Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna

Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna (must see)

Located in the center of Vienna, for over 700 years the Hofburg has been the seat of Austrian power. Up until the end of the monarchy in 1918, it had served as the official home of the Habsburg Empire and the imperial winter residence. Originally built in 1279 as a modest city fortress, the Hofburg or “Castle of the Court” grew over the centuries – extended by each Austrian sovereign (emperors of the Holy Roman Empire from 1452, and emperors of Austria from 1806) – into a lavish palatial complex, becoming one of the most important centers of European history.

Numerous architects have worked at the Hofburg, resulting in a range of architectural styles, from Gothic to late 19th century Historicism. During the 18th century it was enlarged with several magnificent Baroque extensions, including residences (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 the Austrian National Library, was built to house the precious collection of books owned by the Habsburgs. The Great Hall with its harmonious Baroque interior is one of the most beautiful of its kind in the world.

The Kaiserappartements and Albertina, the former state apartments and art collections, today draw crowds with hoards of imperial treasure and world-class collections of fine art. In the deep basement of one part of the Hofburg once was an imperial wine cellar spread over three floors. The remaining holdings of wine were auctioned off at the end of the monarchy and the space used for a depository of plaster models of fountains and monuments.

Overall, the sprawling Hofburg complex extends over 240,000 m² consisting of 18 wings, 19 courtyards and 2,600 rooms in which nearly 5,000 people still work and live. The rooms in which Emperor Joseph II once drew up his revolutionary program of reforms, where the Congress of Vienna met, and where Emperor Franz Joseph held audiences, now house the official residence and workplace of the Federal President of the Republic of Austria (located in the Leopoldine Wing since 1946) alongside offices of the ministers of the chancellor's office and the secretaries of state. The palace is also the permanent home of 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.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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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

Create Your Own Walk in Vienna

Create Your Own Walk in Vienna

Creating your own self-guided walk in Vienna is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Old Town Churches Walking Tour

Old Town Churches Walking Tour

Sacred buildings in Vienna impress visitors with their historic architecture and magnificent interiors. The remarkable Gothic Stephansdom, charming Baroque St Peter’s church, and other sacred buildings of Vienna provide not only a history of the city, but a refreshing look with truly beautiful architecture, as you will see on this self guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Mozart Walking Tour

Mozart Walking Tour

Back in 1781, Mozart was summoned to Vienna, where his patron – the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg – was attending celebrations. He got into a big argument with the Archbishop until ultimately getting fired. The young man decided to stay in the city as a freelance composer, musician, and music teacher, and so a legendary partnership began: Mozart and Vienna. Follow our self-guided walk for a...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Vienna Introduction Walking Tour II

Vienna Introduction Walking Tour II

The former capital of the once mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire and the second largest city in the German-speaking world after Berlin, today's Vienna is still much revered for its great historic and cultural past, as well as present. The abundance of imperial palaces, diverse museums and historic churches attracts millions of international guests to Vienna each year. This introduction walk,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Vienna's Historical Music Venues

Vienna's Historical Music Venues

Austria is synonymous with classical music almost to the point of obsession, and to call Vienna the "Music Capital of the World" would not be an exaggeration. It was the home and workplace of some of the greatest ever musicians such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Strauss, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert and many others. Follow this self guided walk to visit some of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Vienna Introduction Walking Tour I

Vienna Introduction Walking Tour I

A city of green parks, opulent architecture and elegant shopping, crowded theatres and boulevards for leisurely sauntering—Vienna is rightfully regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The etymology of its name is subject to a debate in which some say it comes from vedunia ("forest stream"), which subsequently produced the Old High German “uuenia” (“wenia”), the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Johann Strauss Walking Tour

Johann Strauss Walking Tour

Strauss Jr. succeeded his father (Johann Strauss Sr.) as Vienna's "Waltz King", and surpassed him at it. Strauss Jr.'s waltz compositions are widely considered the most famous of the Viennese waltzes, so how can you visit Vienna and not pay homage to the iconic composer? From the family home to the gold-plated statue in the Stadtpark to the theater where the musician introduced...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles

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