Be sure to visit the Spanish Riding School if you are interested in the
Lipizzan horses. If you enter the Hofburg from the Michaelerplatz, just
follow your nose to reach the Spanish Riding School (to the left of the
entrance to the Imperial Apartments), where, several days a week in season,
you can take a tour, watch the morning exercise (with music) or attend a
performance, which can be quite expensive. See this official site for more
For those of you interested in the fine arts, the
(formerly the Albertina Palace of the Habsburgs, named for the son-in-law of
Empress Maria Theresa) has a phenomenal collection of graphic arts and hosts
some of the finest art shows in Europe. Be sure to see what’s on while you are in
The Albertina was damaged by bombing near the end of 1945, which destroyed
the State Rooms and the facade of the Palace. Now completely renovated and
mostly restored to its original appearance, the new Albertina has been capped with
an unusual titanium wing over the entrance to the museum. The
Albertina is one of
Vienna’s most popular museums.
In addition to its art collections, the Albertina is known for its 21
Habsburg Staterooms, which were completely restored between 2000 and 2007. If you are a fan of
and their decorations, this may be a stop of interest for you. (On the other
hand, if you have seen the Kaiser Apartments and plan to tour the
Schönbrunn Palace, seeing these rooms may overload your interest.)
See this official
website for more information on the Albertina’s art
collection, exhibitions and the Palace Staterooms.
the plaza, the Heldenplattz, in front of the Neue Burg, there are the two
equestrian statues of Prince Eugene of Savoy
and Archduke Charles of Austria, who are remembered as great military
leaders. Progressing across the Heldenplatz will lead you to the Ringstrasse
and the Museum Quarter.
While the museums and other attractions in the Hofburg are interesting,
there are simply too many to see on one or even two trips. However, if you
have been to Ephesus, Turkey we recommend visiting the
Ephesus Museum In the
National Library Building (the Neue Burg on the Heldenplatz) as it,
perhaps regrettably, has better examples of the ancient city that you can
find at the actual site in Turkey (but of course, the museum lacks the
ambiance of Ephesus). The Ephesus collection is stunning and you can get
close enough to the displays to appreciate the amazing quality of the
architecture of the spectacle that was Ephesus.
As many of you know, Ephesus was an ancient community in what is now
Anatolia, Turkey. It was conquered by the Persians and then Alexander the Great. Augustus Caesar made Ephesus
the capital of the Roman province of Asia and by the 2nd Century it had a
population of 300,000 people. Noted as the home of the Temple of Artemis
(one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), Ephesus is one of the
archaeological wonders of Turkey.
The Austrian Archeological Institute began
excavations of Ephesus in the 19th century with the agreement of the
government of Turkey. The Institute
was allowed to remove numerous artifacts for display in Vienna. Opened in
1978, the museum’s collection of Ephesus artifacts is outstanding and well
worth a visit. Open daily, except Tuesday from 10am to 6 pm
If you have taken the time to see the Ephesus Museum, the Neue Hofburg also
includes an excellent collection of medieval arms and armor that is
extremely well done. The armored helmet collection is extraordinary and you
should spend a few minutes viewing the collection, as long as you there.
Finally, if you are a mapaholic and like antique world globes, you might want to spend a few minutes at
the Palais Mollard Esperanto & Globe Museum, just down Herrengasse about a
block north of the Hofburg.
Additional Information on the Hofburg
See this official site for details on all of the attractions in the
Hofburg. The Hofburg is open daily
including public holiday from 9 am until at least 5:30. Visit this
website for an official history of the
See our map showing the locations of the best places to visit at the
our visit, it came as something of a shock to realize that during the reign
of Franz Joseph that the only toilet and permanent
bathtub in the Hofburg were in Sisi’s apartments. The rest of the
royal family, including the Emperor Franz Joseph, had to make do with
commodes. In addition, their bathing tubs were often makeshift affairs that were filled
buckets of hot water carried to these rooms by servants.
Another interesting tidbit is that until the 19th century, all the towels and
washcloths in the palace were made of linen.
As noted previously, the rooms of the palace were heated by ceramic stoves,
but the imperial stove tenders did not have access the royal family’s living
quarters. In order to remedy this situation, the stoves were tended from
hidden, narrow corridors running the entire length of the apartments, so
that the royal family was not exposed to commoners, as well as the dirt from
logs or the dust from coal used to heat the residence.
It was with some amusement that we were told that the Cellarer
of the palace took care of wine, water and the ice cellars required to make
ice cream and cool drinks. (It appears that the royals desire for cool
drinks did not survive the empire. We had a difficult time finding drinks
with ice in Vienna, even at McDonald’s, which is usually our haven for a
cola with ice while we are away from home).
the way, if you entered the Hofburg from the Old City (the
) you may have noticed an excavation in front of the entrance
(the Michaelertor). The ruins on display are those of a roman
settlement, believed to be a fort that dates from the 2nd century AD.
If you would like to read about the Schönbrunn Palace
(the Summer Palace), click here for our detailed
Guide to the Schönbrunn.
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