Schloss Belvedere enchants us with several magnificent baroque buildings, gardens that inspire artists and invite visitors to spend some time – and with impressive art exhibitions focussing on Austrian painters down through the centuries.Fascinatingly beautiful, expansive and always worth a visit: Upper and Lower Belvedere, two baroque palaces and UNESCO world heritage site, enclose a garden whose artistic design began immediately after the land was purchased in the year 1700, making it older than the buildings themselves.
Prince Eugene and the ascent from the underworldUpper Belvedere is around 23 metres higher than Lower Belvedere, and as if in reference to this circumstance, the sculptures in the garden between them all have the ascent from the underworld as a theme.
Schloss Belvedere was once the summer residence of Prince Eugene, who gained a reputation among the Habsburgs as a military leader, and became wealthy enough to build a garden palace outside the city walls, which was the initial idea behind Schloss Belvedere. First the Lower Belvedere was built and, right beside it, the Orangery – originally a heatable winter garden for orange trees – and the Palace Stables. The word stables in the name refers to the fact that this is where Prince Eugene actually kept his horses.
The most magnificent part of the palace complex is the Upper Belvedere with its impressive halls, artistically designed vaults and ceilings and the magnificent staircase which was restored several years ago.
Following the eye of the painterFrom the Upper Belvedere you have a picturesque view over Vienna's inner city including the domes of the Karlskirche and Stephansdom. Literally picturesque you might say – because the Venetian painter Bernardo Bellotto, known as Canaletto, captured this very view in a picture he painted around 1760. And that's why this perspective of the historical centre of Vienna has been known for generations as "the Canaletto view", while Schloss Belvedere itself takes its name from "beautiful view".
Several sections of the Belvedere are home to important art collections and changing exhibitions with works from various époques – from the Middle Ages right into the 21st century. Among other things, the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere contains the world's largest collection of works by Gustav Klimt –"The Kiss" can also be seen here.