The sprawling Hofburg was the winter residence of the Habsburgs. Construction began in 1275, and additions continued until the end of the family’s reign in 1918. Coming through the Michaelertor, you’ll first enter the courtyard called In der Burg (within the fortress). On your left is the red-and-black-striped Schweizertor (Swiss Gate), erected in 1552. The Sllberkammer, on the ground floor, displays the gold, silver, goblets, and 100 ft. gilded candelabra that once adorned the imperial table. (Open 9am-5pm. ‚7, students ‚6.)

Behind the Schweizertor lies the Schweizerhof, the inner courtyard of the Alte Burg (Old Fortress), which stands on the same site as the original 13th-century pal ace. Take a right at the top of the stairs for the Gothic Burgkapelle (chapel), where the members of the Wiener Sangerknaben (Vienna Boys’ Choir) raise their heavenly voices every Sunday (100). Beneath the stairs is the entrance to the Weltliche und Geistliche Schatzkammer, containing the Habsburg jewels, crowns, and Napoleon’s cradle. (Open M and W-Su 10am-6pm. ‚7, students ‚5. Free audio guide available in English.) Northeast of the Alte Burg, the Stallburg is home to the Lipizzaner stallions and the Spanische Reitschule (Spanish Riding School). The cheapest way to see the steeds is to watch them train. (From mid-Feb. to June and late Aug. to early Nov. Tu-F lOam-noon, except when the horses tour. Tickets sold at the door at Josefspl. Gate 2. ‚11.60, children ‚5.)

Built between 1881 and 1913, the Neue Burg is the youngest wing of the palace. The double-headed golden eagle crowning the roof symbolizes the double empire of Austria-Hungary. Today, the Neue Burg houses Austria’s largest library, the Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek. (Open July-Aug. and Sept. 23-30 M-F 9am-3:45pm, Sa 9am-12:45pm; closed Sept. 1-22; Oct.-June M-F9am-7pm, Sa 9am-12:45pm.)

High masses are still held in the 14th-century Augustinerkirche (St. Augustine’s Church) on Josefspl. The hearts of the Habsburgs are stored in urns in the Herzgriiftel. (To reach Hofburg, head through the Michaelertorin Michaelerpl. Mass 11am. Open M-Sa 10am-6pm, Su llam-6pm. Free.)


Some of Vienna’s most famous modem architecture is outside the Ring, where 20th-century designers found more space to build. This area is also home to a num ber of Baroque palaces and parks that were once beyond the city limits.

HOFBURG Photo Gallery

Leave a Reply

twenty nine − = twenty two