The Vienna Hofburg, Part 3- The Leopoldine Wing

The Leopoldine Wing

Leopold I was interested in far more than just Italian Baroque opera and theatre: in 1660 he decided to remodel  the Hofburg and the courtyard that is now called “In der Burg.” Modeled on the new residence in Munich, a long winged building was completed in 1667 between the Kindertrakt (Children’s Wing) and the Amalienburg. Based on plans by Philiberto Lucchese, it replaced a section of the city wall. In February 1668, a large fire broke out that almost completely destroyed the new wing. The Jews were accused of arson, and in 1670 at the request of his wife, Margaret Theresa, Leopold I ordered the ghetto to be evac­uated and closed in the “Corpus Christi expulsion.” Since that time, the district has been called the “Leopoldstadt.”

                                                 Leopoldstadt Today- Wien

By t681, the Leopoldine Wing was rebuilt by Giovanni Pietro Tencala: it was a third longer than before and a mezzanine storey was added. In addition, the Widmer Tower was incorporated into the façade, so that the build­ing was no longer free-standing. The design of the façade, which was identical to that of the previous building and harmonized with the old palace, was intended to create architectural uniformity.

The Leopoldine Wing- Wien Hofburg

The riding-school building on the Exercise Ground to the southeast of the palace was not renovated until the Leopol­dine Wing had been completed, although plans had existed since 1663. A library floor was added, making it essentially the predecessor of the Court Library. The constant threat of attack from the east had ended with the defeat of the Turks in 1683. For the first time, it was possible to consider con­verting the Hofburg, which was still a fortress, into a more ostentatious building complex. Leopold I commissioned Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt, who had been Imperial Court Engineer since 1700, to create a model for the new complex. This project, however, was never realized. The Emperor had meanwhile become more interested in a new hunting lodge, which was built between 1695 an^ I711 according to plans by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. The only changes made by Leopold’s elder son, Joseph I (1678-1711 ), were to demolish the south tower, to replace the old sacrist)- of the Castle Chapel with a new addition, and to connect the Leopoldine Wing to the Amalienburg, which meanwhile had risen to a height of four storeys. Although Fischer von Erlach tutored the Emperor in archi­tecture and was Inspektor der Kaiserlichen Gebàude (Super­visor of Imperial Buildings), architecture remained rather neglected as an art form at Joseph’s court. That changed suddenly after his premature death. His brother Charles VI (1685-1740), who had been king of Spain since 1703,  returned to Vienna in 1-12 and immediately asked Hilde­brandt to convert the gated structure between Kohlmarkt and the main courtyard into a monumental triumphal arch as a representative sign of imperial power. In 1714, Charles VI was forced to relinquish his claim to Spain (the Bourbons having won the War of the Spanish Succession). He main­tained close ties to that country, however, and introduced Spanish court protocol in Vienna. Under his rule, the monarchy reached its greatest geographic expansion.


Leopold I- The Emperor

The Burghauptmannschaft

By virtue of its dimensions, the Hofburg with its 18 wings. 54 stairways and 19 courtyards is like a small town. It is administered by the Burghauptmannschaft, a department of the Economic Ministry. Among its duties are the nego­tiation and signing of rental agreements (there are around 50 apartments and several shops in the Hofburg). planning and supervising all construction activities, and maintaining the building complex. It also operates its own fire service, which is responsible for safety.

The first mention of a Burggraf (burgrave) appointed to command the Hofburg (Michael von Maidburg) dates from the year 1434. The name “Burghauptmann” to des­ignate the office was used for the first time in 1443. In 1793, Francis ll/l declined to nominate a burgrave, and those duties were then performed by a ”Burginspektor” or castle inspector. In 1849, Emperor Francis Joseph I authorized a basic reform of court services. Subsequently the “Hofburginspektion” was renamed ”Burghaupt­mannschaft.” In 1850 Ludwig Montoyer was appointed director of the newly created department. He was the son of the court architect, Louis Montoyer. According to a detailed description of duties, which remained valid until the downfall of the monarchy in 1918, the Burghauptmannschaft had responsibility for taking care of the building complex itself but also for its furniture, secu­rity and cleaning. In 1870, Montoyer was succeeded by Ferdinand Kirschner, who deserves credit for the com­pletion of the Michaelertrakt (Michael’s Wing).

Since 2001, the Burghauptmannschaft has been responsible not only for the Hofburg, including the Albertina. Kunst- historisches and Naturhistorisches Museums, but also for all state-owned historical buildings in Austria. These include the palaces in Marchfeld, the former Nazi concen­tration camp at Mauthausen, the Federal Chancellery. Belvedere Palace and several other palaces in Vienna, the Heldenberg (an Austrian Army memorial), the Hofburg in Innsbruck and Ambras Castle in Tirol. Around 180 employees administer all of these buildings and facilities.

CONTINUE READINNG – PART 4- The Redoutensäle and Joseph Square


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