Schönbrunn Palace, also known as the Viennese Versailles, is one of Austria's main historical and cultural buildings. Since the 19th century, it has been one of the main tourist attractions in the city of Vienna and has been featured in postcards, documentaries, and various cinematographic films. Inside the church, there are important paintings by the painter Giambattista Pittoni that show Mary and Saint John of Nepomuk's education. During his time, he was the most requested painter by all the European royal courts.

The palace, along with its gardens, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

History and construction

In 1559 Emperor Maximilian II had a small hunting palace built that would be completely destroyed in the second siege of Vienna (1683). As a result, Emperor Leopold I commissioned Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach to build a palace for his son Joseph (future Joseph I). The architect presents a plan whose realization, in a way very reduced to his initial claims, would begin in 1696 and end between 1699 and 1701, although there is no consensus on this point. Only the Palace Chapel (Schlosskapelle) and the Blue Staircase (Blaue Stiege) with a fresco by Sebastiano Ricci remain of this first construction.

Carlos VI did not show a special interest in Schönbrunn, but it will be his daughter, Maria Teresa, who would turn the palace into a summer residence for the Habsburgs; status that she would retain until the end of the monarchy in 1918. During the government of Maria Teresa, a major expansion of the palace was also carried out under the leadership of Nikolaus von Pacassi, who had also worked for the imperial family in the Hofburg. Most of the interior decoration has its origin in this era and is one of the few extant samples of the so-called Austrian Rococo

Around 1765 Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg, assumed the direction of the construction of the palace. His most significant work is the Glorieta that optically completes the great palatial park.

Between 1817 and 1819, Johann Aman carried out a unification and simplification of the façade, clearly following the dictates of classicism. The yellow color of the façade is also from that time, so characteristic that until the 20th century, it would constitute one of the 'marks' of the Habsburg monarchy since all the official buildings were painted in the same color.

Visiting the Palace

Schönbrunn Palace can be reached with the U4 line of the Vienna Metro. The Palace stop is Schönbrunn, and its Tiergarten zoo (the oldest in the world) is Hietzing. In Hietzing there is also the tram station.