09.26.2011 - 09.26.2011
I spent the morning at Schönbrunn Palace, the summer palace of the Habsburgs, which is just outside of the city.
The palace is huge and gorgeous. You’ll have to imagine what the inside was like (sorry, no photography was allowed). It was kind of crowded and I had to avoid some big tour groups, but I really enjoyed my walk through.
I got a ticket for the Grand Tour, which includes all the rooms of the palace that are open to the public, plus the grounds. The palace grounds are gigantic and include a zoo and many gardens. I took a little tram ride around the grounds to get a look at everything. It was a beautiful day – perfect for spending a lot of time outside.
I asked a Japanese gentleman to take my picture from the back of the palace toward the gardens. After he did, the three ladies with him asked if they could have their picture taken with me, too. So, here I am with my new Japanese friends:
The Gloriette is a separate building in the middle of the gardens. It was built in 1775 and is a focal point in the garden. Inside is a café, where I stopped for lunch.
The Gloriette also has a viewing platform on the roof, so I went up and got some beautiful views of the gardens, the palace and the rest of the city.
After some more walking through the gardens, I took the metro back into town and visited a small 14th century church called Minoritenkirche. It is not on the tourist radar, which was a nice change of pace from the palace.
Inside is a mosaic copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
Not too far from there is Judenplatz, a square in what used to be the heart of the Jewish ghetto from the 13th to the 15th centuries.
There is a Holocaust memorial in the square. It’s kind of hard to see in the pictures, but it is made to look like shelves of books. It’s meant to pay tribute to the tradition of learning in the community. Around the base, in several languages, is inscribed, “Commemoration of more than 65,000 Austrian Jews who were killed by the Nazis between 1938 and 1945.”
In 1995, archaeologists found the remains of a 13th century synagogue on this site and parts of it can be seen in the Museum Judenplatz.
In the evening, I saw a performance by the Vienna Mozart Orchestra. This small orchestra plays exclusively Mozart works – and they do it in period costumes! It’s definitely a draw for the tourists and it’s a little cheesy, but it was a lot of fun to see. The performance was in the Brahms Hall at the Musikverein, which was very pretty lit up at night.