Great Places Wednesday: Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial 1,441-room Rococo summer residence in modern Vienna, Austria. One of the most important cultural monuments in the country. The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.

In the year 1569, the Roman Emperor Maximilian II purchased a large floodplain of the Wien river beneath a hill, situated between Meidling and Hietzing, where a former owner, in 1548, had erected a mansion called Katterburg. The emperor ordered the area to be fenced and put game there in order to serve as the court’s recreational hunting ground. The name Schönbrunn (meaning “beautiful spring”), has its roots in an artesian from which water was consumed by the court. The sculpted garden space between the palace and the Sun Fountain is called the Great Parterre.