Elisabeth happily spent a few weeks at a time in this “Palace of Dreams”, especially in the springtime. But Franz Joseph could not win back his “beloved Angel Sisi” neither with the ceiling painting The Spring by Gustav Klimt nor the mural Midsummer Night S Dream by Hans Makart.
Throughout her life Empress Elisabeth could not forgive her husband for the behavior of his mother. The emperor’s mother, Elisabeth’s mother-in-law and also her aunt, was known in Vienna as the “only man at court” because of her authoritarian behavior. Directly after the wedding, Sophie let Elisabeth know who was truly in charge at court and she did this so consequently that Elisabeth who always felt persecuted by her mother-in-law relinquished the upbringing of her children and disappeared on one trip after another.
Hermes at the Hermesvilla | Villa Hermes
According to the diary of her daughter, Elisabeth is said to have shaken her head disapprovingly when she visited the Hermesvilla for the first time. Whereupon the emperor commented resignedly: “I will always be afraid of ruining everything.”
Even though the Hermesvilla did not conform to the taste of the empress, she nonetheless enjoyed the intimacy of the villa and the beauty of the surroundings. During long walks she chased away wild boars, stags and mouflons with her walking stick. When the weather was nice, she was said to have enjoyed swimming naked in the nearby pond.
Wien Museum Hermesvilla – Map of Wien Museum Hermesvilla Photo Gallery
The Lainzer Tiergarten has been surrounded by a high wall since 1787. The story of the building of the wall has stayed alive in Austria through the expression “Armer Schlucker”, which translates to “Poor Schlucker”, for a person who is hopelessly in debt. The master builder Philipp Schlucker obliged himself to build the 22 kilometer or 13 miles long wall for only a sixth of the price that his competitors budgeted. It is questionable though if his low-priced offer was really what caused him to go bankrupt for. After he successfully finished the project in just five years, he was awarded the title The master builder of the Vienna court’s forestry by the imperial family.
Emperor Franz Joseph I commissioned the architect Karl von Hasenauer, one of the most successful RingstraBe architects, to build the Hermesvilla.
The walk through Lainzer Tiergarten from the Lainzer Tor to the Hermesvilla is about one kilometer or 0.6 miles. On this path, as once did the empress, you will see aurochs, fallow deer, red deer, mouflons and wild boars.
You can easily reach the Hermesvilla by public transportation: Take the subway line U4 to Hietzing, then switch to the streetcar line 60 and take it to the WolkersbergenstraBe/HermesstraBe stop. There take bus 60B to the final stop, Lainzer Tor – one of the entrances to the Lainzer Tiergarten.
Hermesvilla | Villa Hermes
Address: Lainzer Tiergarten, 1130 Vienna
Public transport: Underground U4 Hietzing > Tram 60
WolkersbergenstraBe/HermesstraBe > Bus 60B Lainzer Tor > 30 min Walk to the Hermesvilla
April, 7 – October:
Tue to Sun and public holidays: 10 am to 06 pm