Visiting Vienna won´t be complete without seeing the Schloss Belvedere, also known as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy or Carignamo.See, the royalties of Wien has their own summer and winter residence, what an extravagant life indeed! Really typical for Vienna, this palace is also huge, and would take a lot of your stamina to explore every nook and corners. It is imposing, grand and beautiful. I would say that this palace could be second to Schonbrunn Palace and holds an important element in Austrian culture.
But who is Prince Eugene I asked myself…? He was a successful field commander of the troops of the Hapsburg Dynasty around 17-18th century.He is known to be the Mars without Venus and fought a lot of wars in his life.Later on when he accumulated enough wealth, he built the Belvedere palace.
Actually, the main reason I went to visit this palace because I wanted to see the Belvedere Museum which houses the permanent display of Gustav Klimt´s artworks. I am not yet over the exhilarating beauty and hugeness of Schonbrunn Palace but then when we arrived at Belvedere, I am kind of feeling relaxed and excited of course! We took the Vienna card so we have access to all public transportation in Vienna for a week and since parking in the city is expensive ( and of course stressful!), we opt to park outside of the city which only cost us 3,6Euros per day. We took the U-Bahn and another tram and arrived on time just before 10 a.m. There was already buses lined up, and tourists starts to flocked but then we´ve got our tickets within minutes.
There are two parts of this Palace, the Upper and the Lower Belvedere. After seeing the Upper one,we only saw the exterior of the lower Belvedere since the weather was not so good and dark clouds loomed over us.But despite the rain, we managed to see and roam around the palace grounds and gardens.
One of the highlights in the palace grounds were the huge statues and the grand fountain.Is it a lady with a body of a lion but have wings? Really so many odd sculptures in Vienna! I have always admired these ones since they looked so massive and yes–a sight of royalty which is really typical Viennese.Both Baroque palaces were designed by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt, the Lower Belevedere also includes the Orangery, a smaller building recently converted into a temporary exhibition space.
I have never seen the Versailles Palace in France so I can´t have the confirmation that these two are identical. Anyway, looking at the architectural features of this palace, I am convinced that this is really one of the jewels here in Vienna.I am just grateful that I was able to see the Austrian National Gallery which houses a collection of art worth than 1,000 years. It is really a great experience to see how rich this city is, just look how the gardens are so lavishly laid with its well kept flower beds.
It´s only in Vienna that gardens and fountains are decorated and styled as if you are reading from a page of the Greek Mythology. Like in Belvedere, the themed Barouque fountains is adorned with strange sculptures, sphinxes, and other creatures. The staged fountains is believed to be the path from the underworld to Olympus. But then, Vienna is home to these amazing scultures and grand fountains, in short, here, the grandier, the better.
The view of the fountains from the Upper Belvedere seeing the exterior facade of the Lower Belvedere.
Now this is the view from the lower part of the Belvedere.I haven´t had the chance to get a proper photo of the palace without crowds so I just took my time admiring the flowers.
Tired of seeing art for a moment, we went outside to get some fresh air and explored the gardens. I was impressed of the Barouque gardens here in Belvedere. They are not so huge as in Schonbrunn so I was not really overwhelmed with it. It was really windy with occasional rain so walking in the garden was a bit uncomfortable. Even so, the garden has its late summer blooms that lifted our mood. Looking at the cascading waters of the fountains and these flowers made me imagine how royalty enjoys thier summers here.This place is listed under Unesco World Heritage Site so this place is really one of the finest Baroque gardens in Europe.
Some of the late summer blooms I´ve seen in the gardens.
Another highlight of Belvedere is the grand Marble Hall. I spend lots of time looking up and gazing at this beauty. It was marvelous and truly intricate, with all these rich ornaments and details in the dome, walls and floors.Up there, celestial beings in flowing pastel garments hover over glitzy chandeliers and gazing tourists. Almost as spectacular is the fact that the Hall itself stretches over two levels.
If you are an art lover like me, this place is a heaven for exclusive and original masterpieces of Gustav Klimt,Kokoshka, Makart,Hundertwasser ,Van Gogh, Monet, Egon Schiele and displays an arrays of modern exhibits.There is really much to see here and I was glad that photography is allowed inside.
Another gem, the majestic Carlone Hall simply dazzles and shining. The weather outside is so gloomy and grey, but inside we are blinded by these beauty. Its three dimensional frescoes covering the walls and ceilings open up the baroque universe: well nurtured ladies in flowing garments, hyper-toned males in acrobatic poses, and two dozens of chubby cherubs spilling water out of amphoras, some holding blankets and flower baskets.Everything is too much in one sight!
My eyes hurt from trying to figure out the images…but can you see it? Prince Eugene as a new Apollo and leader of the Muses – Marble Hall. The only “real things” are the two window frames on the left and the four lamps. Any thing else is illusion on an almost flat ceiling. Upper right “over-exposition” creates the illusion of light entering the top-right window.
That is the magic of art if you let it get into you.
We had a quick stop at the shop and saw that there are various items on sale and I´ve got a nice print of 80 x 60 cm of “the Kiss” that I took home and framed.There is also a nice cafe at the left side of the palace where you can sample the typical Viennese Cafe culture, with its rich coffee, and cake slices.
When Prince Eugene of Savoy died, the palace was acquired by the Imperial family and was opened to public since 1780.
All in all, I think everyone deserves a chance to see this place.
Until then, Tschüss!