Schönbrunn – the Habsburgs’ imperial showpiece
Schönbrunn Palace is presented to the millions of tourists from all over the world who visit it annually as the symbol of Habsburg glory and imperial splendour. It was begun as an ambitious project to reinforce claims of imperial sovereignty, but it was Maria Theresa who breathed life into the palace, putting her own stamp on it like no other member of the Habsburg Dynasty. Created as a Habsburg family monument, Schönbrunn was her life’s work, a legacy to posterity that continues to endure, long after the end of Habsburg rule.
The park at Schönbrunn also reveals much about the Habsburgs who resided there. While the monumental architectural features of the gardens and the geometric network of avenues express their claim to sovereign power, some parts of the grounds reveal the personal predilections of the Habsburgs and bear witness to their deep love of nature.
In 1996 the palace and park were placed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site List as one of the most important cultural monuments in Europe.