Hofburg Palace from Heldenplatz Square

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View on the Hofburg Palace from Heldenplatz

The Hofburg was the central palace of the Habsburg family ever since the late Middle Ages. Today, it is one of the most important tourist attractions of Vienna, but due to its absurd size, the Hofburg also provides space for the Austrian National Library, the Spanish Riding School, a convention centre, the representative rooms for the Austrian president, several museums, university institutes and ballrooms, a monastery and a café. Apart from a whole bunch of other, small things. Two parks are associated with the Hofburg.

One of the many strange features of the Hofburg is the almost complete lack of symmetry - which is particularly odd since most of it either dates back to the Baroque age or was inspired by it. And the rules of symmetry in architecture were strict in Baroque. Another peculiarity of the Hofburg can be derived from its "diversity" in terms of age: Some parts are Medieval, others Renaissance, yet others Baroque. The most pompous and bizarre wings of the Hofburg were added in the late 19th century and the construction ended with the end of the Empire in the early part of the 20th century. All this makes the Hofburg a rather colourful piece of architecture.

The part on display on the picture above is the most recognisable one, the new wing from the early 20th century. I took the picture from Heldenplatz square in summer 2008. Note the nice lawn - this was just after the European football championship of the UEFA had devastated the original lawn and a new one was just opened to the general public.