Detailed History of Belvedere Palace | Construction, Architecture and More
Once the summer residence of the Austrian Habsburg dynasty Prince Eugene of Savoy, the Belvedere Palace is a Baroque-style complex in Vienna, Austria. Decorated with sculptures, cascades, fountains and gardens, the Belvedere Palace is built on a beautiful landscape that makes it a must-visit attraction in Vienna. The palace is divided into two buildings - the Upper and Lower Belvedere, each with its own charm that will make your trip here worth it. Let’s get into the history of the spectacular palace and understand why you must add it to your itinerary on your trip to Vienna.
What Is Belvedere Palace Vienna?
Belvedere Palace, located in Vienna, was built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Prince spent most of his time in City Palace, also known as Stadtpalais, and wanted a place where he could enjoy the summer season in Vienna. The Lower Belvedere was commissioned to chief architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, a renowned Austrian architect who had studied architecture in Rome under-celebrated Italian architect Carlo Fontana.
The construction of Belvedere Palace, including both Lower and Upper Belvedere, began in 1712 and was completed by 1924. After Prince Eugene passed away in 1736, the palace grounds were owned by different members of the family and were finally opened to the public as a museum in 1781. The Belvedere Palace is now home to some of the most stunning artworks by Austrian artists that belonged to Prince Eugene and his successors. They are displayed in the Upper Belvedere, which became the first public museum in the world. The spectacular gardens surrounding the palace offer a breathtaking view, making the Belvedere Palace a popular tourist attraction in Vienna.
Where is Belvedere Palace Vienna Located?
Address: Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Wien, Austria
The Belvedere Palace is located in the heart of the city of Vienna, making it closer to all important attractions in the city.
Timeline of Belvedere Palace Vienna
- 1712: The Lower Belvedere Palace is commissioned to architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt.
- 1717: After the Lower Belvedere is completed, construction work for Upper Belvedere begins.
- 1736: Prince Eugene passes away at City Palace without a will. His niece, Princess Victoria, becomes the owner of the palace.
- 1752: The only woman to rule Austria, Empress Maria Theresa, inherits the Belvedere estate.
- 1770: The Belvedere Palace is the venue for Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I’s daughter, Maria Antoinette and Louis XVI’s wedding.
- 1781: The Picture Gallery is opened in the Upper Belvedere, making it the first public museum in the world.
- 1896: The museum in the Upper Belvedere is shut and renovated as a primary residence for the heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand.
- 1912: The Austrian Gallery, previously the Modern Gallery, becomes home to Austria's most celebrated paintings and artworks.
Belvedere Palace History Explained
Construction Work Begins (1712)
Prince Eugene of Savoy, belonging to the Habsburg dynasty of Austria, wanted to build a summer residence. He spent winters at City Palace, another remarkable palace in Vienna. He commissioned the Lower Belvedere in 1712 to architect Johann Lukas von Hilderbrandt, a student of Italian architect Carlo Fontana. The massive plot was chosen as the venue for the palace in the heart of Vienna. It was built in Baroque-style that and was extremely popular during this era. Architect Hilderbrandt added lavish gardens to the palace ground and completed the construction of the Lower Belvedere by 1717.
Upper Belvedere Construction (1717)
After the Lower Belvedere was complete, the construction of Upper Belvedere began in 1717. By 1719, the palace was ready to host Turkish ambassador Ibrahim Pasha. Francesco Solimena, a celebrated Italian painter, was commissioned to add frescoes to the ceiling of the Golden Room and create a stunning altarpiece for the Palace Chapel. From 1721 to 1723, Italian painter and engraver Carlo Carlone painted frescoes on the ceilings of the Marble Hall. Intricate decorative works took place during this time, as was common with the Baroque style of architecture. The Upper Belvedere was finally completed in 1923.Know more about Upper Belvedere
Prince Eugene Passes Away (1736)
On 21st April 1736, Prince Eugene passed away in his sleep. He had no will, which left the Belvedere Palace’s fate unknown. Roman Emperor Charles VI set up a commission to decide what would be done with Prince Eugene’s possessions. After much thought and consideration, the Belvedere Palace and other important possessions of Prince Eugene went to his niece, Princess Victoria, whom he had never met. After Prince Victoria’s divorce from Prince Joseph of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1744, she left Vienna and left for Turin, her hometown. The Belvedere Palace was bought by Maria Theresa, daughter of Charles VI.
Empress Maria Theresa’s Reign (1752)
Maria Theresa became the ruler of Habsburg dominions, making her the only woman to ever rule Austria. After she took over the ownership of the Belvedere Palace, she did not move him with her husband, Emperor Francis I. The palace was not much used, except as an ancestors’ gallery set up in the Lower Belvedere to honour the early members of the Habsburg dynasty. However, in 1770, the palace was used as the venue for the holy matrimony of Marie Antoinette and the future King of France, Louis XVI. A masked ball was thrown in their honour, with a guest list of 16,000 people.
World’s First Museum (1781)
The kingdom was going through a turbulent time during this period. The French Revolution had begun, and members of the royal family were fleeing to Vienna to save themselves. The Lower Belvedere became a refuge centre, while the Imperial Picture Gallery was shifted to the Upper Belvedere. Empress Maria Theresa decided to open the Imperial Picture Gallery to the public with the intention of making people aware of her family’s history. In 1781, the Upper Belvedere was opened to the public. This did not last long, as most of the pieces were shifted to Serbia to protect them from French troops.Get to know some facts about Belvedere Palace
Home of Franz Ferdinand (1896)
After the collection was moved to Serbia, the Belvedere Palace was no longer open to the public. Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I decided to convert the Upper Belvedere as the primary residence of his heir apparent, Franz Ferdinand, who was his nephew. Franz Ferdinand made a lot of changes during this time. However, in 1903, he opened the Modern Gallery in the Belvedere Palace to bring to light the works of Austrian artists along with works of celebrated artists during the Modernism era. In 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated, bringing in a new future for the Belvedere Palace.
Architecture of Belvedere Palace in Vienna
The Belvedere Palace was built in the Baroque style of architecture that began with Baroque art during the 17th and 18th centuries. It began in Italy and spread to other parts of Europe, eventually making its way to other parts of the world. Surrounded by picturesque gardens on all sides, it consists of two palaces - the Lower Belvedere and the Upper Belvedere. The Belvedere Palace, as a whole, is built in such a way that there is ample light and ventilation. It offers a spectacular view of the palace grounds. Dominique Girard, a landscape designer at the Bavarian Court, designed the Belvedere Garden. He added trees, fountains and sculptures to the garden that could be viewed from all areas inside the palaces. Inside the palace, frescoes adorn the ceilings that Prince Eugene commissioned to many artists and painters.Find out what's inside Belvedere Palace
Book Tickets To Belvedere Palace Vienna
Frequently Asked Questions About Belvedere Palace History
A. The Belvedere Palace Vienna was built between 1712 and 1724, making the palace two centuries old.
A. The Belvedere Palace is famous for its Baroque-style architecture. It was once home to important members of the Habsburg dynasty that once ruled Austria. Today, it houses a museum with pieces from the royal collection, including celebrated artworks of Modernism-era artists.
A. The Belvedere Palace is in the heart of Vienna. It is close to all the major attractions in the city. The official address is Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Wien, Austria. You can find it on maps here.
A. Prince Eugene of Savoy commissioned the Belvedere Palace to renowned Austrian architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt.
A. The Belvedere Palace is built in the Baroque style of architecture with intricate designs, both inside and outside, situated at the centre overlooking huge gardens.
A. The entry tickets to Belvedere Palace Vienna start from €13.90. It can differ based on the kind of experience you choose for your visit. You can explore all the ticket types and make your purchase here.
A. Yes, guided tours take you through the extensive history of Belvedere Palace. Audio guides are available in different languages. An experienced tour guide will also give you all the information about the palace.
A. The Belvedere Palace was the venue of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI’s wedding. During the French Revolution, many royal family members took refuge in the Belvedere Palace, including Princess Marie Thérèse Charlotte, the only surviving child of the French rulers. The palace was also the residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, who was assassinated in 1914, which would become the starting point of World War I.
A. Yes, you must visit the Belvedere Palace in Vienna to witness its beauty with your own eyes. It is a beautiful Baroque-style palace that is among the top attractions of Vienna. Buy your entry tickets here.