Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence located in Vienna. The 1,441-room Baroque palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans over 300 years, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.
The site of the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn is outstanding as one of the most impressive and well preserved Baroque ensembles of its kind in Europe. Additionally, it is a potent material symbol of the power and influence of the House of Habsburg over a long period of European history, from the end of the 17th to the early 20th century.
It is impossible to separate the gardens from the palace, of which they form an organic extension: this is an excellent example of the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, a masterly fusion of many art forms.
A small hunting lodge and later summer residence of the Habsburg family was rebuilt after total destruction during the last Turkish attack in 1683. During construction work the project was expanded into an Imperial summer residence of the court. As such it represents the ascent and the splendour of the Habsburg Empire. At the peak of Habsburg power at the beginning of the 18th century, when imperial Vienna following the Turkish reflected its regained significance in spectacular examples of newly developing Baroque art, Schönbrunn was one of the most important building projects of the capital and residency.
The ample Baroque gardens with their buildings (Gloriette, Roman ruins etc.) and statuary testify to the palace's imperial dimensions and functions. The original intention, when they were laid out in the 18th century, was to combine the glorification of the House of Habsburg with a homage to nature. The Orangery on the east side of the main palace building is, at 186 m, the longest in the world. The Great Palm House is an impressive iron-framed structure, 114 m long and divided into three Sections, erected in 1880 using technology developed in England.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.