Hofburg Palace is the former imperial palace in the centre of Vienna. Part of the palace forms the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria. Built in the 13th century and expanded in the centuries since, the palace has housed some of the most powerful people in European and Austrian history, including monarchs of the Habsburg dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was the principal imperial winter residence, as Schönbrunn Palace was their summer residence.
Since 1279 the Hofburg area has been the documented seat of government for various empires and republics. From 1438 to 1583 and from 1612 to 1806, it was the seat of the kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, thereafter the seat of the Emperor of Austria until 1918.
The Hofburg has been expanded over the centuries to include various residences (with the Amalienburg), the Imperial Chapel (Hofkapelle), the Naturhistorisches Museum and Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Austrian National Library (Hofbibliothek), the Imperial Treasury (Schatzkammer), the Burgtheater, the Spanish Riding School (Hofreitschule), the Imperial Horse Stables, and the Hofburg Congress Center.
Once known as the Court Silver and Table Room, the Imperial Silver Collection lies in the Imperial Chancellery Wing of the Imperial Palace and gives visitors an insight into the culture of dining at court with over 7,000 items on display. Learn about the history of the Silver Chamber, those who ran it and the importance it played in the day-to-day life of the Habsburgs. Since the end of the imperial monarchy in 1918, some of the elaborate Silver Wear is still used for formal state banquets and dinners.
Hofburg Palace is a sprawling hub of imperial power and was home to the Habsburgs for over 600 years. Each member of the family had their own apartments or suites in one of the many wings. Each apartment was lavishly decorated in the Empire, baroque and Rococo style. Let yourself be taken back in time as you journey through this imperial palace and home and marvel at the splendour of the Austrian monarchy.
The Sisi museum is dedicated to the life of legendary Empress Sisi (Elisabeth), examining her true character and habits. With over 300 personal items, discover the true story of this legendary Empress from the clothes she wore, her poetry, her beauty recipes and even an insight into her imperial carriage. On special occasions, unique objects like a milk tooth and her christening robes are also on display for visitors to see.
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.