A little outside the center of Vienna you find Schönbrunn Palace Vienna, the former imperial 1441 room Rococo summer residence of the successive Habsburg monarchs. Schönbrunn Palace Viennas one of the most important cultural monuments in the country and have since the 1960 been one of the major tourist attractions in Vienna.
The Palace was build as an extension on the Katterburg mansion and hunting ground in the years 1638 to 1643 and the Schönbrunn palace was born. When the monacy fell in 1918 the Austrian Republic became the owner of the palace, and preserved the buildings, rooms and chambers as an museum. During the years of Allied Occupation of Austria in the years after WWII, the palace served as offices for the British Military and the Allied Commission. Schönbrunn was catalogued on the world heritage list in 1996, together with the gardens.
The when you enter Schönbrunn courtyard, you can buy tickets to the museum on your left side. Be aware that you have to wait to enter, so buy your tickets first, and then enter the gardens behind the main building. The great parterre is the sculptured garden space between the palace and the Sun Fountain, with 32 different sculptures representing deities and virtues. The french garden, which is a big part of the area was planned in 1695, and contains amongst other things a maze.
The Gloriette on top of the 60 meters high hill glorifies the Habsburg power and the Just War. It is build by demolished materials from another castle Schloss Neugebäude. From the Gloriette you have some very impressive views over the Palace and the city of Vienna. you can also have a small break here, in the cafe, after the walk up the steep hill.
The demolished materials was also used for building a set of follies, the Roman Ruin, which was erected in 1778, as a fully integrated part in the parkland. In the park you also find a small zoo and the orangery.
Schönbrunn is the most popular tourist destination, with over 2,6 millions visitors in 2010 to the Palace and over 5 million to the entire complex; Tiergarten, Palmenhaus, Würstenhaus and Wagenburg.
The Schönbrunn is certainly worth a visit and on a beautiful summer day as we had, the park is so stunning, and you can spend several hours here. The inside of the palace is also very beautiful, but you should be aware that there is very crowed inside, and you will be walking in a line all the way through all the rooms. Furthermore photography is prohibited so we can not even show you any pictures from in here. So if you are a bit in a hurry, we will actually recommend you to spend the time outside in the courtyard, the park and enjoying the views over the beautiful area. This is far more interesting that the inside, where you will be squeezed from room to room, unable to fight your way to the exhibition in the end.