Sights in Vienna
Schönbrunn Palace- No visit to Vienna is complete without a visit to Schönbrunn Palace. The Palace was built from 1697 to 1780 as a summer home for the Empress Maria Theresia, her family and the other Habsburgs rulers. Some of these include Franz Josef and his famous wife, Sisi, and Karl I, the last Emperor of Austria.
At the time the palace was built it was in the countryside near Vienna, In modern times Vienna has grown up to and around it. For most visitors staying in Vienna, you can take the underground metro from the city center out to the palace.
You approach the main building of the palace by walking through a large courtyard with two fountains. The name Schönbrunn means "beautiful fountain," and of course there are several of them on the grounds. The buildings on either side of the main building contain a theater, and a collection of over 130 royal carriages dating from 1690 to 1917.
Upon entering the main building, you purchase tickets. It is wise to know which parts of the building and grounds you want to see because there are individual tickets and combination tickets. Because of its popularity and the crowds in high season, you are given an entrance time when you purchase your ticket. This can often be 1 to 2 hours later, so you can use this time to see the gardens.
In the main building you need to choose from two options. The first includes the rooms relating to Franz Josef and Sisi and the second includes the rooms relating to Maria Theresa. Some of the highlights are as follows:
Ceremonial Hall- This hall includes the official portrait of Maria Theresia and also paintings depicting a young Mozart shortly after this musical wonder child arrived in Vienna.
The Million Room- The name of this room is derived from the thought that it cost one million gold coins to decorate it. The rosewood paneled walls have inset scenes from the 17th century Indian Empire. Also, in the room is a bust of Marie Antoinette. Marie was Maria's daughter and later became the queen of France, living in Versailles. Schönbrunn Palace is often compared to Versailles. This room was used when Maria Theresia held small audiences.
The State Gallery- This large banquet room was used to hold official dinners where over 100 people could be seated. Today it is used for concerts in the summer months and receptions hosted by the Federal Government.
While you are inside the palace you will have views out to the rear of the building. In the distance you will see the famous Neptune's Fountain. Further beyond and up a hill is the Gloriette. This memorial to the Imperial Army includes Roman arches and statues in remembrance of those who lost their lives for the Habsburg family. From here you also get wonderful views of Vienna.
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