Schonbrunn: a Summer Palace in Winter

January 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Rosa Room at the Schloss Schonbrunn. Photo credit: http://www.schoenbrunn.at.

December doesn’t have the perfect weather, and certainly not the perfect season to see a palace built as a summer residence, which has a name that means “Beautiful Spring”. However, if you ever find yourself in Vienna, spare a few hours and visit the Schonbrunn… even if it’s hailing outside.

Inside the palace, I first noticed a repeating colour story: Pure white wall decorated with stucco in gold. Then I began to greedily staring at the silky dresses in the oil paintings, the puffy damask chairs with dainty legs, the complicated clock in gold sculpted with little angels which was placed religiously on top of a marble table, and the elaborate ceramic stove with floral detaills around the corner… Everything screamed “craftsmanship”. I walked through rooms after rooms, every room has a different atmosphere and style, but I didn’t see a single corner which wasn’t decorated lavishly.

Porcelain Room in the Scholoss Schonbrunn. Photo credit: http://www.schoenbrunn.at

I particularly loved a small corner called the Porcelain Room. It was Maria Theresa’s study, and she played card games there as well. The colour story of this room was ivory white and blue. Visitors were surrounded by lots of blue images. To me, they almost looked like some comic strips to me, depicting some casual scenes from their daily life.

Great Gallery at the Schloss Schonbrunn. Photo credit: http://www.schoenbrunn.at

Then it was the Great Gallery. With the huge windows, crystal mirrors and chandeliers, this part of the palace is simply dazzling. Lots of visitors took a seat along the side of the room, and just kept their head up looking at the fresco and the stucco. It was a perfect place to just sit down and imagine beautiful people in the 18th century, dancing to the music of Mozart under the warming glows of the candle light. Wait…… were those real candles? The answer is, of course, no. What raised that thought was that, the Schloss Schonbrunn installed some special electric candles to imitate real candle lights: The bulbs are on coil spring, so they bounce a bit, and they are set to flicker intermittently. It really helps to take you back in time and just imagine… imagine that hundreds of years ago, somebody stood inside this very same magnificent room, and glazed into the same beautiful crystal chandelier reflecting the flickering candle lights the same way you do today! This little touch of detail is just so clever and thoughtful, every castle and palace should install them right now!

After touring the palace, I walked passed the garden (most of the plants were dead), and walked up the Gloriette. It was a nice 20min hike from the palace, as I walked slow and stopped along the way to take pictures and look at the gooses. When I finally made it to the top, I was rewarded with a view of the palace against a lovely backdrop of the city of Vienna.

Looking over the Schonbrunn Palace from up top at the Gloriette. Vienna. Dec 11, 2011.

To take a virtual tour of the Schloss Schoenbrunn, please visit: www.schoenbrunn.at

*Since photography is not allowed inside the Palace. All the images showing the inside of the palace were taken from the website http://www.schoenbrunn.at. I don’t have any rights to these images.

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