The Hofburg Palace

Vienna began as a small town at the point where the river Vienna enters the Danube.  But in the Middle Ages it grew in importance as the frontier city of Europe, the city that led the resistance to the onslaught of the Ottoman Turks who had already conquered the Balkans and were threatening the whole of Europe.  And it was only in 1683, following a long siege, that the tide was finally turned, and Vienna became the great capital city of Central Europe.  Under the long-lived dynasty of the Hapsburgs, they flourished until the Hapsburgs were finally made to resign in 1918.

At the centre or rather to one side of the city,  the Hapsburgs built their great palace, the Hofburg, which over the centuries was to expand or rather to sprawl over the whole quarter of the city.  It became a tradition that each emperor should not live in the rooms in his predecessor but should build afresh and consequently it became enormous.

 

The main entrance to the palace from the town was through the St Michael’s Gate , seen here in its exotic 19th century splendour.

 

On the other side of the square is St Michael’s church which  became the imperial church, where the emperor and his family attended mass on Sundays.  From the outside it is a fairly sedate church, still built in the Gothic tradition.

 

 

 

 

 

The inside however, is a riot of Rococco exuberance. Is it simply appalling – or is it perhaps rather splendid? The sculpture behind the altar depicting the Fall of Angels is by Lorenzo Mattielli.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance to the Palace is through the great gateway which leads into the great Dome.

 

 

 

 

This is the interior of the Dome.  To the left is the famous Spanish Riding School which we did not view, not being enthralled by horses.  To the right you could enter the imperial appartments, but the door straigh ahead leads through into the great internal courtyard, known as In der Burg.

 

 

 

 

Go through the gateway In der burg

 

 

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