The Burggarten

A garden for emperors

A monument in Vienna's Burggarten

Framed by the Hofburg, the Burgring and the Albertina, the Burggarten is a small patch of green on a privileged piece of earth, privileged in the truest sense of the word: during the monarchy it was the private garden of the imperial city residence. And even now an illustrious group is gathered here: Mozart, Goethe and the Emperors Franz Joseph and Franz I., admittedly without ever getting too close to each other – the memorials are firmly mounted on their pedestals.The Burggarten was established by a gardener. Admittedly, not just any gardener: Emperor Franz I, who commissioned the construction of the park in 1819, also played a significant role in its realization. Under Emperor Franz Joseph I it was transformed into an English landscape garden.

There’s no lighter and airier place to spend a coffee-break in the middle of the city! The stylish café in the old glasshouse, the fluttering butterflies and the greenery and fresh air next to the emperor’s winter palace – pure quality of life in Vienna.

The next milestone

followed at the turn of the century: the magical Palmenhaus, built over five years based on plans by Friedrich Ohmann, is still regarded as one of the most beautiful Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) glasshouses. It was built as a place of relaxation for the royal family: sitting under 10-metre-high palms it’s still a pleasure to while away the leisurely hours with a Melange and an Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel) – especially if you let your eyes wander through the glass to the adjacent Schmetterlingshaus (butterfly house), full of colorful, fluttering butterflies.

The palm house

Coffeehouse Palmenhaus

 Burggarten picnic

Accessible to all

What must it have been like for the residents of Vienna, when in 1919 this space formerly reserved for the royal family opened up its gates to the people? The young people of the city who spend their free time on the lawns and the steps have apparently got used to the splendor. But even today you have to stop and marvel: the imperial grandeur is still to be felt, and the people’s enjoyment of the park today is not too far removed from the Emperor’s original idea – only now this privileged piece of ground belongs to everyone.

Text: Agnes Hamberger, Fotos: Christine Wurnig