Imperial Palace - Hofburg Wien
Initially built in the 13th century as a castle, the building was continually renovated and added to. So nowadays, it consists of
- multiple residences,
- the chapel (Hofkapelle),
- the Imperial Library (Hofbibliothek/Prunksaal),
- the treasury (Schatzkammer),
- the riding school (Hofreitschule) and the horse stables (Stallburg/Hofstallungen)
- the Hofburg Congress
- and multiple museums.
It is possible to see many different architectural styles from Gothic to Baroque to Art Noveau.
The Imperial Palace has been the seat of government since 1279 for multiple empires and republics, such as one of the most powerful families in Europe - the Habsburgs. The ruled most of Europe starting 12th century right up to the first World War. As Schönbrunn Palace was their favored summer residence, Hofburg was their principal winter residence.
The Hofburg has been the political centre of the monarchy up until 1918. The rooms where Emperor Joseph II came up with his revolutionary programme of reforms, where the Congress of Vienna enjoyed magnificient balls and the Emperor Franz Joseph held his audiences, are now offices of the Federal President the ministers of the chancellor’s office and the secretaries of state.
Astonishing centrepieces measuring up to 30 metres in length and ostentatious dining services as can be seen in the Imperial Silver Collection give an impression of the unbelievable dimension of imperial banquets. The Sisi Museum with nearly numberless, partly very personal objects, allows to see behind the curtain of the fascination life of Empress Elisabeth and if you visit the Imperial Apartments, you will gain an insight into the world of the Imperial couple. All nineteen rooms in the apartments are furnished and decorated to the highest standards of historical authenticity. You wouldn’t be surprised, if Franzl and Sisi would just walk through the door and take a cup of coffee with you.
The Imperial Palace isis also the home of the Vienna Boys Choir, which sings during Sunday Mass in the Palace’s medieval Cathedral. If you want to hear them sing, be sure to check your tickets well in advance!