Belvedere Palace, Vienna

Big on Baroque?

Vienna not only eagerly adopted pizza and espresso from Italy – Baroque architecture is another famous Italian import. Unashamed opulence and sweeping curves are the defining characteristics of this era, which dawned in Vienna with the counter reformation around 1600 and reached its peak in the eighteenth century with a late-Baroque building boom. Everyone in the imperial capital who was anyone commissioned the leading architects of the day to build palaces, mansions and churches for them. The services of Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt and Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach were in particularly high demand. The former started work on Prince Eugene’s Upper Belvedere Palace in 1717, a hilltop monument to prosperity that has lost nothing of its majesty over the centuries. The Upper Belvedere palace, gardens and Lower Belvedere – as well as the palace’s world-famous Klimt collection – form a Baroque Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art.

Vienna’s best-known Baroque church was commissioned by Karl VI. Commonly referred to as the Baroque Emperor, Maria Theresa’s father built the Karlskirche (Church of St. Charles) from 1716 to thank divine providence for delivering the city from the plague. Contrary to most assumptions, the place of worship takes its name from a different Charles, Charles Borromeo, the saint famed for his work during the plague. The ceiling paintings by Johann Michael Rottmayr are definitely worth a look, and thanks to the panorama lift visitors can inspect them up close. It took more than 20 years to complete the church, which like so many other Baroque edifices in the capital, was a monument to the Habsburg’s secular and spiritual clout. Not only did they successfully stem the tide of Protestantism, they also broke the Turkish siege in the 1683 Battle of Vienna.

From chicken run to the MuseumsQuartier

Karl VI also commissioned the construction of a Baroque stable complex near the Hofburg in 1713. The imperial poultry farmstead was singled out to make way for the new development, which would accommodate 600 horses and 200 carriages. Now free of horses and without a chicken in sight, it has been given a new lease on life as the Museums-Quartier, one of the world’s largest arts and culture complexes, and home to Klimt, Schiele, Warhol and comfy outdoor furnishings. The Leopold Museum, mumok, Kunst-halle Wien and Architektur-zentrum Wien share the space with bars and chillout zones.

But the Spanish Riding School is still the home of haute école horsemanship to this day. Performances by the world-famous Lippizaner stallions are hosted in the Baroque winter riding school (1729-1735). And the opulent Grand Hall of the Austrian National Library (1723-1726) contains books from the former court library and Prince Eugene’s private collection.

Baroque city residences

Prince Eugene kept his extensive repository of books in his city residence, the Baroque Winter Palace, which dates back to 1696. Today it is the setting for contemporary art. The state rooms and the grand staircase have been returned to their original glory with an abundance of velvet, stucco and gold.

But when it comes to opulence, the Liechtenstein City Palace wins hands down. Started in 1691, it is prized as the capital’s oldest major example of high Baroque architecture. The property was fully renovated a few years ago for an eye-watering 100 million euros. The two upper floors of the building contain one of the most impressive Baroque grand staircases to be found in Vienna. Finished in the Neo-Rococo style, the state rooms feature parquet flooring from Thonet and heavy chandeliers that have lost nothing of their luster. Princess Nora Fugger wrote in her autobiography (published in 1932): “For beauty and grandiosity, the palace is unmatched in the whole of Europe.” Which would not have been music to the Italians’ ears.

Text: Robert Seydel

Videos

Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere)

Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27 , 1030 Wien
  • Prices

  • Accessibility

    • Car parks Main entrance
      • Parking spaces for people with disabilities
        Parking space for visitors with disabilities in front of the entrance at Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, Parking: 10 am – 6 pm
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Reduced admission for persons with disabilities and their escorts (3 Euro each). Tours in Austrian sign language, "seeing differently" (tactile tours) for the blind and visually impaired in groups are possible in the Upper and Lower Belvedere.

    • Comments

      People with visual impairments can be collected from the nearest tram station. Please provide information on this when making arrangement. Trained seeing-eye dogs (with ID) may be taken into all areas of the collection. A wheelchair is available at the cloakroom for visitors who have difficulty walking. Some seating is also available in the exhibition rooms or will be provided during the tours.

Winter Palace

Himmelpfortgasse 4-8, 1010 Wien

Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule)

Michaelerplatz 1 (Besucherzentrum), 1010 Wien
  • Prices

    • Combination ticket "The Treasures of the Emperor" (treasury and morning work at the Spanish Riding School): €22.00
    • Your benefit with the Vienna Card: 13/20% off
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • (Double swinging doors   160  cm  wide )
      • Ramp 100  cm  long , 40  cm  high
    • Car parks Main entrance
      • Parking spaces for people with disabilities
        in the Inner Courtyard
    • Further information
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Guided tour for the visually impaired on request.
      Wheelchair seats for the morning exercise and the tours by request.
      Program information, prices and availability on request.

MuseumsQuartier Vienna

Museumsplatz 1 , 1070 Wien
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps
    • Car parks Main entrance
      • 10 Parking spaces for people with disabilities
    • Elevator available
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Wheelchair service in the MQ-Point by the main entrance: daily 10 am – 7 pm free rental (form of ID left as a deposit). Inductive audio systems in the auditoriums (Hall E + G).

    • Comments

      Access to all MuseumsQuartier institutions: no steps. All public elevators are suitable for wheelchairs. 6 free parking spaces for visitors with special needs on the premises (access: Burggasse / Volkstheater) with proper identification and 4 parking spaces for visitors with special needs in the parking garage (basement level 2 next to elevator, access: main entrance Museumsplatz).

St. Charles' Church (Karlskirche)

Karlsplatz , 1040 Wien
  • Prices

    • Adults   €8,00
    • Erhaltungsbeitrag, inkl. Lift
    • Your benefit with the Vienna Card: 50% off
  • Opening times

    • Mo - Sa, 09:00 - 12:30
    • Mo - Sa, 13:00 - 18:00
    • Su, 12:00 - 17:45
    • on holidays, 12:00 - 17:45
    • last cupola ride with the elevator at 5:30 p.m.
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • 14 Steps ( Door  300  cm  wide )
        Heavy wooden door
    • Side entrance
      • 13 Steps
        2 tracks over the steps, wooden door
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Visitors with ID for persons with special needs: free entry and elevator to the panorama.

    • Comments

      Interior: 11 steps. Ask staff for assistance.

Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek)

Josefsplatz 1 , 1010 Wien
  • Prices

  • Opening times

    • Tu - Su, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Th, 10:00 - 21:00
    • Open daily from June to September
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps
    • Elevator available
      • 122 cm wide and 130 cm low , Door 90 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Guided tours for visitors with disabilities and special needs on prior arrangement.

    • Comments

      Main entrance on first floor and access to Grand Hall on second floor: entrance Josefsplatz.

Stadtpalais Liechtenstein

Bankgasse 9, 1010 Wien
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • 5 Steps (Double swinging doors   155  cm  wide )
    • Side entrance
      • no steps (Double swinging doors 155 cm wide )
    • Elevator available
      • 157 cm wide and 140 cm low , Door 90 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Comments

      Wheelchair, stairlift, mobile stairlift available (please notify requirements in advance, if possible).

 

Teilen, bewerten und Feedback
Rate this article
Recommend article

Please complete all the mandatory fields marked with *.
The data and email addresses you provide will not be saved or used for other purposes.

From
to
Feedback to the vienna.info editorial team

Please complete all the mandatory fields marked with *.

Title *
Title