Lying in the west of the city in the suburb of Hietzing, Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens are one of the most important complexes of their type in the world. After the previous buildings on this site had been devastated during the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, the grandiose designs dreamed up by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach for Schönbrunn became a projection surface for the Habsburg aspirations to Great Power status.
Started in 1696, the palace and its park were fundamentally remodelled by Maria Theresa after 1743. The neo-Baroque alterations undertaken in the nineteenth century drew on the epoch of Maria Theresa, which was regarded as the golden age of Habsburg power.
After 1918 Schönbrunn passed into the ownership of the Republic of Austria, and today is the most frequently visited cultural monument in Austria while at the same time providing an important recreational amenity for the city’s inhabitants.