Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Queen's Home

Written June 27, 2011
One of the things I haven’t done much of so far since moving here to Vienna is visit museums or palaces. Not that I don’t want to, I really do, it’s just that I’m living still in a totally male dominated world that wants to do whatever they want. Sigh. I want to have my fair share and was surprised when they agreed to go to Schonnbrun Palace.

This place is huge with a zoo, a labyrinth and a variety of other things normal people can only dream about. The palace was built by Empress Maria Theresa in the late 1700s as a home for her family. She had eight or so kids and wanted a more roomier place. Never mind that she had Belevdere as one of her country estates, she wanted something more grand to accommodate her brood and to provide for their every need.

And grand it is. This is one of those places it is better shown than told. When you arrive you enter through the front gate and go directly into the courtyard which is immense with a circular stair leading up to the main entrance. Here is one of the two fountains located there. The low buildings are where all the guards were quartered as well as some of the servants.

This courtyard is huge and could easily provide parking for hundreds of carriages in its day. Now, the palace itself is huge and really made me wonder just how would anyone use all one-hundred-eighty rooms of the place. True, some were used as personal quarters, some were used for balls and other entertainment, and there were those places used strictly for affairs of the state. Still, there were more rooms than anyone had a right to have much less use. Here’s a picture of it from the back, so you can see the immensity of the place.

One thing to remember is that this was in the country when the palace was built. As far as the eye could see was green, whether forest or meadow, I don’t know but I do know there were no buildings whatsoever except for maybe the church. Since this place has been here since the late 1700s, the church might be that old as well even though does have some sort of chapel inside as do all the palaces. As each ruler thought they were ruling by divine right, they made sure they kept God close at hand.

While it’s impressive, it’s in no way, the best the place has to offer. One of my favorite places is the fountain that was built in the back of the gardens. In the picture above, it would be just before the trees closet as the path up is a long, winding, sometimes steep path. I walked it very, very slow and will show you in another picture. Now, we’ll look at the fountain.

See...isn’t that impressive? The first time I ever saw it, it was iced over and the water wasn’t running. My husband assured me it was beautiful when the water was on and he’s correct. It is a lovely fountain and I’m sure happy that more than just royalty can enjoy it now.


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