Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), an accomplished general and art connoisseur, built the Belvedere palace as his summer residence. Today, the Belvedere, one of the most important baroque buildings in Austria, is located in Vienna’s third district. However at the time of its construction, the palace was located outside the city gates. Belvedere palace consists of two seperate buildings: the Upper and Lower Belvedere, which are connected by a stunning baroque garden. Enjoy views of Vienna’s first district from the Upper Belvedere. Today it houses not only Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day, but also the world's largest Klimt collection, with the golden paintings 'The Kiss' and 'Judith' as the highlights. Masterpieces by Schiele and Kokoschka, as well as works of French Impressionism and the Vienna Biedermeier era round out the exhibition.

Prince Eugene’s apartments and staterooms are located at the Lower Belvedere. The feudal splendor of the palace’s aristocratic original owner is reflected in the Hall of Grotesques, the Marble Gallery, and the Golden Room. The Lower Belvedere and the Orangery are used mainly for temporary exhibitions, while the Palace Stables are now home to some 150 objects of sacred medieval art that blend with the Baroque ambiance in a compelling fashion.

The Palace Gardens are unfolding in strict symmetry along a central axis to the prestige building of the Upper Belvedere and features beautiful sculptures, fountains and cascades.

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Founded: 1712
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Austria

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sam Clayton (9 months ago)
Many review here have rightly commented on the amazing architecture and art collection here, however I would like to say THANK YOU! to the Belvedere for providing a wonderful accessible facility with easy access for wheelchairs AND the facility to borrow wheelchairs if you have traveled without your own. Without the ramps, help and the availability of loan wheelchairs we wouldn't have been able to fully appreciate the art, architecture and culture. Thank you!
Shu Hua Chua (10 months ago)
It's worth buying a ticket to enter the palace. The palace itself is an art! It is famous for The Kiss (Lovers) by Gustav Klimt, but you will find other exquisite paintings too. I saw small groups of young students sat on the floor, admiring paintings and answering questions from their teachers. It made my day!
bijen shah (10 months ago)
Lovely building with a wonderful art collection. The key artwork must be Gustav Klimt's The Kiss which is one of many of his paintings there that represent his entire career. Otherwise there are plenty of exceptional paintings. The giant carved figures that support the ceiling of the entrance hall are a surprise. Lovely building with superb gardens adorned with sculpture. Highly recommended..
Flavy T (10 months ago)
Beautiful place. Two wonderful palaces ( upper and lower). The upper Belvedere is where the Kiss (Klimt) can be seen and also other amazing paintings. I would return anytime. A single visit seems too short. If you have the Vienna pass, both of them are included.
Frank Stewart (11 months ago)
Visited Aug 18. Beautiful palace and gardens. A short line up to buy tickets for the full visit or selected areas. I spent 3 hours here looking at all the fantastic paintings and statues as well as the fantastic architecture of the building. On entry to the palace the foyer and stairway is a work of art in its self. The views outside from the top floors are amazing. The Klimt gallery has the famous paintings that we have all seen before but never the "real thing." "The Kiss" is just one of them. Very enjoyable place to visit. There are many stairs but there is also a lift for less able bodied people. There are some paintings that you cant take pictures of. The sign next to art pieces will let you know if you can take pics or not...or ask the security guards in each room. A recommended place to visit with the family!
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Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.