Castle Belvedere in Vienna
Actually, the Castle Belvedere is not a single castle, but an imposing castle complex that consists on two castles, the upper and the lower Belvedere. Between the upper and the lower Belvedere there is a huge and wonderfully arranged garden that unites both of the castles to a picturesque - baroque ensemble. Today, both castles serve as a museum for famous paintings. Significant Austrian artists from medieval times up to date are represented here. A glamorous highlight of the upper Belvedere are the paintings of Gustav Klimt, who became world famous with the golden pictures 'The Kiss' or 'Judith I'.
By viewing the upper Belvedere, one has immediately the impression to take part in this worldwide glory. It is not only que originality of the paintings that one can closely look at what impresses so much but the huge crowds also provide the necessary celebrity hype that one really cannot avoid at any time. The abundant and continuously changing exhibitions provide diversification so that one could go there again when visiting Vienna next time. But not only the exhibitions in the interior of the castle are the excursion worthwhile. Only the view that one has from the upper Belvedere over the city and the skyline is highly impressive. The original purpose of the upper Belvedere only was to represent and enjoy this marvelous view. This is why we do now a short excursion to the history of origination of the castle Belvedere.
History of Origination of Castle Belvedere
Prince Eugen von Savoyen (1663-1736), member of the European high nobility and successful commander of the wars against the turks, achieved with his victories for Austria the status of a great power. One of the horseman monuments at the Heldenplatz is dedicated to him. Differently to his military image from which one could get the impression that Prince Eugen was an unbreakable warhorse, the private Eugen had the reputation of a famous homosexual during his lifetime. He was interested in arts, books and antique objects that are partly conserved up to date in some large collections. But the most impressive way he perpetuated himself was a builder. He assigned many buildings for construction and most of the times, his favourite arquitect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt was in charge. He was also in charge for the castle Belvedere.
The actual castle of residence of Prince Eugen was the lower Belvedere that was built between 1714-1716. Not until some years later, the upper Belverede was originated (built from 1721 to 23), that served for representative purposes during his lifetine. In the lower Belvedere one is specially impressed by the abundantly adorned rooms and gorgeous chambers. The core piece of the lower Belvedere is the marble hall in which Prince Eugen is put on scene in many facets as a glorious commander and as 'Rescuer of the Christendom'. Today, the lower Belvedere mainly serves for alternating art exhibitions.
The orangerie is part of the lower Belvedere that was originally arranged as winter garden for orange trees, which cultivation got in fashion in the European royal houses in the 16th century. Beside the orangerie, in the lower Belvedere, also the gorgeous stable was originated that was for 12 very special horses of the Prince and a part of a much bigger stable complex in which up to 60 horses could be kept. If today the orangerie serves as a modern way of exhibition, in the gorgeous stable, there is one of the most impressive exhibitions of the medieval times in which there are, beside many baroque figures also some gothic alters and many paintings.
Viewing the Castles and the Palace Garden
Together with the Castle Schönbrunn and the Hofburg, the Castle Belvedere belongs to the touristical attractions of Vienna for people who are interested in the history of the Habsburger and their way of living. The castle Belvedere is, located a little outside the city centre but anyway it is easy to get there by means of public traffic. The tram D takes one to the upper Belvedere up to the station Castle Belvedere aus.
But one should consider that some hours are needed for the whole viewing. If one not only wants to view both castles from the exterior but visit all exhibitions and has some time left to have a walk in the garden, then a little break is needed, as the garden between both castles expands in a length of 500 metres.
Those who arrive with the tram line D will access the palace garden at the upper Belevedere. It is recommended to vivit first the back palace garden before entering the upper Belvedere and makes the tour through the castle. During this tour, one has a beautiful view to the front and back palace garden from the castle rooms. But it is not allowed to make some pictures in the castle. After the visit of the upper Belvedere the best is to have a cosy walk through the large palace garden so that one slowly arrives to the lower Belvedere, which viewing does not take much time.
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