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If you’re travelling to Vienna, and want to visit Schonbrunn Palace, one of the city’s top sights, here are some fun Schonbrunn Palace facts you might want to know.
Some might say the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa was a battle axe. Then again, she abolished serfdom, ruled Austria, Hungary and Bohemia for 40 years (1740 to 1780) and fought fiercely to keep her crown, so let’s cut her some slack.
And while we’re at it, let’s think about why men are never called battle axes. And let’s think about what a battle axe really is: powerful, intimidating and brutally effective. So feel free to call me a battle axe anytime.
Now let’s get back to Wandering Carol tours Vienna and the 9 titillating Schonbrunn Palace facts below.
Maria Theresa’s soft side
In addition to ruling the Habsburg Empire with nerves of steel, Maria Theresa had a soft spot. That soft spot was Schonbrunn Palace, or Schloss Schönbrunn.
In 1743 she undertook the task of completing the unfinished Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. And once it was finished, her next pet project was to renovate Schonbrunn Palace. Over and over again.
This took forever and cost piles of money but Maria Theresa obviously did a bang up job because today Schonbrunn Palace is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and the most visited attraction in Austria.
And if everyone else who tours Vienna is going to the palace, so should you. Here are some titillating Schonbrunn Palace facts to show you why. (Well, maybe they’re not all that titillating but I did my best.)
Titillating Schonbrunn Palace Facts: #1 – The Room of Millions
The Room of Millions, dripping tip to toe in priceless Indian and Persian miniatures, is one of the finest examples of the Rococo style known to mankind.
Titillating Schonbrunn Palace Facts: #2 – The Blue Chinese Salon
The Blue Chinese Salon is where, with one sad flourish, Emperor Charles I signed his abdication in 1918, ending 640 years of Habsburg rule in Austria and sounding the death knell of the monarchy.
Possibly Titillating Schonbrunn Palace Facts: #3 – The Maze of Schonbrunn
On a happier note, you can follow the footsteps, literally, of the Imperial family by strolling (or lost) in the Maze at Schonbrunn, a geometric maze that dates back to 1698 and was restored to its former hedge-y glory in 1908.
You can also watch others get lost in the Maze at Schonbrunn by standing on a special lookout platform created just for this reason.
Titillating Schonbrunn Palace Facts: #4 – The Great Gallery
In the Great Gallery, under the sumptuous Italian ceiling frescos, John F. Kennedy had a legendary meeting with the Russian head of state Nikita Khrushchev. (Admittedly it would be more titillating if Kennedy had met Marilyn Monroe here but I can’t just make things up. Still, this was the Cold War. This was EPIC.)
Titillating Schonbrunn Palace Facts: #5 – Napoleon
Napoleon slept here. In the Napoleon room. Really.
Titillating Schonbrunn Palace Facts: #6 – The Palm House
With 45,000 panes of glass, the Palm House in Schonbrunn’s Palace Park is the largest palm house on the European continent. (Don’t know what a palm house is? Don’t worry. I didn’t either. It’s a greenhouse.)
Titillating Schonbrunn Palace Facts: #7 – The Marie Antoinette Room
You can visit the Marie Antoinette Room, which is actually a dining room. It was named after Marie Antoinette because of a tapestry of her and her children that once hung here. It was a gift from Napoleon III.
And if anyone ever wants to know what to get me for my birthday, a 19th century tapestry of Marie Antoinette will do nicely.
Titillating Schonbrunn Palace Facts: #8 – Imperial Coach Collection
You can trace the tracks of the Empress Sisi, the Lady Di of the 19th century, though her carriages.
If you have Sisimania and are fascinated by the life of this tragic beautiful empress (who did not rule with an iron fist and has never been called a battle axe), you can trace her life through the carriages in the Imperial Coach Collection, which, in my humble opinion, is a unique way to explore someone’s life. You will see:
- The carriage Sisi rode in as an imperial bride
- The golden carriage she was driven to her coronation in
- The carriage Sisi rode in just before being assassinated in Geneva
- Saddest of all, the hearse that carried her to her grave
Last of the Titillating Schonbrunn Palace Facts: #9 – The Hall of Mirrors
In the Hall of Mirrors, six-year old Mozart gave a concert for Empress Maria Theresa and her family. It was the beginning of his meteoric rise and I’m sure it was titillating, especially for him.
Travel Guide for Schonbrunn Palace
Where is Schonbrunn Palace? The palace and its extensive gardens are in the west of Vienna in the suburb of Hietzing.
How to get to Schonbrunn Palace:
- By underground. The U4 to Schonbrunn Station
- By tram. Either 10 or 58 to Schonbrunn Station
- By Bus 10A to Schonbrunn Station
Schonbrunn Palace hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. (5 p.m. from November to March and 6.30 p.m. during July and August)
Schonbrunn Palace Park hours: 6.30 a.m. until dusk
How to tour Schonbrunn Palace: You have two choices of Schonbrunn tours, the Imperial Tour and the more comprehensive Grand Tour.
The Imperial Tour covers 22 rooms including the private apartments of Franz Joseph and Sisi. Tours are 30 to 40 minutes and cost €12,90 adult, €9,50 children.
The Grand Tour shows you more of the 18th-century interiors of the era of Maria Theresa. The hour-long tour covers 40 rooms and costs €15,90 adult, €10,50 children.
For more info on Vienna visit Vienna.info.
Read more about Europe and top places to visit.
Ah, I’ll never forget the candied violets at Demel, NYC Style Cannoli.
NYC Style Cannoli (@nycstylecannoli)
Gorgeous post I hope to see Vienna one day and see the great cafe’s as well such as Demel !
Hey, Janice and George, Thanks for writing. I’m going to check out your Dresden article right now.
Janice & George (@SandInSuitcase)
The Schonbrunn Palace looks like quite the stunner! Those aristocratic folk must have loved their mirrors – there’s a similar mirrored room to the Schonbrunn’s Hall of Mirrors in the Royal Palace in Dresden, Germany (filled with treasures), which we recently wrote about on our blog.
A Taste for Travel
I just wrote about Uniqorld’s newest river ship the Maria Theresa so it’s great to learn more about its inspiration. Stunning!
You had me at rococo, Carol! What stunning rooms and history. Touring Schonbrunn Palace in person would be an extraordinary experience. Sensory overload ++