Friday 4 November 2011

Vienna-Schonbrunn Palace

Schnonbrun Palace ,Vienna
Schonbrunn Palace . Schonbrunn means beautiful spring. The day we landed at the palace it was raining and also chilly, and we were inappropriately dressed. But the sheer grandeur of the place and the building made us forget the discomfort and we moved ahead to take in the entire magnificence of the palace of Empress Maria Theresa. She inherited the palace and the Empire from her father Emperor Charles VI  who at the  time was the Emperor of an empire which was so vast that  the sun never set in it. A mother of 16 children (one of whom  was Marie Antoinette who was beheaded and another who was married to Napoleon ) she, despite her gender disadvantage ruled for 40 years facing many a political storms and building alliances through the marriage of her children. She introduced many reforms like abolition of torture, death penalty,  introduction census and records (which lead to more tax revenue) etc. WA Mozart also performed at her court at the age of ten. We were taken on a conducted tour inside the palace but photography was absolutely banned. Vienna is a top destination among places to travel in Europe and the beautiful Schnonbrun Palace has been a top tourist place for 4 centuries.
Gardens of Schnonbrun, Vienna
During WWII the Palace was hit by a bomb which went through all the floors but did not explode. There were several military buildings of the Nazi Army close by.
Schnonbrun Palace Gardens,Vienna
When we visited the renovation/restoration was in progress in many parts inside the palace. There were no toilets or bathrooms inside the palace although there was no shortage of Chinese and Japanese style rooms.
Scnonbrun Palace Compound, Vienna
In one of the paintings a monkey was shown taking lice out of the hair of people for a charge levied by the owner of the suitably trained monkey. People used to have a bath once in a month and get by using copious amounts of perfume. In such circumstances the monkey was not only needed but also assured of a handsome income.
Statues at Schnonbrun Palace
The Hapsburgs who ruled Austria lost power at the beginning of World War I and despite efforts could not come back to power. The Austrian people did not want them. The present day Hapsburgs are still around, not in power, but extremely wealthy.

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