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.
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.