you go on a trip to Austria, you certainly have to visit the world-famous
Schonbrunn Palace and Park – one of the most significant cultural monuments
ever built. Simply take a look at Schonbrunn’s exquisite gardens, taking
up an area of 197 acres, and you will discover an impressive combination
of flower arrangements and architectural features, a product of the ambition
of great architects and of human aspiration to beauty and harmony.
a game park, the estate came into Habsburg possession through Maximilian
II in 1569. Maximilian II expanded the park area and transformed it into
an imposing residence, which housed the families of the Habsburg rulers
and their successors for decades ahead. In 1612, the name of the estate
was changed from Katterburg to Schonbrunn. The story goes that during one
of his hunting trips, Emperor Matthias came across a “Schöner Brunnen”
(the German for beautiful spring) which gave the name of the castle.
it was during Maria Theresa’s reign (1740-1780) when Schonbrunn acquired
its modern appearance, as we see it today. It is said that Maria Theresa
had a special fondness for the palace and its gardens which definitely
influenced the construction of this masterpiece. Since our interest is
pointed towards parks and gardens, let’s concentrate on the history and
design of Schonbrunn’s majestic green areas. The process of building of
the park can be divided in four main stages:
three architectural elements are the most impressive ones in the park of
Schonbrunn. On a hill behind the palace stands the Gloriette, a triumphal
arch which consists of a central section and two lateral wings. A spiral
staircase leads the visitor to a twenty-meter-high platform which offers
a panoramic view of the park and the surroundings.
of the original game park (during Maximilian II’s reign)
of an artificial park after the French Baroque model (done by Jean Trehet
and design by the architects Nicolaus Jadot and Adrian von Steckhoven
(1753-1775): flowerbeds, trimmed trees, plants, alleys, etc.
and introduction of new elements by Ferdinand von Hohenberg (1775-1780)
such as the Neptune Fountain, the Roman Ruin and the Gloriette
the foot of the hill is located the Neptune Fountain featuring the water
god Neptune holding his trident. Right next to him is a sculpture of Thetis
kneeling down and begging for a safe voyage of her son, Achilles, to Troy.
the Neptune Fountain is the monument of the Roman Ruin, a masterful imitation
of an ancient ruined place. Remnants of statues, unreadable inscriptions
and reeds around the pool nearby the monument create an authentic ruined
and abandoned site. It is believed that this place is Carthage – a town
on the north coast of Africa defeated by Rome. It is said that the Habsburgs
were so impressed by the power of the Roman Empire that they wanted to
have it symbolically re-created in their park.
talking about Schonbrunn, there is one thing we cannot miss – the Schonbrunn
Tiergarten. Built in 1751, it is the oldest zoo in the world that is still
operating and attracting millions of visitors each year.