On the trail of Emperor Franz Joseph in Vienna

Emperor Franz Joseph’s erstwhile private garden provides a great setting for an initial encounter with the great man. The Burggarten in Vienna’s old town contains a statue of the monarch in typical dress – in his case, military uniform. Originally unveiled in front of a barracks, it later took up residence in the park on the Ringstrasse boulevard in 1957. The statue now stands just a stone’s throw from the Hofburg, where he ruled over the Habsburg empire for 68 years. Franz Joseph lived in the complex during the winter, and the former Imperial Apartments are open to visitors. Highlights include his study, his wife Elisabeth’s drawing room and bedroom, various salons and a positively antediluvian bathroom. Also located in the Hofburg, the Imperial Treasuries is a trove of priceless items including Emperor Rudolf II’s crown, which would later be adopted as the Austrian coronation crown.

Each summer Franz Joseph relocated his entire operation to Schönbrunn Palace – where he was born (1830), spent his dotage and died (1916). Passionate about nature, he was particularly fond of the Schlosspark where he would take regular walks. As a child Franz Joseph would spend countless hours in the park with his brothers, and is reputed to have learned to swim in a pool behind the obelisk fountain. He also visited the zoo regularly. Schönbrunn Palace has 1,441 rooms, 45 of which are open to the public. The Emperor’s offices and private apartments are simple and unadorned, while the staterooms and guest apartments are the epitome of opulence. The Imperial Coach Collection at Schönbrunn Palace presents a huge range of examples of imperial transportation, from the larger-than-life imperial coach to more modest children’s sleighs.

Another related highlight, the Hofpavillon Hietzing can be found close to Schönbrunn Palace. Adorned with intricate Jugendstil (Austrian Art Nouveau) elements, the pavilion was actually a station designed by Otto Wagner for the Stadtbahn railway. Exclusively reserved for the monarch and his entourage, the imperial station building even contained a private study for the emperor. However, he only used his private station on a grand total of two occasions – today it is open to visitors. Anyone interested in finding out how the emperor really lived should head for the Imperial Furniture Collection. This unique museum contains furnishings from the royal and imperial households. The thousands of items covering some five centuries include an imperial travel throne and a prayer bench upholstered in velvet.

Other places with strong connections to the emperor include the Museum of Military History which puts painting and uniforms from the Emperor’s day on display in the Franz-Joseph-Saal, and the Votive Church which was built to thank God for saving the young Emperor’s life following a failed assassination attempt. Vienna’s Ringstrasse boulevard can also be seen as a symbol of his reign. In 1857 Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the fortifications surrounding Vienna’s city center to be demolished, and for a boulevard complete with showpiece buildings to be constructed on the grounds in front of the old walls and towers.

In-keeping with tradition, the “Old Man of Schönbrunn” was laid to rest in the Imperial Burial Vault, which is the final resting place of members of the Austrian Habsburg dynasty. Since 1633 a total of 149 Habsburgs, including 12 emperors and 19 empresses and queens, have been buried in the crypt beneath the Kapuzinerkirche (Church of the Capuchin Friars). Franz Joseph was the last of the emperors to be buried here. The sarcophaguses containing the remains of his spouse Empress Elisabeth and Crown Prince Rudolf are also in the chamber.

Kaiser Franz Josef-Statue

Burggarten, 1010 Wien

Imperial Apartments (Kaiserappartements)

Hofburg, 1010 Wien
  • Comments

    • Entrance via Kaisertor

  • Prices

  • Opening times

    • September to June
      Daily 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    • July to August
      Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Guided tour for children Sa - Su, 10:30 - 14:30
    • Guided tour for children on holidays, 10:30 - 14:30
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps
    • Elevator available
      • 135 cm wide and 140 cm low , Door 90 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Comments

      Access to the exhibition rooms: elevator to the 2nd floor, access to restaurant / café: 1 step.

      Number of steps (Imperial Apartments): 72

       

Imperial Treasury Vienna (Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien)

Hofburg, Schweizerhof, 1010 Wien
  • Prices

    • Visitors under 19: Free admission, Combination ticket "The Treasures of the Emperor" (treasury and morning work at the Spanish Riding School): €22.00
    • Your benefit with the Vienna Card: 1€ off
  • Opening times

    • We - Mo, 09:00 - 17:30
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps (Double swinging doors   200  cm  wide )
    • Elevator available
      • 110 cm wide and 140 cm low , Door 80 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Wheelchair rental (reserve at least one day ahead)

    • Comments

      Exhibition rooms: 20 steps and elevator.
      Old Spiritual Treasury (exhibition rooms of the treasuries next to the Hofburg chapel): Can only be reached from outside via steps.

Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn)

Schönbrunner Schlossstraße, 1130 Wien
  • Prices

  • Opening times

    • 01 April to 30 June
      Daily 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • 01 July to 31 August
      Daily 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • 01 September to 31 October
      Daily 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • 01 November to 31 March
      Daily 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps
    • Car parks Main entrance
      • Parking spaces for people with disabilities
        at main entrance portal (Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse, 3 parking spaces), Meidlinger Tor (2 parking spaces), close to Kavalierstrakt as well as Valerietrakt (2 parking spaces) and Fürstenstöckl (1 parking space)
    • Elevator available
      • 95 cm wide and 139 cm low , Door 90 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Free wheelchair rental – contact attendant at main portal (3 wheelchairs) or at Hietzinger Tor and at Meidlinger Tor (1 wheelchair each).
      Supplemental devices available for the visually impaired. Tours for visitors with with disabilities or special needs on request.
      Museum Sign Language Guide available in ÖGS and IS for the Imperial or Grand Tour, prior reservation recommended, further information:
      www.schoenbrunn.at/besucherinfo/audioguide/oegs-guide.html

    • Comments

      Access to all exhibition rooms: no steps. Freight elevator for extra wide wheelchairs: door width: 160 cm, cabin depth: 220 cm, cabin width: 156 cm.

       

Schönbrunn Zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn)

Schönbrunner Schlosspark; Eingang über Hietzinger Tor/Hietzinger Hauptstraße, 1130 Wien
  • Prices

  • Opening times

    • January
      Daily 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • February
      Daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • March
      Daily 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    • April to September
      Daily 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
    • October to the end of October
      Daily 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    • November to December
      Daily 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps (Swinging doors )
    • Car parks Main entrance
      • Parking spaces for people with disabilities
        at Elisabethallee, entrance Tirolerhof
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Tours for visitors with disabilities and special needs on request.

    • Comments

      Access to buildings and enclosures without steps or via ramp.

Imperial Carriage Museum Vienna (Kaiserliche Wagenburg Wien)

Schönbrunner Schlossstraße, 1130 Wien
  • Prices

  • Opening times

    • November to April
      Daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • May to October
      Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • 15 March - 29 November 2017: daily from 9.00 am - 5.00 pm
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • (Double swinging doors )
    • Comments

      Main entrance: steps (more than 3 cm), double doors (each 68 cm wide), entrance to the collection: double swinging doors, total width 130cm, exhibition area: flat floors, wheelchair-accessible. Second floor area reachable via steps (width 128 cm, 12 steps, landing, then 155 cm, 10 steps, handrail on both sides of the steps, 100 cm high). Restroom outside Coach Collection.

Otto Wagner's Court Pavillon (Hietzing) (Otto Wagner Hofpavillon Hietzing)

Schönbrunner Schloßstraße , 1130 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Sa - Su, 10:00 - 18:00
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • 2 Steps (Double swinging doors   156  cm  wide )
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Führungen auf Anfrage

    • Comments

      Blindenführhund gestattet

Hofmobiliendepot. Imperial Furniture Collection

Andreasgasse 7, 1070 Wien
  • Prices

    • Adults   €7,90
    • Your benefit with the Vienna Card: 11% off
  • Opening times

    • Tu - Su, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Guided tour Sa - Su, 15:00
    • Guided tour on holidays, 15:00
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps (Double swinging doors   180  cm  wide )
    • Elevator available
      • 90 cm wide and 160 cm low , Door 90 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Seeing-eye dogs permitted. Guided group tours for wheelchair users on request.

    • Comments

      All areas accessible via elevator. Elevator 3rd-5th floor.
      Lifting platform to the first floor: door width: 83 cm, cabin depth: 117 cm, cabin width: 75 cm. Access to the restaurant / café: no steps.

Museum of Military History (Heeresgeschichtliches Museum)

Arsenal, Objekt 1 , 1030 Wien
  • Prices

    • Adults   €5,10
    • Your benefit with the Vienna Card: 33% off
  • Opening times

    • daily, 09:00 - 17:00
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • 3 Steps
        Access via ramp
    • Side entrance
      • 2 Steps
        to Franz-Joseph Hall: 2 steps (ramp), elevator to upper floor
      • Ramp 119 cm wide
    • Car parks Main entrance
      • 4 Parking spaces for people with disabilities
    • Elevator available
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Comments

      Access to Tank Garden (Panzergarten) on ground floor.

Imperial Burial Vault (Kaisergruft)

Tegetthoffstraße 2, 1010 Wien
  • Prices

    • Adults   €5,50
    • Family   €12
    • Your benefit with the Vienna Card: 18% off
  • Opening times

    • Mo - Su, 10:00 - 18:00
    • Th, 09:00 - 18:00
    • 1 and 2 November: 10.00 am - 2.00 pm, 24 and 31 December: 10.00 am - 4.00 pm
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps (Automatic sliding doors   142  cm  wide )
    • Elevator available
      • 110 cm wide and 135 cm low , Door 90 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Comments

      Access to all exhibition rooms: no steps, except 3 steps to the tomb of emperor Franz Joseph and to the burial vault chapel.

      The touching of objects is not permitted due to reasons of preservation.

       

 

www.habsburger.net is an excellent source of information on the history and lives and times of the Habsburgs (in German and English).

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