The Vienna Hofburg, Part 1: The Residence of Habsburgs

In this post we propose another Big Museum of Europe, the Vienna Hofburg which was in the past a magnificent residence of Habsburg Family. Inspired by Thomas Trenkler book, i will try to offer  a dynamic image of my readers about this imposing building and one of the most interesting places to visit in Vienna.

The residence of Habsburgs


The Hofburg was originally built as a fortress by Otakar II Premsyl, the King of Bohemia, who had begun construction by 1275. But it is inseparable from the House of Habsburg, a family of Alemannic Counts who came from the Habichtsbug (Hawk’s Castle) in Aargau, in what is now Switzerland.  Rudolf I, who head been elected German King in 1273, is said to have moved into the Hofburg in 1279. In 1918, after Austria had been defeated in World War I, the reign of the Habsburg Dinasty over Austria, which with Hungary had formed the Dual Monarchy, came to an end.

Over this period of just under 640 years, The Hofburg developed into a magnificent, if heterogenous, residence, the center of a multinational empire and a monument of to Austrian and Western history. In the Hofburg the Congress of Vienna was held, reorganizing Europe; here’s the the precious symbols of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was kept. This is where Maria Theresa and Sisi lived, Ludwig Van Beethoven and Johann Strauss conducted , Antonio Salieri and Anton Bruckner composed. Since 1948, the Hofburg has been the home of the Vienna Boys’, Choir and since 1562, that of the Lipizzaner horses as well.

Almost every ruler continued to expand the Hofburg. During the Renaissance period, at the end of the 16 th century, it consisted of three separate buildings: the fortress (today the Schweizerhof, Swiss Court); The residence of Maximilian II, which he adapred to stable his horses (the Stallburg); and the Amalienburg (named of the widiw of Joseph I, Amalia of Brunswick).

Schweizerhof- Vienna Hofburg


The Stallburg Wien





During the Baroque period, it grew into an ensemble of magnificent buildings (including The Court Library). The term Hofburg was firts used at the end of 17th century. Each emperor in turn added new wings of remodeled existing apartments, because it was not customary to use the same rooms as one’s immediate predecessor.

Thus every every era left its traces behind- and every political system as well. The Hofburg, which today extends from the Albertina to Michaelertor and on to the Heldenplatz, the Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches (Mueum of Art History), has still not stopped growing, either above or below ground.


Giant underground storage areas have been built and most recently, at the turn of the millenium, the Museums Quartier along with the new buildings of the Leopold Museum, The Kunsthalle Wien and the Museum of Modern Art.


With its 18 wings, 54 stairways, 19 courtyards and 2600 rooms, the Hofburg is the world’s largest secular residential district.

Toghether with the Museum Quartier it occupies an area of more than 500.000 m, making it the world’s largest complex of museums and monuments. The museums amd the Austrian National Library, which were founded for the most part on the collections of the Habsburgs, contain not only artworks from classical antiquity to the present but also magnificent weapons, precious manuscripts and extraordinary fins.




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