Hofburg - The Imperial Palace

A succession of courtyards, buildings and squares take you to the heart of the former Empire of the Habsburgs. To reach the heart of the palace, visitors pass through the courtyard flanked by the Leopold wing (Leopoldinischertrakt), the residence of the President of the Republic, the Amelia wing (Amelientrakt) and the Chancellery. On the residential floor is the suite of Imperial apartments with nostalgic memories of Franz-Josef and Elizabeth (Sissi). The adjoining Renaissance-style Schweizertor or Swiss Gateway gives onto the Swiss Courtyard (Schweizerhof), the oldest part of the Alte Burg and the site of the first castle built in the Middle Ages. This courtyard leads to the Schatzkammer, containing one of the most priceless collections of jewellery in the world. The Court's collection of porcelain and silver also includes some exceptional pieces. To journey back through the ages, you need to go and see the events which imperturbably perpetuate imperial traditions. One of these is the famous Spanische Reitschule, the Spanish Riding School parades in the Winter Riding School, followed by a visit to the small Lipizzaner horse museum in the nearby Stallburg. You should also attend a Sunday morning service at the Hofburgkapelle to hear the Vienna Boys' Choir perform. Not so easy would be an invitation to the Emperor's Ball, held once a year in the Redoute Chamber Wing. Hofburg also houses the National Library and a series of museums that would take over a week to cover in one visit.

 

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