Thursday, 3 December 2015

viennese sandbox: schönbrunn palace

As if the Hofburg was not palatial and accommodating enough, the imperial dynasty of the Hapsburgs also had a summer residence, just on the outskirts—seemingly at least, buffered by the huge, ancient gardens and grounds that include a menagerie of statuary and fountains, a hedge labyrinth and some architectural follies like artificial Roman ruins—and overlooking the city.
This baroque household boasts over fourteen hundred rooms and is crowned from a considerable distance by a structure known as the Gloriette a top a high hill.
The slope where the pavilion (the term means little room in Old French) stands offers an amazing, encompassing view of Vienna below was originally planned as the site of the palace, and was erected as a monument to serve as a focal point, a setting for dining al fresco, and as a dedication to a Just War (jus bellum iustum)—the worthy conflict goes unnamed (possible to honour all righteous indignation) but probably referred to Empress Maria Theresa’s own handiwork that allowed her to retain her power:
the War of the Austrian Succession, a global conflict that broke out on unexpected fronts, precipitating the French and Indian Wars in North America, Prussia and English-Bavaria, Russia and proxy-wars in the Far East.
A top the Neptune Fountain, the Gloriette was constructed from left over materials that went had gone into building the artificial ruin and originally cannibalised from the defensive compound, Schloss Neugebäude, by then already suffering from neglect and disrepair and modelled after and constructed on the site where the Ottoman armies of Suleiman the Magnificent encamped during the first Siege of Vienna.