In 1736, Archduchess Maria Theresa, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, then-heiress to the vast Hapburg dominions, married Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine. As a wedding gift, her father gave her Schönbrunn, a royal hunting and recreation ground of the Imperial Family. The name Schönbrunn means beautiful spring and originated in an artesian well from which water was consumed by the court.
In 1740, Maria Theresa inherited the Hapsburg lands from her father, although she had to fight for her rights in an armed conflict known as the Seven Years' War. From the 1740s until the 1750s, she undertook an extensive remodeling and expansion of the palace to become its present form. Her husband was elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1745. Hailed as one of the most popular palaces in Vienna, Schönbrunn is now known for its exquisite interior and exterior, sculpted gardens, and rich history, making it all the more interesting to guests and visitors. Indeed, the palace is a showcase of the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.
Check out the amazing photos of the palace here.
From the mid-eighteenth century onward, it was used for balls, receptions and as a banqueting hall.
Maria Theresa wanted Gloriette to glorify Habsburg power and the Just War (a war that would be carried out of "necessity" and lead to peace). She commissioned that the "otherwise useless stone" from the near-demolition of Schloss Neugebäude be reused. The same material was also to be used for the Roman Ruin.
Roman Ruin is not really a relic straight from the Roman period, but a set of follies designed by the architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg. It was built as a new architectural feature in 1778.
A Dresden china chandelier in the china room at Schönbrunn.
In this room, Mozart made his first ever performance at the age of 6 in front of Maria Theresa.
So, do you fancy spending a night in Schönbrunn?
Learn more about Schönbrunn here.