Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sites : Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) Vienna

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Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn)

A Unesco Heritage Site
Vienna, Austria - October 2015
Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) did not start off as a palace; instead it had an interesting start - it was grounds acquired for hunting game! Although there was already a mansion existing there then, it was no where near the splendour of the present palace. (above photo shows palace building viewed from the rear)

The large grounds were purchased by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillan II in 1569, who had it fenced up and stocked up with game for hunting by the royalty. The above photo, taken from the hill at the back shows how large the grounds is, the large front compound is hidden by the main palace building.

(Front view of palace)
It remained as a hunting ground for a century until it was bequeathed to Eleonora Gonzaga, the widow Ferdinand II. who added a palace to the existing Katterburg mansion. The palace in its present form was built and remodelled in 1740-50s during the reign of empress Maria Theresa.

Coloured plan of Schönbrunn Palace.
The Baroque designed palace building proper with 1,441 rooms by itself looks very impressive, yet its is dwarfed by the extent of the large grounds. The above plan shows how big the grounds are, the palace building proper is the one in red marked B & C on the above plan. There is even a zoo and a labyrinth in the gardens.

To better understand the plan here's part of the map legend.

The other part of the map legend.

A perspective 3-D plan gives a good visualization of the palace and it's grounds.

Fountain at the entrance compound.
Schönbrunn (meaning "beautiful spring"), has its roots in an artesian well from which water was consumed by the court. There are many fountains and pools within the grounds, one of which must be the original well.

Even before entering the palace grounds, on the opposite side of the road is a small compound with a couple of Lady Sphinx statues. In Egyptian mythology, the sphinx has a head of a man with a lion's body. In Austria, I noticed several lady sphinx; these have their roots Greek mythology. 

Even though over-shadowed by the gardens, the entrance compound (with a size of several acres) by itself is already quite large. At the centre of the entrance two tall columns shoot up, each with a golden eagle atop

The central section of the main palace (viewed from the rear), right at the top is the coat-of-arms of the House of Habsburg. Two stairs lead up to a large verandah.

The main entrance door lies below the verandah; visitors don't use this door but a side entrance.

An view of the visitors' indoor reception area, I was more keen on viewing the grounds so did not explore the interiors.

A peep out into one of the side gardens gave an anticipation of what to expect.

The palace grounds and gardens - called the palace park - is very large. It extends 1.2 km. from east to west and about 1 km. from north to south. For visitors who don't feel like walking that much, paid horse carriages are available. These may not cover the whole park, so some walking is still required.

A view of the rear garden, at the far end is Neptune's Fountain; and up on the hill is an impressive glorietteSchönbrunn's gloriette is perhaps the most renown gloriette.

The gravel tracks leading through the east gardens. Most of the tracks here are gravel covered, maintained that way from it's original form when horse riding was rampant.

On another side a vine-covered archway leads visitors onwards.

Short of time, I made my way to the West Gardens before proceeding to the larger rear park.

Within the garden are a couple of this pavilions, a bride could be seen being prepared for some wedding photos. The beauty of the park is very suitable for this.

Other than trees, flowered gardens abound. At the front of this one are tall hedges that forms a maze.

The beautiful bride was now ready and sportingly posed for me.

I spent some more time relaxing at the West Garden and then proceeded to the rear park. From the centre Neptune's Fountain can be seen more clearly and the gloriette stands imposingly above. As can be seen, it's a bit of a climb to get up there.

A close up view of Neptune's Fountain, with the sea god standing tall surrounded by admirers.

A view of the rear park from the top of Neptune's Fountain.

The gloriette atop Schönbrunn's hill, reflected onto the pond in front. The rear park extends beyond this.

Schönbrunn Palace have many statues - up lining the palace building roof, within it's gardens and inside too. Here I post photos of some of these statues while trying to recognise them, I hope I got it right.

One of the two golden eagles that sit on top the tall entrance columns.

Ebony stone statue of Hercules defeating the Nemean Lion (situated within the palace).

Sculpted flowery pot in one of the gardens.

The following are some of the statues that lined the walkways of the rear park:


Jason with the Golden Fleece.

Lion head vase sculpture at the side of Neptune's Fountain.

A plastic 3-D rendering of the palace and its park.

A bronze sculpture of the main palace and the buildings surrounding the courtyard.

The palace building viewed from the gloriette platform.

SCHONBRUNN PALACE (Schloss Schönbrunn)
Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria.
Tel: +43-181113239
Website: schoenbrunn.at     | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/schloss.schoenbrunn/

Opening Hours:
1st April to 30th June & 1st September to 31st Octomber : 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
1st July to 31st August : 8:30 am - 6:30 pm
1st November t0 31st March : 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

GPS: 48.204695, 16.368174
(Click here for Google Street View)

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1 comment:

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