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Already in 2016, at the invitation of my excellent friend (so good that he put up with me for 5 days), I found myself not anywhere but in the heart of Austria and, more precisely Vienna. As a good guide, he introduced me to one of the capital sights, and the pearl in this tour turned out to be the Belvedere Palace.
Limited in time, I didn’t have the opportunity to run around with the camera, but here’s a quick crucible through the garden. I present to you four panoramas from the main alley and one of the big lake.
Unfortunately, at that time, I was not particularly prepared for this tour of Vienna (as places to shoot or additional information on where and what exactly to visit). Still, over time our paths crossed with an exceptional person who, in addition to being like a mobile encyclopedia Vienna is a fascinating storyteller and most of all a professional guide. Let me introduce you to Mrs. Diana Piperova. And as I described above, she has something to tell you:
Vienna is sometimes called the “baroque pearl”, and the bash pearl in its baroque architecture is the Belvedere Summer Palace. It is so elegant and beautiful that you will think it is at least royal if you look at it. Nothing like that it was built by order of a general, but not anyone, and perhaps the greatest in the military history of Austria – Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736). Nature was not very generous to his appearance, but on the other hand, he endowed him too richly with intelligence, courage and refined taste. Born and raised in Paris, he had a lot of blue blood but no prospect of inheriting any wealth. After an unhappy childhood and the alternative of wearing his hated robe (after the Sun King shattered any hope of a military career dream because you see, he did not want to have such an ugly soldier in his army), the prince fled Paris. Only with the clothes on his back and his father’s sword did he find himself in the right place at the right time. Vienna was tightened in the circle of the Second Ottoman Siege (1683), and the whole of Europe watched the outcome with anxiety. In just four months, the prince, who had fought like a little devil, became the bearer of golden spurs and already commanded a regiment. A stellar career followed, and he was richly rewarded with each victory. The prince, who came as poor as a church mouse, became the richest man in the empire after the emperor. The great wealth met with a very refined taste and this wonderful palace was obtained. Prince Eugen not only appreciated but also understood art. When a collection was sold out, he did not save money to buy the most valuable exhibits. Not that he himself was infinitely modest to himself; for example, his uniform made him sew from the robe of a Capuchin monk.
Belvedere is among gardens worthy of its splendor. In fact, the story begins with them. Gradually buying more than 150 acres outside the city walls with the best view of it (not in vain Belvedere means “beautiful view” in Italian), the prince hired Dominic Girard, a Le Notre student himself, who created the Gardens of Versailles. He even had a palace painted to begin with the garden celebrations.
For the palace (actually, these are two palaces – the Lower and the Upper Belvedere) he trusted the architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt, who, like him, was half Italian. In front of us is the Upper Belvedere, built in the period 1720-23. However, a little later, it was necessary due to problems with the statics in the so-called “Raft terrain”, which was largely open to the gardens, to add additional “Atlanteans”. These tense muscular male figures are probably the only ones who really carry weight here. Hildebrandt chose the pavilion principle, which is why the palace looks so lively and ethereal. Each pavilion has its own roof, and they all seem to resemble Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa’s tents, who led the 2,000-strong Ottoman army besieging Vienna. This is no accident, Prince Eugene himself asked for it and the lake in front of the south facade. He wanted his distinguished guests, entering through one of the most beautiful wrought-iron portals in Vienna, to see his palace twice – once in the open and once reflected in the water. The baroque garden in front justifies its name “tapestry” because the flower alleys seem to be embroidered with a beautiful tapestry.
The palace still had its life after the death of Prince Eugene of Savoy. His only heiress, Victoria, sold off his fabulous collections (his contemporaries valued only 15,000 volumes at a value greater than the two palaces combined) and the lavish furnishings. Empress Maria Theresa came into Belvedere’s possession (actually the name is from then on), with a garden party for 6,000 guests here celebrated the wedding of her youngest daughter Maria Antonia with the French heir to the throne (poor future French Queen Marie Antoinette). The next emperor, Joseph II, ordered the Habsburg collections from the Stalberg City Palace to be transferred here. Heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand lived here for ten years before falling victim to the 1914 Sarajevo bombing, which set off World War I. A dark page in Bulgarian history is connected with Belvedere – on March 1, 1941, Bogdan Filov signed Bulgaria’s accession to the Tripartite Pact. A few years later, on May 15, 1955, Austria’s bright and significant event took place here. In the Marble Hall of the Upper Belvedere, the ministers of the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain, and France signed the so-called A state treaty by which Austria regains its full sovereignty after ten years of occupation.
Today, the Upper Belvedere houses the Austrian Gallery, whose most famous exhibits include the original painting by Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, and many other masterpieces of medieval and Baroque art, the Biedermeier era and the Viennese Secession.
In the Lower Belvedere, where the prince lived in the summer and his former conservatory, temporary exhibitions are held, representing events in Vienna’s cultural life.
So, there are many reasons to spend at least a day at the Belvedere and enjoy the gardens’ beauty, the two palaces, the gallery and the exhibitions.
For more information on tickets and opening hours you can visit the official website of the palace: belvedere.at
My name is Diana and I have spent more than half of my conscious life in Vienna. At first, I was impressed by its luxury and purity, but still everything was foreign to me. Gradually, a year later, I began to discover and get to know her until I finally realized that she had entered my heart. And now I pass on to the guests the magic of Vienna and Austria, which has long fascinated me. Here’s what I want to do again and again!
Traveler, photographer, dreamer. And here I am, in the realization of a dream.
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