Schönbrunn Palace, situated in Hietzing, Vienna, was the principal summer residence of the Habsburg rulers. The name Schönbrunn (meaning “beautiful spring”) has its roots in an Artesian well from which the court consumed water.
One of the most significant architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country is the 1,441-room Rococo palace. The history of the palace and its extensive gardens spans more than 300 years, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of the successive monarchs of Habsburg. Since the mid-1950s, it has been a significant tourist attraction.
In 1569, under a hill between Meidling and Hietzing, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II purchased a large floodplain of the Wien River. A mansion named Katterburg was erected by the former owner in 1548. In order for it to serve as the recreational hunting ground of the court, the emperor ordered the area to be fenced and put game such as pheasants, ducks, deer and boar there. “Exotic” birds such as turkeys and peafowl have been kept in a small, separate part of the area. Fishponds have been constructed as well.
The sculptured space in the garden between the palace and the fountain of Neptune is called the Great Parterre. Jean Trehet, the disciple of André Le Nôtre, planned the French garden, a major part of the area, in 1695. It contains, among other things, a labyrinth.
However, the complex includes many more attractions: in addition to the Tiergarten, an orangery built around 1755, the staple luxuries of its type of European palaces, a palm house (replacing about ten previous and smaller glass houses in the western part of the park by 1882) is noteworthy. In 1828-1852, the western parts were converted into the English garden style.