Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna

Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna (must see)

Situated at the heart of Vienna, the Hofburg has played a central role in Austrian history for over seven centuries. Prior to the dissolution of the monarchy in 1918, it served as the primary residence for the Habsburg Empire and the winter home for the imperial family. Initially constructed as a modest city fortress in 1279, it evolved over the years through successive expansions by various Austrian rulers, including emperors of the Holy Roman Empire starting in 1452 and emperors of Austria from 1806. It transformed into an opulent palace complex, becoming a key hub in European history.

Numerous architects contributed to the Hofburg's diverse architectural styles, ranging from Gothic to late 19th-century Historicism. In the 18th century, it underwent significant Baroque enhancements, including the addition of notable structures such as residences like Amalienburg and Albertina, the Imperial Chapel (Hofkapelle or Burgkapelle), the Treasury (Schatzkammer), the Burgtheater, the Spanish Riding School (Hofreitschule), and the Imperial Mews (Stallburg and Hofstallungen). Between 1723 and 1735, the Imperial Library (Hofbibliothek), now known as the Austrian National Library, was constructed to house the valuable book collection owned by the Habsburgs. The Great Hall, with its harmonious Baroque interior, ranks as one of the world's most beautiful of its kind.

Today, the Kaiserappartements and Albertina, the former state apartments and art collections, attract visitors with their extensive imperial treasures and world-class art collections. In one section of the Hofburg's underground, there used to be an imperial wine cellar spread across three floors. The remaining wine inventory was auctioned off after the monarchy's dissolution, and the space was repurposed as a storage area for plaster models of fountains and monuments.

The vast Hofburg complex covers an area of over 240,000 square meters, comprising 18 wings, 19 courtyards, and 2,600 rooms, where nearly 5,000 individuals currently work and reside. The rooms that once witnessed Emperor Joseph II's formulation of reformist policies, hosted the Congress of Vienna, and served as Emperor Franz Joseph's audience chambers are now the official residence and workplace of the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, located in the Leopoldine Wing since 1946. Additionally, the palace serves as the permanent headquarters for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Why You Should Visit:
To gain insight into the world of Austria's illustrious emperors furnished and decorated to the highest standards of historical authenticity.

Tip:
There is also a chapel built inside the complex, which is open to the public. If you come for Sunday Mass, you will be able to listen to the famous Vienna Boys Choir performing here regularly.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Vienna. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Hofburg Imperial Palace on Map

Sight Name: Hofburg Imperial Palace
Sight Location: Vienna, Austria (See walking tours in Vienna)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Vienna, Austria

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Famous Homes of Vienna

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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The city met the composer with a vibrant and cosmopolitan atmosphere brought about by some of the top musicians and artists...  view more

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Sitting at "the crossroads of Christian traditions", Vienna is home to various Christian...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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