Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Hofburg's Fancy Portico and Cupola

One place in Vienna that never fails to fill me with awe is the Hofburg Palace's portico and cupola, the grand entrance to the sprawling palace. The first time I walked through, a young musician was playing Pachelbel's Canon in D on his electric violin. Between the sweet sounds and the amazing sights, it was a magical moment that I'll never forget. If I ever am lucky enough to re-experience that moment, I'll be sure to make a video for you but, for now, let's take a walk through the portico.

The Hofburg, home to the Austrian monarch for more than 600 years, was originally a 13th century medieval castle. This part of the palace, known as the Michaelertrakt (St. Michael's Wing, named for the church it faces), is relatively new. Built in the late 1800s under Ferdinand Kirschner, it was designed by Austria's favorite Baroque architect, Fischer von Erlach who lived from 1656 to 1723.

This photo is something of a mystery to me. In reality, the entire area is painted in shades of white and taupe and there are no colored lights that I can see, yet this one evening, the outside and two inner areas photographed in pastel shades of blue, gold and green. This view is from the inner courtyard facing toward the wrought iron gate.

Here the walkways have a pinkish cast, another illusion, but you can see that the area is not green as the previous photo would lead you to believe. Still, optical illusions aside, the craftsmanship on every surface is amazing, is it not?

Now, if we'll look up...Wow! Oh, sorry, this always takes my breath away:

This grand entrance leads to the Amalienburg part of the palace and the apartments of the beloved Empress Elisabeth ("Sisi").

I want to look up at that dome again, don't you?


  1. Dear Martha! First let me say thank you for your wonderful blog and interesting posts and photos! I`m in love with this amazing city. That place in Hofburg palace is my favorite, i love to come there in the morning when sunshine lights up the cupola, very beautiful!

  2. Dear Aiko,
    Thank you! I'm glad to hear we share an appreciation for this beautiful city. Thanks to your comment, I'm going to have to make more trips to the Hofburg in the early morning to see what I can see.