Eckartsau Palace

Eckartsau, Austria

If walls could talk, the Imperial hunting lodge of Eckartsau would tell many gripping stories about the final days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Nestled in the Danube wetlands and surrounded on all sides by the expansive Schlosspark gardens, Eckartsau was the final Austrian residence of Emperor Charles I and his wife Zita from 1918 to 1919.

Under the Eckartsau dominion, extensive land and territories were acquired both to the east and west, as were castles, market towns and rights. In the 16th and 17th centuries the inhabitants of Eckartsau came and went with regularity. The magnificent appearance of the palace today can be attributed in large part to Count Franz Ferdinand von Kinsky, who purchased the property, including the Eckartsau manor, in 1720. He subsequently converted the medieval fortification to a baroque hunting lodge. Top-notch artists such as Fischer von Erlach, Daniel Gran and Lorenzo Mattielli were closely involved in the extensive redevelopment.

In 1760, Francis Stephan von Lothringen (Francis I), husband of Maria Theresa, acquired the castle. Over the years, its most prominent residents included Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir presumptive to the throne, as well as Austria’s last imperial couple Charles I and Zita, who spent their final days in Austria at Eckartsau before going into exile. After 1945, the Austrian National Forests (ÖBf) became the administrators of Schloss Eckartsau and in the past decades have worked extensively to restore the castle – parts of which had been in absolute desolate condition – to its former glory.

At the time Eckartsau was erected as a fortification, the castle was in the middle of the wilderness and protected by ditches. At the beginning of the 18th century, in the course of redevelopment and conversion of the castle to the baroque style, two rows of linden trees were planted to form an allée. To the east, this lane stretched into the wetlands, all the way to a mooring spot on the Danube; to the west, it led to the spot where visitors arriving by carriage could be picked up.

Around 1900, Schloss Eckartsau experienced a renewed upswing under Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who found Eckartsau to be ideal for hunting. He refurbished the desolate structure from the ground up and commissioned Anton Umlauft, then imperial and royal director of gardens, to design the landscaped gardens. An even plateau was created where ditches once prevailed; the oval form created by these earth deposits is reflected in the curved paths in the park that wind around Schloss Eckartsau. The two-row linden allée was integrated into the design as an element of order and now forms the border between the wilderness of the Danube wetlands and the cultivated landscape of the Marchfeld.

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Details

Founded: 1720
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Austria

More Information

www.schloesserreich.at

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ana Margarete PD (5 months ago)
Wonderful gardens, a ideal place for family and kids.
Igor Alesey (6 months ago)
Park is very nice. Old trees, meadows.
Muck DeLuxe (7 months ago)
Very nice and friendly park for relaxation
mark robins (17 months ago)
If you can time your visit with an event such as gartenlust then your time will be well spent. Plenty of arts, crafts, plants, bulbs and some rather yummy drinks. Enjoy your visit.
Jesse Inman (17 months ago)
So, after hours of riding on old, bad bikes on a crazy but beautiful bike trip from Vienna to Bratislava this is an oh so welcome midway break. Cake and their very own berry beer! It's also very pretty! And they have a super fancy bike parking place with a bike pump/bike tool point! Ace!
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