofburg Palace with a horse buggy passing in front of it. Image: 360onhistory.com
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The House of Hapsburg, an initially nondescript family from the mountains of Switzerland, rose up to become rulers of the Austro-Hungarian and Spanish Empires, and of various other parts of Europe for 700 years. They made Vienna their seat of power from the 13th century onwards. This is a photoblog on their presence in Vienna.

(Read about or watch video of the history of the Hapsburgs)

 

Hofburg Palace

The Hofburg is a former principal imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty in Austria, located in the centre of Vienna. It was built in the 13th century and expanded several times afterwards. It historically served as the imperial winter residence because Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence of the Hapsburgs. Since 1946, it is the official residence and workplace of the president of Austria. The palace complex faces the Heldenplatz (Heroes’ Square) that was ordered under the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph 1.

 

The semi circle of the Hofburg Palace from the front.

Hofburg Palace. Image by 350onhistory.com

 

View of the Hofburg palace from the side. Image by 360onhistory.com

View of the Hofburg palace from the side

Front facade of Hofburg Palace. The door is surrounded by columns with green statues at the top. The roof has a golden eagle with wings spread. Image by 360onhistory.com

Hofburg Palace front facade. Image: 360onhistory.com

The main gates of the Hofburg Palace. Image: 360onhistory.com

Gates of Hofburg Palace. Image: 360onhistory.com

Side building of Hofburg Palace with Hofburg written on it.

Hofburg Palace. Image: 360onhistory.com

Front view of Hofburg Palace.

Front view of Hofburg Palace. Image: 360onhistory.com

Front view of Hofburg Palace with a horse buggy passing in front of it.

Front view of Hofburg Palace with a horse buggy passing in front of it. Image: 360onhistory.com

 

It has been the seat of government since 1279 and has been expanded over the centuries to include various residences (with the Amalienburg and the Albertina), the imperial chapel (Hofkapelle or Burgkapelle), the imperial library (Hofbibliothek), the treasury (Schatzkammer), the Burgtheater, the Spanish Riding School (Hofreitschule), the imperial mews (Stallburg and Hofstallungen).

 

Hofburg Vienna, St Michael entrance. It has a green dome with gold work on it.

Hofburg Vienna, St Michael entrance. Image: 360onhistory.com

St, Michael Entrance, Hofburg Vienna, entrance. Image: 360onhistory.com

Hofburg Vienna, St Michael entrance. Image: 360onhistory.com

Copper statue that has turned green on Emperor Franz Joseph 1 on marble plinth.

Emperor Franz Joseph 1. Images: 360onhistory.com

A walkway inside the Horfburg Palace, Vienna

A walkway inside the Horfburg Palace, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

A painted ceiling inside the St Michael Entrance of Hofburg Palace.

A painted ceiling inside the St Michael Entrance of Hofburg Palace. Image: 360onhistory.com

Statue of Emperor Franz 1 at Amalienburg, Hofburg Palace.

Statue of Emperor Franz 1 at Amalienburg, Hofburg Palace. Image: 360onhistory

A walkway inside the Horfburg Palace, Vienna

A walkway inside the Horfburg Palace, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Domed ceiling inside St Michael Gate of Hofburg Palace.

Domed ceiling inside St Michael Gate of Hofburg Palace. Image: 360onhistory.com

Statues inside St Michael Entrance, Hofburg Palace, Vienna

Statues inside St Michael Entrance, Hofburg Palace, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

 

St Stephen’s Cathedral

Rising from the heart of Vienna, St. Stephen’s Cathedral reigns supreme as both the city’s religious anchor and its most cherished symbol. Its soaring presence, a blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles, tells tales of a rich past. Built upon the foundations of earlier churches, it witnessed history unfold from Duke Rudolf IV’s vision in the 14th century to the Habsburg dynasty’s rise and fall.

 

Sideview from outside of St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

Sideview from outside of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory

St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, side view

St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. Image; 360onhistory.com

 

Within its hallowed halls, faith and art intertwine. Sunlight dances through stained glass windows, illuminating stories of saints and sinners. Vaulted ceilings whisper prayers echoed throughout centuries. Outside, its iconic multicolored tiled roof, depicting Austria’s coat of arms, paints a vibrant tapestry against the sky.

Beyond its architectural glory, St. Stephen’s Cathedral embodies the soul of Vienna. It has stood through times of triumph and turmoil, offering solace and hope to generations. More than just a landmark, it is a timeless treasure, a testament to the power of faith and beauty that continues to captivate hearts.

Ceiling of St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna showing gothic arches on the sides.

Ceiling of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory

The central walkway or nave of St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

The central walkway or nave of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

The Altar at St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

The Altar at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. Image; 360onhistory.com

The pulpit at St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory

The pulpit at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory

Wiener Neustädter Altar at St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

Wiener Neustädter Altar at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Organ at St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna.

Organ at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Organ at St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Organ at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

 

Belvedere Palaces

Rising amidst Vienna’s architectural tapestry, the Belvedere palaces once served as a luxurious summer retreat for Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736), a figure etched in the city’s triumphant past. Master architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt built the palaces in the early 18th century, blending the grandeur of the Upper and Lower Belvedere with the whimsical charm of the Orangery and Palace Stables. This Baroque masterpiece arose during a golden age for Vienna, then both the imperial crown jewel and seat of the Habsburgs. Prince Eugene’s decisive victories against the Ottoman Empire had ushered in this era of prosperity, leaving its mark not only on the battlefield but also on the city’s skyline.

 

Upper Belvedere Palace, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Upper Belvedere Palace, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Sideview of Upper Belvedere Palace, with two domes and a lawn in front.

Sideview of Upper Belevedere. Image: 360onhistory.com

Upper Belvedere Palace Building, Vienna.

Upper Belvedere Palace Building, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Front facade of Upper Belvedere Palace.

Front facade of Upper Belvedere Palace. Image: 360onhistory.com

Ornately painted ceiling inside the Belvedere Musuem

Ornately painted ceiling inside the Belvedere Musuem, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Ceiling and arches inside Belvedere Museum.

Ceiling and arches inside Belvedere Museum. Image: 360onhistory.com

Interior of Belvedere Museum, showing ceiling and columns with people milling around.

Interior of Belvedere Museum, showing ceiling and columns. Images: 360onhistory.com

Inside dome of Upper Belvedere Museum, Vienna

Inside Done of Upper Belvedere Museum, Vienna

Inside Done of Upper Belvedere Museum, Vienna

Inside Done of Upper Belvedere Museum, Vienna

Ceiling of Upper Belvedere, Vienna

Ceiling of Upper Belvedere, Vienna

Ceiling of Upper Belvedere, Vienna

Ceiling of Upper Belvedere, Vienna

The palace complex now houses the Belvedere museum, housing major art collections by famous artists such as Gustav Klimt. Klimt’s famous painting The Kiss is housed there.

The grounds of the palaces are set on a gentle gradient and include decorative tiered fountains and cascades, Baroque sculptures, and majestic wrought iron gates. The Belvedere Gardens were designed in the formal French manner with clipped hedges, gravelled walks and jeux d’eau by Dominique Girard.

 

Resplendent garden between Upper and Lower Belvedere. Lower Belvedere can be seen at the far end.

Resplendent garden between Upper and Lower Belvedere. Lower Belvedere can be seen at the far end. Image: 360onhistory.com

Patheway down to Lower Belevedere Palace from Upper Belvedere, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Patheway down to Lower Belevedere Palace from Upper Belvedere, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Pathway down to Lower Belvedere, viewed from the left side. The orange roofs of which can be seen. The path is surrounded by trees and people are milling around.

Pathway down to Lower Belevedere, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Lower Belvedere, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Lower Belvedere, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

 

Kunsthistorisches and the Natural History Museums

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is an art museum in Vienna on the Vienna Ring Road, and is crowned with an octagonal dome. The term Kunsthistorisches Museum applies to both the institution and the main building. It is the largest art museum in the country and one of the most important museums worldwide.

Emperor Franz Joseph I opened the facility around 1891 at the same time as the Natural History Museum which has a similar design and is directly across Maria-Theresien-Platz. The emperor commissioned the two Ringstraße museums between 1871 and 1891 to create a suitable home for the Habsburgs’ formidable art collection and to make it accessible to the general public. 

 

Kunsthistorisches Museum at night. Image: 360onhistory.com

Kunsthistorisches Museum at night. Image: 360onhistory.com

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria. Image: 360onhistory.com

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria. Image: 360onhistory.com

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria. Image: 360onhistory.com

 

Both Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Natural History Museum buildings are rectangular, with symmetrical Renaissance Revival façades of sandstone lined with large arched windows on the main levels and topped with an octagonal dome 60 metres (200 ft) high. The interiors of the museums are lavishly decorated with marble, stucco ornamentation, gold-leaf, and murals. The grand stairway features paintings by Gustav Klimt, Ernst Klimt, Franz Matsch, Hans Makart and Mihály Munkácsy and many others.

 

Natural History Museum, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Natural History Museum, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Natural History Museum, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Natural History Museum, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Maria Theresa Memorial at Maria-Theresien-Platz, Vienna.

Maria Theresa Memorial at Maria-Theresien-Platz, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Treasures of the Hapsburgs

The rare treasures that were compiled by the Imperial House of Habsburg over the course of centuries are housed at various museums in Vienna. Here are a few examples. The marble and other statues of Hapsburg emperors below, depict the distinctive Hapsburg jaw, lips and nose.

 

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt at the Belevedere Museum Vienna.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt at the Belevedere Museum Vienna. Image: 360onhistory

Death and the Maiden by Egon Schiel, housed at the Belvedere Musuem, Vienna

Death and the Maiden by Egon Schiel, housed at the Belvedere Musuem, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Winged Alterpiece, housed at the Belevedere Museum, Vienna.

Winged Alterpiece, housed at the Belevedere Museum, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Bust of Kaiser Leopold I. The distinctive Hapsburg lower jaw , lips and nose can be seen.

Bust of Kaiser Leopold I. The distinctive Hapsburg lower jaw , lips and nose can be seen. Image: 360onhistory.com

The Holy Roman Emperor and Hapsburg Emperor Leopold 1. Housed at Belvedere Museum, Vienna. He is on a horse.

The Holy Roman Emperor and Hapsburg Emperor Leopold 1. Housed at Belvedere Museum, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Various cut glass utensils, Kunstkammer Wien, KunsKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Various cut glass utensils, Kunstkammer Wien, KunsKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

Clocks at Kunsthistorisches Museum

Clocks at Kunsthistorisches Museum. Image: 360onhistory.com

Bust of Chrles II, the last Habsburg ruler of Spain. His distinctive lower jaw and chin can be seen.

Bust of Chrles II, the last Habsburg ruler of Spain. The distinctive Hapsburg lower jaw , chin and nose can be seen. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Image: 360onhistory.com

The golden Cellini Salt Celler, a part-enamelled gold table sculpture by Benvenuto Cellini.

The golden Cellini Salt Celler, a part-enamelled gold table sculpture by Benvenuto Cellini. Housed at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Image: 360onhistory.com

 

Hofburg Palace Video

 

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I am a Chartered Environmentalist from the Royal Society for the Environment, UK and co-owner of DoLocal Digital Marketing Agency Ltd, with a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University, an MBA in Finance, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics. I am passionate about science, history and environment and love to create content on these topics.

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