The Congress of Vienna and the Gardens
Leopold II ( 1747-1792.), who reigned for only two years, was succeeded by his son Francis II (1768-183 5). Francis gave Tarouca Palace, to the south of the Augustinian monastery, to Albert, Duke of Saxe-Teschen, and his wife, Marie Christine, Maria Theresa’s favorite daughter. Starting in 1800, it was remodeled by Louis Montoyer and, with the addition of a new wing, became what is today the Albertina. Responding to the coronation of Napoleon as emperor in 1804, Francis II elevated Austria to the status of an empire and, as Francis I, he became the first Austrian emperor. In 1806, after being defeated by Napoleon, who dictated the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, Francis abdicated his title. The Empire, which had more than a thousand years of history as a multinational Christian realm, ceased to exist. In 1807 an equestrian statue of Joseph 11 was unveiled on the former Tummelplatz (Exercise Ground), which was renamed Josefsplatz (Joseph’s Square). Between 1805 and 1807 Montoyer built a ceremonial wing that was called disparagingly “the nose” because it was added piecemeal to the Widmer Gate on the side facing the suburbs. Napoleon occupied Vienna on May 13, 1809, and after concluding a peace treaty with the Austrians on October 14, he blew up the fortifications in front of the Hofburg.
In October 1813, Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig. The Congress of Vienna, which convened from 1814 to 1815 and established a new European order, was a magnificent event. According to a contemporary bon mot, it didn’t meet, it danced. Among those residing in the Hofburg were Tsar Alexander, King Frederick William of Prussia and King Frederick VI of Denmark. Napoleon was banished and peace was restored. Between 1816 and 1819, the remains of the Burg Bastion and the Spanish Bastion as well as the old Burgtor (Castle Gate) were tom down, the glacis was leveled, and the Volksgarten was laid out. Between 1819 and 1823 Pietro Nobile built the Temple of Theseus and the Cortisches Kaffeehaus in the Volksgarten.
During the same period, the new monumental gateway of the Ausseres Burgtor was built (begun by Luigi Cagnola in 1821 and completed in 1824 by Nobile). In the Neuer k. u. k. Hofgarten (New Imperial and Royal Court Garden, called the Burggarten since 1919), Louis von Remy built two greenhouses of iron and glass (1818-1820 and 1823-1826, respectively). They immediately became the “attractions” of the Biedermeier period.
Francis II/I died in 183 5 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Ferdinand I (1793-1875), who had no descendants. He commissioned a grand monument to his father, which was built between 1842 and 1846 on the square In der Burg, which was renamed Franzensplatz (Francis Square), the name it kept until 1918. In March 1848, the Parisian February Revolution spread to Vienna. Although the dreaded chancellor Prince Clemens Lothar Metternich was forced to resign by Ferdinand, crowds of people rose up and stormed the Stallburg, where the National Guard was quartered. Austria’s first legislature met in the Win- terreitschule (Winter Riding Hall). At the end of October, the situation escalated when Prince Alfred Windisch- Graetz brought his troops into position to retake Vienna. During three days of fighting, which was concentrated around the outer square of the Hofburg (now Helden- platz) and the Burgtor gateway, a fire broke out in the attic of the Court Library.
Ferdinand I abdicated on December 2, 1848, and his brother, Archduke Francis Charles, renounced the throne in favor of his 18-year-old son, who was to reign for almost 68 years. Francis Joseph (1830-1916), who continued the conservative policies of his predecessors, was confronted with the rising national aspirations of his multinational monarchy.