Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Beautiful View



As promised, here are some more photos from my time in Vienna. These ones are all of the Belvedere Palace which is outside the Inner Stadt but is still well within walking distance, being just south-east of the city centre. This palace was built by Prince Eugen of Savoy who played a major role in defending Vienna and the surrounding lands from the Ottomans. He had victories in the Turkish Wars at the Relief of Vienna and at the Battle of Zenta. Napoleon quoted him as one of the seven generals whose campaigns were worthy of study in a tribute to his military skill. He is an extremely significant person in Austrian history and a monument to him is situated in the Heldenplatz.


'Belvedere' means 'Beautiful view' in Italian and indeed, the palace enjoys a stunning view over the city being on elevated ground. The palace gardens are extensive. They are enclosed by clipped hedging and were laid out in the formal French manner with gravelled walks and a number of fountains, together with a large pond in front of the Upper Belvedere. To the rear, there are stairs and cascades peopled by nymphs and goddesses that link the upper and lower parterres which survive from the original garden, but the patterned bedding was grassed over and is currently being restored. Despite this, the gardens were a pleasure to stroll around despite the blazing sun which threatened to scorch me, it was so hot!


The photo above is of the Lower Belvedere, which was built, not as a palace but as a garden villa, with an orangerie and paintings gallery, with suitable living quarters and was completed in 1716. The photo below is of one of the rooms inside which were all highly decorative and quite stunning. Unfortunately, most of the Lower Belvedere was closed to the public for restorative work but the parts I was able to see were magnificent including a wonderful gilded and mirrored room which used to be Prince Eugen's bedroom.

In 1720-1723, the Upper Belvedere, in the photo below, was built. It was originally intended to provide a suitable end to the main garden axis but it was soon enlarged to become the main summer residence of the Prince. Today, it houses a collection of paintings including many by Klimt with pride of place being given to 'The Kiss'. The central Marmorsaal was the site of the signing of the Austrian State Treaty, that formed modern Austria in 1955.

I spent an enjoyable few hours here, and simply had to sample the Belvedere Torte that was a specialty of the cafe there. I am happy to report that it was suitably rich, chocolatey and had a thin layer of moist marzipan covering it. I would be interested to see what the Belvedere is like once the gardens and Lower Palace have been restored so I guess I will just have to go back sometime. Life can be sooooo hard sometimes!

I still have more photos of Vienna to share so there is more to come.

24 comments:

R. Sherman said...

You had me until the marzipan. For the life of me, I just can't develop a taste for that.

Beautiful photos. It looks like you had perfect weather.

Cheers.

November Rain said...

WOW such a beautiful place

I think Europe has some very beautiful cities

utenzi said...

I've never been to Vienna, BK. Those pictures are AMAZING. Anytime I see things like that, it amazes me how much beauty people were able to create with relatively crude construction techniques centuries ago. And look at what we build now!

JAM said...

A very interesting read and stunning photographs. This place just begs to have it's picture taken. It's fun just being a plain old tourist sometimes.

diyadear said...

hey terrific pictires.. thanks for sharin and hope ur doing well now :)tc

Niall said...

Please excuse my lack of words..but only 'WOW' will do!

kenju said...

Utenzi is right about modern construction techniques and architecture. It cannot hold a candle to the construction of yore. How beautiful that place is. It reminds me of Versilles.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Next time you go, can I sneak into your suitcase? Be your valet? Something? Anything?

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Another fascinating set of pictures Bob-Kat. I am always overwhelmed by these enormous Palaces that were built all over Europe...The elaborate marble and everything else is just stunning to see on the one hand, but somehow almost too much, on the other, if you know what I mean...the excess of it all....As I say, it's exquisite, but at the same time the ornateness of it all seems excessive to me....Like too much chocolate...lol!
How did that cake compare to the "original" Sachetorte? Or is that like trying to compare apples and otanges? (lol) It sure sounded yummy, my dear.

.:mar said...

I have visited this place : I love your pictures and your beautiful description! I can almost hear music in the background...
It's great delight to see your pictures and to dream of that luscious Torte from the local Konditorei!

Nikki-ann said...

It certainly does look beautiful there! :)

rashbre said...

More lovely pictures as well as a sense of the fine sunny weather during your visit.

Shephard said...

Wow. Just wow. Beautiful!
~S

Melody said...

Owwww...lovely....You're lucky to live in a part of the world where trips to Vienna can happen over and over again if you wish!

Juhi said...

beautiful pics... do take a look at what i write at http://bobkatshouse.blogspot.com/

sister AE said...

Hi, Michele sent me to say "yum" and that goes not only for the torte but also the pictures and descriptions. What a nice 5-minute vacation you have given me this afternoon. And I never even left my desk!

Catherine said...

That's beautiful. I just had an e-mail from Singapore Airlines offering early bird fares to Europe for next year. Unfortunately we've spent all our money on the trip we just took :(
I hope you get to go back when the restoration is finished. Michele sent me.

craziequeen said...

Isn't Vienna beautiful?

Mind you, I'm in two minds about that statue.

Michele sent me to see more of your wonderful photos :-)

but, hey, I'm always nearby - literally!

cq

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A wonderful looking place; excellent pictures.

Michele sent me here.

Mike Davis said...

I've always adored Vienna and your pictures are fabulous.

I can never have too much baroque architecture or marzipan!

Here from Michele and glad for the trip down memory lane, this early saturday morning.

colleen said...

I was wondering when you were going to get to the food. It seems that every other blog I visit lately has photos of a trip...even mine, but there down on the page now and nothing as elegant as yours. I did tour the Biltmore Estate a few years ago which was nice, but still not quite as elegant as this. Michele sent me.

Ps said...

A friend of mine is holidaying in vienna too-and his pictures are alos amazing like yours.

Sarch said...

Beautiful pics as always my friend.

PI said...

How I wish I had paid more attention
when I visited Vienna maybe forty years ago. I didn't take notes or photos so I'm glad to see yours. At least I have a painting and I remember the delicious cakes clearly.
Michele says Hi!