Vienna Photos: Belvedere Palace, Vienna

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Back-side of Belvedere Palace with Baroque flowerbeds in the foreground

The palace of Belvedere is one of the most famous Baroque buildings of Vienna and a must-see for every visitor of the Austrian capital. It is home to the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, sort of the national gallery of Austria. This and the impressive architecture makes the Belvedere the perfect attraction for a rainy day; although the extensive formal gardens of the Belvedere make it even more appealing when the sun shines.

The Belvedere was designed by Lukas von Hildebrandt and built for the "liberator of Vienna", the Habsburg′s general Prince Eugene of Savoy. Since Eugene had earned his reputation in the liberation of Vienna at the second Turkish siege in 1683, there are many references to this event in the Belvedere.

Turkish prisoners are a popular decorative element and the green copper-roofs are meant to resemble the tents of the Ottoman army. Recently, the gardens of Schloss Belvedere and the orangery were refurbished. The current palace still fails to meet its original size and splendour of the 18th century, but to me, the Belvedere is in many respects more impressive than even the Imperial Palace of Schönbrunn. If you stand at the Upper Belvedere (Oberes Belvedere, there are two - a smaller palace with the former stables is situated at the bottom of the hill), you can enjoy a great view on the city centre of Vienna. Thus the name "Belvedere" (French for "kick-ass view").