Baroque Palace And Top Vienna Museum
Visiting the Belvedere Vienna means you can get lost in fine art and beautiful landscaping. The palace and baroque gardens of Prince Eugene of Savoy, one of the most prominent commanders of Austrian history, cover the essence of historic Vienna. The Belvedere also houses the Austrian National Gallery, a top Vienna museum collecting 1,000 years of national art. Here are my personal notes of what to see and do at the Belvedere.
The Palace And Baroque Gardens
The Belvedere mixes palatial rooms, baroque gardens with sculptures, fountains and Alpine plants, an orangery and the palace stables. This picture shows me using the ‘Perfect Tourist’ art installation in the palace gardens in the summer of 2014.
Highlights Of The Upper Belvedere
The brown-white-gold Marble Hall stretches over two floors to give room to a vast oval ceiling where celestial beings in flowing pastel garments hover over glitzy chandeliers and gazing tourists. As busy as you may be taking in the interiors, look out of the windows across the baroque gardens to the Lower Belvedere.
I’m always dazzled when entering the Carlone Hall: Its three dimensional frescoes covering the walls and ceilings put you almost on a par with bare-breasted, well nurtured ladies in flowing garments, hyper-toned males in acrobatic poses, and two dozens of chubby cherubs spilling water out of amphoras and holding blankets and flower baskets.
My tip: There is a special package for lovers of Gustav Klimt and Art Nouveau: You can get tickets for both the Belvedere Vienna, which houses the world’s largest Gustav Klimt collection, and the Albertina museum, housing Klimt sketches and drawings, in one go. On top, you’ll get the 72-hour Vienna Card, a discount card which is great for attractions and public transport.
Highlights Of The Lower Belvedere
Belvedere Vienna The Lower Belvedere is the older of the two buildings, and was completed in 1716 as a garden palace. It only looks slightly inferior to the Upper Belvedere. Once you enter, the Gold Cabinet‘s gold plated and mirrored walls, the Grotesque Hall with its rich ornaments, and the marble hall’s delicate white reliefs and display of baroque sculpture will prove otherwise.
Originally, Prince Eugene of Savoy used the Lower Belvedere to receive guests in the marble hall, and to accommodate his and his guests’ horses in the stables. Until the Upper Belvedere was finished, he lived in the Lower Belvedere.
The Orangery is a typically long-shaped hall with stone floors and high large windows that flood the room with light. It is regularly used for temporary exhibitions.
If you like medieval art, visit the Palace Stables‘ collection of mostly sacred art from the Middle Ages, including winged altars, paintings of worship and medieval life, and wooden sculptures.
The gardens of the Belvedere Vienna are among the the best baroque gardens in Austria, if not Europe. They are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. The gardens connect the Upper with the Lower Belvedere, and are populated with sculptures, neatly trimmed hedges and artful flower beds. The garden is landscaped on three levels. My favourite are the water cascades and fountains in the middle of the garden.
Next to the Lower Belvedere you will find the smaller and more private Chamber Garden (Kammergarten).
If you travel to Vienna between April and September, visit the Alpine Garden right next. The 19th century garden is Europe’s oldest of its kind and boasts more than 4,000 types of Alpine plants from all over the world.
The Austrian National Gallery at the Upper Belvedere hosts a dozen collections of Austrian art. They span an era as vast as from the Middle Ages to the present.
The most popular collections include Gustav Klimt artwork (the largest collection worldwide), the romantic Biedermeier art of the 19th century, French Impressionists, and the expressionist collections of Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele.
Belvedere Vienna: Tickets And Logistics
Location: Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Vienna (Upper Belvedere/National Gallery/Klimt) Rennweg 6, 1030 Vienna (Lower Belvedere/contemporary exhibitions; state rooms)
Opening Hours: Upper Belvedere – daily 10 am to 6 pm; Lower Belvedere, Orangery: daily 10 am to 6 pm; Wednesday 10 am to 9 pm
Tickets: EUR 14 (adults); EUR 11 (visitors of more than 60 years of age); visitors under 19 go free;
Public Transportation: tramway D (Upper Belvedere); tramway 71 (Lower Belvedere)
The Belvedere Vienna is located at the edge of the third district of Landstrasse. You can walk to the city centre from the Lower Belvedere in 10 minutes. Staying close to the Belvedere Vienna means you will lodge in one of the oldest residential areas of Vienna. Here are a few tips for hotels and holiday apartments close to the palace: Hotel am Konzerthaus, close to Lower Belvedere; Daniel Vienna, close to main entrance; Pakat Suites Hotel and PuzzleHotel Apartment Goldeggasse, both close to the side entrance of the Upper Belvedere.
Check the hotel map of the area.
Other great Vienna museums: Vienna Museum, Albertina Vienna, House of Music, Hapsburgs Museum of Furniture (Hofmobiliendepot)
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