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Belvedere Palace: Essential Facts You Need to Know

Belvedere Palace

If you have wanted to go to Europe and enjoy history, art, and beauty, then Belvedere Palace is the perfect place for you to pay a visit. Situated in Vienna, Austria, this beautiful Complex is one of the city’s main tourist attractions.

The place was built for Prince Eugene after he had defeated the ottoman empire’s invading Turkish armies. This, in turn, had given him enough to purchase lands and commission some of the best architectural gems of the country. One of those gems is the Belvedere Palace.

As mentioned, the Palace is a complex, which houses two Palace and a very elaborate garden, along with the palace stables, The Orangery, and many more things to do.

All You Need to Know About the Belvedere Palace

belvedere palace

Throughout humanity’s history, the Palace has been used several times by different people, different royals. It has been used as an Art gallery for royals and portraits and also as a museum.

It has also housed a significant person who played a key role in the first world war. The Belvedere Palace is also a key witness to many wars.

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Nowadays, the Palaces house some of the most magnificent Arts of the 19th and 20th centuries and medieval art exhibits. Belvedere is a haven for art lovers and history lovers alike.

The Construction

Soon after the construction of Stadtpalais had started in 1697, Prince Eugene he bought this piece of land with a summer palace and garden in mind. The construction on the Belvedere started sometime in 1712.

The main idea for the palace gardens and the palace complex itself was taken from the Chateau of Versailles. The elaborate Garden and the french Architect can be seen, but the unique Austrian Architecture is also found in the Palace’s construction.

The Lower Belvedere was the first to be constructed. The prince had chosen one of the most well known Austrian Baroque architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt. Hildebrant spent 10 years on this masterpiece.

Belvedere Palace

The Lower Belvedere Palace was completed in 1716. This Palace was the residence for the Prince. Though he had his own City Palace, this was his place for the summer.

The Lower Belvedere Palace houses a two-story marble hall designed to welcome Guests, which house a grand ceiling fresco. It also houses a Marble Gallery and The Grotesque Hall, along with a grand pavilion and finely preserved Paintings and Murals.

The Upper Belvedere palace completed construction in 1724. This Palace was built for the art and the grandeur showing all of Prince Eugene’s accomplishments in the war.

This palace is known as the Upper palace because it is built on higher ground than the Lower Belvedere. The Upper Belvedere Palace is a majestic Art piece itself, with all the grandeur meant to show Prince Eugene’s achievements.

Belvedere Palace

It houses the Ground floor hall, also known as the Sella Terrena. This was used for balls and to entertain guests. Along with that, the Upper Belvedere Palace houses another two-Story Marble Hall and Carolene Hall, which again has an amazing ceiling fresco. The paintings preserved add to the beauty of the Palace overall.

The Two Palaces are connected by a grand Garden, inspired by the Versailles Garden, which has been designed by Dominique Gerard, a Landscape gardener who had previously learned the art at the Versailles from its Garden designer.

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The garden has lots of Ponds and Marble and has trimmed and shaped Hedges along with patterned flat grass, built in a terrace landscape style. This is Reid in with Heildibrabdts terrace landscape and the symmetrical stairs and gravel paths pathways.

The Place also has Winter Palace, which again served as a residence for the prince in the winters, it has been used as a venue for art exhibitions, but sadly it has been closed now.

Other than that, the Palace Complex Has many features such as the Orangery and the Palace stable.

The Orangery was built for the Orange trees of the Palace compound.
The best feature about it was that the glass roof could be removed during the summer and attached back in the winter. It is a tiresome process compared to planting the trees all over again; it is much more efficient. Now the Orangery is used for an Exhibition of all medieval art and sculptures.

The Palace Stables were originally used for the horses of Prince Eugen, but again it is used as an art exhibition, with Medieval and gothic art. As strange it may seem, the Palace Stables houses some of the most beautiful pieces that Medieval art had to offer.

Click here to read more about planning a trip to Vienna, Austria!

The History of The Belvedere Palace

The Palace has a rich history from the First person to Inhabit it to the very last person to inhabit it. Along the line, it has witnessed many inhabitants, humans, and art.

The Belvedere Palace Complex was built by Prince Eugene, as we already know, and as such, he did reside there. Since he died without a will, the Palace was given to his niece, Princesses Maria Anna Victoria of Savoy. She did not want it, and Maria Theresa bought the Palace.

It was turned into an art gallery and was opened to the public in 1781, making it the first public museum.

There was also a Masked Ball hosted in the Belvedere Palace in 1770 to mark and celebrate the Imperial princess’s marriage, Marie Antonia, to the French Dauphin, who later came to be known as Louis XVI. Some 16,000 guests attended the Ball.

Later on, the Palace was used by the French royals who were trying to escape the raging french revolution, of which the most noticeable inhabitants were Marie Therese Charlotte, and Archduke Ferdinand also did inhabit the Palace for some time.

The palace lost its use as a residence and was used only as a museum until 1896 when the emperor Fraz Joseph I decided that it would be a good place for his nephew and heir apparent Franz Ferdinand. So, Franz Ferdinand did stay there, and it was from this place that he left for Sarajevo, where he was assassinated. This was what caused the first world war, and the Palace lost any residents.

After the first world war, The modern art gallery was opened in the orangery, and it was run as an art gallery and museum for the time being.

During the second world war, the Palace sustained much damage, especially the Lower and Upper Belvedere. Ther restorations started, but much like the restorations of many other monuments damaged during the second world war bombings, they were not up to par.

In Fact, the restoration done after the War had damaged the beautiful Palace even more than the war itself had.

The Present

Today, however, after many careful restorations are done, the museum, the Art galleries, and exhibitions are among the most visited tourist attractions of Vienna.

The Place houses the beauty of European art from medieval times to the more modern arts, from the 20th century. But also houses Native Austrian art and Sculpture, making truly apart from any other exhibitions you might witness.

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Some of the most famous works to look out for a while visiting the Belvedere palace are The Praising of The Name of Jesus, The Sacrifice of Iphigenia, both by Johann Michael Rottmayr. Along with this, you can find Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss and Paul Trogers Christ on the Mount of Olives.

These masterpieces and those of Vincent Van Gough, Hans Makrat, and Claude Monte, amongst many others.

Click here and find out more about the Belvedere Palace.

Fun things you can do

Moreover, there are several programs run by the palace in which you can help restore the art pieces and watch while the true masterpieces of medieval times are maintained and restored.

The Palace complex houses three gift shops, two in Lower Belvedere, and one in upper Belvedere. You can buy all types of souvenirs in these shops, especially art themed.

Other than that, it houses a snack area in the garden and the Places and a cafeteria for those who wish to spend the day at the Palace.

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Do not fret over the language. All the exhibits have English and German information, along with Special English tours and English tour guide audiobooks available for those who do not understand German.

Want to know more about things to do in Vienna. Click here to read a related article!

The Palace has seen much of the history of the world. From the rise of one Prince to the Fall of another Dynasty. It has seen the World at war twice, once it played a key role, and the second time around, it was a victim of war. It has been witness to art worldwide, be it medieval or modern, Austrian or gothic European.

A Palace Complex with two palaces, and grand Garden, and much more to see, one can truly enjoy oneself here. Be sure to visit the Belvedere Palace if you visit Vienna; no, a tour of Vienna can ever be complete without a tour of the Belvedere Palace.

Afaf Siddiqui

Written by Afaf Siddiqui

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