Vienna and monuments - where the Habsburgs lived, celebrated and died
The Habsburgs left in Vienna a legacy of many interesting monuments. Look into the St. Stephan's Cathedral, whose task was to overshadow the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, discover why Habsburg nobility was not allowed to enter the Imperial tombs, and where are the hearts of the Habsburgs family. You can also go on a tour to the winter residence of the Imperial Palace, where the most beautiful lady in Vienna - Empress Sisi, who is known for her obsession with thinness, lived.
Vienna and monuments no. 1: St. Stephan's Cathedral
St. Stephan's Cathedral has been the heart of Vienna for centuries. The construction of the building started in 1137 and ten years later was completed. At that time, nobody could have guessed that more than two centuries later Rudolf IV, called the Founder, ordered reconstruct of Romanesque temple, which got new gothic coat.
The church was originally dedicated to St. Stephen. The towers dated to the Roman period, were built from 1230 to 1245. The fire destroyed the church thirteen years later. It was necessary to start reconstruction, which was completed in 1263. Former monarch Albert I was not satisfied with the final version so he ordered to bring Gothic elements to the construction. His son and grandson - Rudolf IV continued in his plans. Rudolf IV decided that St. Stephan's Cathedral becomes a religious center of the Austrian Empire. St. Stephan's Cathedral should overshadow the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
Stephansdom, as the locals call the cathedral, cannot be missed in Vienna. Its roof is Viennese masterpiece. Even from a distance you can see the two-headed eagle that is the symbol of the Habsburg emperors and two one-headed eagles that represent Vienna and Austria. The number 13 is magically associated with the cathedral. The evidence is the number of bells that start ringing during the New Year's celebration. The most famous of the 13 bells is undoubtedly Pummerin, which is known as the second largest church bell hanging in Europe. A series of threes also appears on the way to the watchtower. 343 steps lead you to the place, where you can enjoy city view. Vienna and its famous monuments are worth to visit.
Cathedral now serves as the residence of bishops and archbishops of Vienna and is the final resting place of prominent personalities, including famous composer W. A. Mozart, who even married his true love here. St. Stephan's Cathedral is also known for its myths. There are rumors that strange imprints are on the left side of the main entrance. They were probably created by measuring the sizes of loaves of breads from dissatisfied customers ...
Vienna and monuments no. 2: Imperial Crypt
More than 149 Habsburgs, including 12 emperors and 19 empresses, have been buried beneath the Capuchin Church since 1633. You might know some of them such as Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I Stephen of Lorraine, whose double sarcophagus is a masterpiece of Balthasar Ferdinand Molls, who participated in the creation of more than 20 tombs for the imperial family of the Habsburgs. He had been working on his masterpiece for almost 21 years.
You can see next to their outstanding sarcophagus the simple coffin of their son Joseph II, whose coffin makes a contrast to the extravagant coffin of the parents. Last Emperor, who was buried here, was Franz Joseph I in 1916.
Although the bodies of prominent members of the Habsburg dynasty were stored in the Imperial Crypt, their hearts were put into the tomb of hearts in the Church of the Augustinian Friars. Why? All churches in Vienna wanted to become the final resting places of this noble dynasty. Their tombs should bring a prestige to the churches.
Burial ceremony is also very interested: The procession went to the crypt. The leading person knocked on the gate. A monk behind the door asked: "Who is there?" Spokesman of the procession introduced the deceased person with all his titles. The monk at the gate said: "I don’t know the person." The man knocked again and introduced the deceased person this time only with some of his titles. The monk at the gate said: "I don’t know the person." The third time, a man knocked on the gate, and this time he introduced the deceased person as a poor sinner. The monk liked this kind of introducing, then replied: "I know him." And let the whole procession in.
The funeral ceremony has been preserved to these days and the last was held in July 2011, when former Prince Otto von Habsburg, whose funeral was held in the crypt. Even he was not allowed to enter the crypt for the first time and he had to wait for the third knock.
Vienna and monuments no. 3: The Vienna Imperial Palace
A former medieval castle became a center of the Habsburgs. Power of this family grew as well as the size of the castle. The Imperial Palace served mainly as a winter residence of the large family. In summer, the Habsburgs gathered together at the Schönbrunn Palace. The Habsburgs lived in the Imperial Palace, which was the center of their power, until 1918. Today, you can go there to greet the President, look into the congress center or admire art treasures. You can enjoy a mass in the chapel, which is accompanied by singing of the renowned Vienna Boys' Choir every Sunday. This is a real cultural experience that the musical lovers will appreciate.
The Imperial Palace is open to the public, so you too can look into Sisi Museum, where you can see not only the objects that Empress used every day, but also portraits of the Empress, which show her obsession with thinness and beauty. You will get to know the world of Empress Sisi through exhibits, which include beautiful clothes, envelopes, first aid kit and brushes for painting.
How was a normal day monarchs? You'll find out in the Imperial Apartments, where children of Emperor Franz Joseph I played. You can peek into the conference rooms, offices, bedrooms and stylish bathrooms.
If you love jewelry and precious stones, then do not miss the Treasury, which hides the most important collection of jewels. You can see the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, the Austrian imperial crown, the Burgundian treasure and treasure of the Golden Fleece.
Spanish Riding School is the work of Emperor Charles VI, who ordered the construction of the winter riding school. Josef Emanuel Fischer von Erlach was in charge of the construction and thanks to him you you can appreciate the riding skills of world-famous Lipizzaner horses. Spanish Riding School has a long tradition, which falls into the time of the Renaissance. It is even considered as the only institution where the College of horsemanship retained in its original form.
Vienna and monuments no. 4: Church of the Augustinian Friars
As you already know, the Church of the Augustinian Friars is the place where the tomb of 54 hearts of the Habsburgs is kept. It is also the place where the wedding of Emperor Franz Joseph and Sisi, who became a symbol of Viennese beauty, took place. And they were not the only ones who got married here. In 1736, Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I Stephen of Lorraine had their wedding in church of the Augustian Friars, later Crown Prince Rudolf and Princess Stephanie, and even Napoleon with Maria Luisa married here.
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