Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Hofburg Complex

Vienna, the capital of Austria, is surprisingly a compact city. Many of its important sights, especially those dating in the Habsburg era are clustered around the Hofburg, Vienna's former imperial court.

The Equestrian Monuments of Prince Eugene of Savoy and Archduke Charles of Austria.

One can enter the Hofburg through the Burgtor or the outer gate and reminisce Vienna as it once was at Heldenplatz or Heroe's Square. On both sides of the square are equestrian monuments of Prince Eugene of Savoy and Archduke Charles of Austria, two of Austria's great military leaders.

A Fiaker in front of the Neue Burg and a monument of Eugene of Savoy in Hofburg.

Because it is compact, Vienna can be easily explored on foot. There is also the Hop On Hop Off tourbus that costs €20.00 per person, which takes you around the city for a quick look at the important sights. Or you can also see these in old-world style, but at great expense, by hiring a horse-drawn Fiaker. A tour on this carriage costs €40.00 for a short city tour (20 minutes) and €65.00 for a grand tour (40 minutes).

L: This fountain, which is a part of the Michaelertor, is famous among visitors.
And yes, he is pointing at me!

R: The sign says it all: Imperial Apartments, Sisi Museum and Silver Collection!

Exploring the Hofburg complex itself took most part of our day for it contained the former imperial apartments and treasuries (Schatzkammer) of the Habsburgs, several museums, a chapel where the world renowned Vienna Boys' Choir can be heard singing during Sunday mass, a church, the Austrian National Library, the Winter Riding School and the President of Austria's offices.

The Burgkapelle, Hofurg's chapel, is where the famous Vienna Boys' Choir sings.

The recently restored Albertina, with a modern addition: the lift.

The Albertina, hidden away in a corner of the Hofburg, contains a collection of one million prints, 65,000 watercolors and drawings, and over 70,000 photographs. The gems of the collection are those by Dürer, Michelangelo, Rubens, Picasso and Monet. One can also visit the Hapsburg State Rooms, a fine example of Neo-classical architecture and interior decoration. Entrance to the Albertina costs €9.50 per person.

The Augustiner Kirche has one of the best preserved 14-century Gothic interiors in Vienna.

Statue of Joseph II and the Austrian National Library behind it in Josefsplatz

The Hofburg is indeed a place rich in history, architecture and art, beauty and culture. Should you ever want to visit Vienna, Hofburg is really a must see! And if you want to listen to the good music of the Vienna Boys' Choir, be sure to come on a Sunday!

1 comment:

Fhaye said...

How I wish I could to Vienna someday! Such a lovely and romantic place...

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