Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn
From the 18th century to 1918, Schönbrunn was the residence of the Habsburg emperors. It was designed by the architects Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and Nicolaus Pacassi and is full of outstanding examples of decorative art. Together with its gardens, the site of the world’s first zoo in 1752, it is a remarkable Baroque ensemble and a perfect example of Gesamtkunstwerk
Outstanding Universal Value
The site of the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn is outstanding as one of the most impressive and well preserved Baroque ensembles of its kind in Europe. Additionally, it is a potent material symbol of the power and influence of the House of Habsburg over a long period of European history, from the end of the 17th to the early 20th century.
It is impossible to separate the gardens from the palace, of which they form an organic extension: this is an excellent example of the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, a masterly fusion of many art forms.
A small hunting lodge and later summer residence of the Habsburg family was rebuilt after total destruction during the last Turkish attack in 1683. During construction work the project was expanded into an Imperial summer residence of the court. As such it represents the ascent and the splendour of the Habsburg Empire. At the peak of Habsburg power at the beginning of the 18th century, when imperial Vienna following the Turkish reflected its regained significance in spectacular examples of newly developing Baroque art, Schönbrunn was one of the most important building projects of the capital and residency.
The ample Baroque gardens with their buildings (Gloriette, Roman ruins etc.) and statuary testify to the palace's imperial dimensions and functions. The original intention, when they were laid out in the 18th century, was to combine the glorification of the House of Habsburg with a homage to nature. The Orangery on the east side of the main palace building is, at 186 m, the longest in the world. The Great Palm House is an impressive iron-framed structure, 114 m long and divided into three Sections, erected in 1880 using technology developed in England.
Criterion (i): The Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn are an especially well preserved example of the Baroque Princely residential ensemble, which constitute an outstanding example of Gesamtkunstwerk, a masterly fusion of many art forms.
Criterion (iv): The Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn are exceptional by virtue of the evidence that they preserve of modifications over several centuries that vividly illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.
With the exception of some minor alterations dating from the 19th century, the property includes all elements of the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn. The property is of such a size it offers a complete representation of Imperial Palace features. None of the attributes within the property are under threat. However the visual integrity of the property is vulnerable to high-rise developments in Vienna.
The original building has been expanded and modified considerably since it was built, to suit the tastes and requirements of successive imperial rulers. No significant changes have been made to the structures themselves since the work on the facades commissioned by Franz I at the beginning of the 19th century. The furnishings and decoration of the Imperial apartments, the theatre, the Chapel, and other important components are wholly authentic. The structure of the Baroque park layout is also virtually untouched, and traditional 18th century techniques are still used for trimming its trees and bushes. Schönbrunn became, as it were, frozen in time in 1918 when it became the property of the Republic of Austria. Since that time, the form that it possessed in 1918 has been faithfully retained, both in the original fabric and decoration and in the restoration following wartime damage. The complex of the Palace and park may be considered to be an outstanding example of Gesamtkunstwerk because of the way in which it has preserved intact the originality of its architecture, the design and furnishings of the Palace, and the spatial and visual relationship of the buildings to the park.
Protection and management requirements (2010)
The buildings and the gardens are owned by the Republic of Austria. Since 1st October 1992 the property has been managed by the Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (Ltd). This company entirely belongs to the State. Maintenance of the gardens is carried out by the Federal Gardens Service (Bundesgärten).
The property is protected at Federal and Provincial level. Areas adjacent to the property have been designated as protection zones, and these also delineate the buffer zone. The City of Vienna controls these surroundings by zoning and building regulations. There remains an on-going need to ensure that the skyline of the property and views out are not compromised by tall buildings in its setting.
The day-to-day professional management of the property is carried out on the basis of agreed budget, staff and investment plans. Following the requirements of the Federal Office for Protection of Monuments and the City of Vienna, these plans are elaborated on and pursued by experts employed by the Federal State. The "Schönbrunn Akademie" (Schönbrunn Academy) also provides training programmes on heritage management and specific technical issues.
The operational budgets are financed through earnings achieved by the managements' operating company, assisted by the Federal State. In the buffer zone, funds are made available from the City of Vienna.
Schönbrunn is of outstanding universal value as a particularly well-preserved example of the Baroque princely residential ensemble. Furthermore, the palace and gardens are exceptional by virtue of the evidence that they preserve of modifications over several centuries that vividly illustrate the tastes, interests and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.
From the 16th century onwards, Schönbrunn was the site of a hunting lodge and summer residence of the Habsburg family. After total destruction during the last Turkish attack in 1683 the palace was rebuilt in 1695. The emperor, Leopold I, originally commissioned a château de plaisance for Grand-Duke Joseph, the heir to the throne, but dynastic developments during the course of construction required its function to become that of an imperial summer residence, and hence for its size to be increased. It continued in that role until the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Apart from some minor 19th-century additions, the palace and its gardens received their appearance in the 18th century. The architectural ensemble contains precious 18th-century interiors. The former apartments of Emperor Franz Joseph in the west wing were adapted in the 19th century with furniture that is also of historical importance.
Schönbrunn was designed by the architects Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and Nicolaus Pacassi and is full of outstanding examples of decorative art. Together with its gardens, the site of the world's first zoo in 1752, it is a remarkable Baroque ensemble and a perfect example of Gesamtkunstwerk .
The main part of the palace in its present form is largely the work of Pacassi, although preserving Fischer von Erlach's overall structure. Access to the piano nobile from the courtyard is via a monumental staircase leading to the impressive Great Gallery, which is ornately decorated with stucco ornamentation and ceiling frescoes symbolizing the Habsburg Empire.
Behind it lies the Small Gallery, which is flanked by two small rooms, the Chinese Round Room and the Chinese Oval Room, both decorated with black and golden painted lacquer panels and furnished with Japanese ceramics and furniture. The Carrousel Room leading off the Great Gallery is the anteroom to the Ceremonial Hall, notable for its series of monumental paintings depicting events in the long reign of Maria Theresa.
Among the most impressive of the rooms in the east wing is the sumptuous Vieux-Laque Room, with its priceless oriental lacquer panels set in walnut panelling surrounded by gilded plasterwork and extremely ornate furniture; the Napoleon Room is decorated with enormous Brussels tapestries; the Porcelain Room is a small chamber in which the ornately carved wainscoting is painted in blue and white, and decorated with 213 sketches by Franz Stephan and his children. The rooms in the West Wing are Iess elaborately decorated and were used for domestic purposes by members of the imperial family.
The vast Baroque gardens and their buildings testify to the imperial dimensions and functions of the palace; the courtyard provides access to the Palace Chapel and the Palace Theatre. The orangery on the east side of the main palace building is the longest in the world. Built in the mid-18th century, it was used not only for Maria Theresa's passion, that of cultivating exotic plants, but also for festive events and performances. The Great Palm House is an impressive iron-framed structure and divided into three sections, erected in 1880 using the technology developed in England. The Schönbrunn zoological garden, founded by Franz Stephan of Lorraine, husband of Empress Maria Theresa, in 1752 and hence the oldest in the world, is in the grounds.Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
The Katterburg estate, the site of the present Schonbrunn palace, was sold in the mid-16th century by the Klosterneuburg monastery to Emperor Maximilian II, who developed it as a hunting lodge and installed a menagerie. The buildings were badly damaged when Vienna was sacked by the Hungarians in 1605; it was not until 1622 that they were restored by Emperor Ferdinand II. After his death in 1637 the Katterburg became the dowager estate of his widow, Eleanora of Gonzaga. The name was changed to Sch6nbrunn (Beautiful Spring) in 1642, when a new three-storey château de plaisance was erected alongside the older building.
In 1683 Vienna was besieged by the Turks, who were finally crushed, but not before they had wrought great destruction in the surroundings of the city, including Sch6nbrunn. During the great rebuilding that followed the siege, Emperor Leopold I commissioned the Italian-trained architect Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach to design a new building there as a residence for his heir, Grand-Duke Joseph. His first design is now thought to have been prepared simply to demonstrate his capabilities. In this he was highly successful: his design was greatly admired and was to secure him many other commissions.
The marriage of Leopold in 1699 caused the second design to be modified, so as to raise its status. Construction began in 1696 and Fischervon Erlach personally oversaw the work. The central section was complete and habitable by 1700, but further work was brought to an end by the outbreak of the war of the Spanish Succession in 1701, and then by the sudden death Of Emperor Joseph I in 1711. The uncompleted building became the residence of the Dowager Empress Amalia Wilhelmine.
When she acceded to the Imperial throne in 1740, Maria Theresia chose Schonbrunn as her permanent residence, and a new phase began in the life of the palace. Urgent repairs were carried out on the dilapidated buildings in 1742-43, followed by major structural changes, which were carried out in three phases: 1743-49, 1753- 63, and 1764-80. Most of the work in the first two phases was carried out to the designs and under the supervision of the architect Nicolaus Pacassi, who was to become, like Fischer von Erlach, the Imperial and Royal Court Architect. The major project of the third phase was the embellishment of the gardens (the Gloriette, the Neptune Fountain, the "Roman Ruins", the Obelisk>, largely the work of Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg.
Source: Advisory Body Evaluation
Maria Theresia's immediate successors uoseph II and Leopold II) Showed little interest in Schonbrunn, but it was to become the summer residence of Franz I (1792-1835), and Franz Joseph (1848-1916) spent much of his life there. The latter was responsible for the restoration of the old ROCOCO decor and certain other modifications. The palace's architectural history came to an end in 1870 and there have been no significant changes since that time.