Park Burggarten, together with its ‘counterpart’ Volksgarten, across from Heldenplatz, is another small park/garden in Vienna, but with very central and popular location.
Set on the Ringstrasse and bordering Hofburg (Neue Burg palace wing) and Albertina Palace, Burggarten is impossible to miss and walk through it while visiting popular Vienna attractions. It is actually great place to take a break during your city explorations.
While it is lacking ornate rose (and other floral) arrangements featured in Volksgarten, this park is popular with its simplicity and beautiful surroundings. And not to forget, the beautiful Mozart memorial, one of the most photographed landmarks in Vienna.
After the French left ruins in front of Hofburg when they left in 1809, the large area was cleaned up and redesigned. A large square, which will later be named Heldenplatz was laid down with parks from each side – Burggarten and Volksgarten.
The work on these three areas was performed from 1817 to 1821. The Burggarten, which was initially named Kaisergarten was completed in 1820. It was reserved for the imperial family as a private garden and was often visited by family members.
It was laid out in largely regular forms according to plans by the court building director Ludwig Gabriel Rémy and by the court gardener Franz Antoine the older, with direct participation and advice of Emperor Franz, who was very fond of gardening (he was also educated in gardening). Later on, the park took the shape of English-style garden.
At the northern end of the garden, Rémy built a large glasshouse between 1818 and 1820, largely using iron constructions and using a remnant of the old fortress walls as a rear wall. During 1901-1905 it was replaced by the so-called Palm House by Friedrich Ohmann.
In 1819 the early classical equestrian statue of Franz Stephan by Balthasar Moll (1781) was moved from the Paradeisgartel, in which it had stood since 1797, to the Kaisergarten. It is the oldest monumental equestrian statue in Vienna. In 1863, together with Heldenplatz and Volksgarten, Burggarten was fenced by cast-iron bars.
The construction of the Neue Burg wing (1881-1913) significantly reduced the size of the garden. Since 1919 it was renamed from Kaisergarten to Burggarten and opened to the public. Today, it is managed by the federal park service – Bundesgärten.
What to see in Burggarten?
Even though it’s quite small compared to other Vienna parks, Burggarten has few interesting landmarks.
First and foremost, there is Mozart’s memorial/monument. As we mentioned above, it’s one of the most photographed landmarks in Vienna. The marble statue depicts Mozart standing next to the music sheet stand, while the pedestal is depicting several elements of a famous composer’s life, together with several cherubs playing various instruments and reaching towards the top.
The monument was originally located in front of the Albertina palace since it was built in 1896. It suffered some damage during the last days of World War II. The monument was relocated to the Burggarten in 1953 with a memorial corner with flower arrangements depicting musical treble clef in front of it, which makes it even more attractive for photos.
The monument was designed and built by the architect Karl König and sculptor Viktor.
The pond and Hercule statue with a fountain
The sculpture of Hercules fighting the Nemean lion was relocated from the garden of the Kaunitz-Esterházy Palace in Vienna’s 6th district and was placed in the middle of the Burggarten pond in 1948. It’s easy to miss this small status, especially during the summer, when surrounding trees are full of green.
Franz Stephan Monument
The main sculpture by Balthasar Ferdinand Moll from 1781 was originally in the Paradeisgartl and was erected in the Hofburg Gardens in 1819 with a new stone plinth. It represents Emperor Franz Stephan, husband of Empress Maria Theresa, on a horse. This was the first equestrian-themed statue in Vienna but pales in comparison to Maria Theresa’s monument on the namesake square in front of Natural History and Art History Museums.
Franz Joseph Memorial
In 1904 Johannes Benk created a stone statue of the emperor for today’s Theodor Körner building in Vienna’s 14th district. Josef Tuch, a student of Benk, made a bronze replica that originally stood in Wiener Neustadt’s city park. During the Second World War, the melting down of the statue was ordered, which did not take place. The memorial has been in the Burggarten since 1957.
It depicts Emperor Franz Joseph in somewhat absent posture and looking to the ground. Very unusual to depict an emperor like this. Behind the statue is a large bedrock with plants and flowers.
A stone statue of the Catholic clergyman who died in Vienna in 1709, was created by Hans Schwathe in 1928. It is located just outside of the gate of Burggarten, towards Albertina.
The original glasshouse was built at the same time as Burggarten. It was redesigned and upgraded several times since then.
In the left part of the building, you can find the butterfly house where you can watch exotic, free-flying butterflies in a tropical environment.
The Cafe-Restaurant Palmenhaus is located in the middle part of the building. You can have a refreshing drink or have a meal during your break in between Vienna attractions and also enjoy the beautiful view of the park and surroundings.
The right part of the building is used by the federal garden administration as a storage room where also the bouquet making is situated. The preparations for the flower arrangements for some important events like the opera ball and some official receptions are done here.
Goethe monument (Goethedenkmal)
This is another monument that is just outside of Burggarten, but we can consider it as integral to the park. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was Germany’s most important writer, with epic works such as The Sorrows of Young Werther and Faust.
He was also one of the most influential thinkers in Western philosophy. The memorial was sculpted in bronze by Edmund Hellmer in 1900 and features seated Goethe.
What to do in Burggarten?
Apart from usual, walking, jogging, relaxing on the bench, and enjoying the greenery, there are a few other things you can do in Burggarten. There are regular yoga classes, especially near the pond; you can also lay down and relax on the lawn, which is actually prohibited – signs are all over the place warning people not to step on the grass.
Interestingly enough, at the end of the 1970s, with the slogan “Freedom for the Burggarten”, young people called for an end to the “lawn ban” in Vienna’s public parks and symbolically took possession of the Burggarten from May 1979 by occupying lawns on Saturdays. We believe this protest is still in place, as we can see many people nonchalantly relaxing on the lawns.
You can enjoy coffee or a refreshing drink in the Palmenhaus terrace café or just go to Burggarten to take a break between your walks in Vienna.
Unfortunately for pet owners, dogs and other pets are not allowed in the park.
Burggarten is yet another green space in Vienna with a long and interesting history. It’s a must-see park, especially when you are in central Vienna or you want to take a few photos, including of the Mozart monument. The park has a certain charm that will always drag you back to visit enjoy its tranquility in the middle of the city buzz.