The Upper Belvedere after Prince Eugene

Upper Belvedere, image © Belvedere, Vienna
Upper Belvedere © Belvedere, Vienna
Upper Belvedere, Marble Hall, image © Margherita Spiluttini
Upper Belvedere © Belvedere, Vienna

 

During the Biedermeier era, the Belvedere was popular not only as a museum, but also as a venue for all sorts of events, from firework displays to circus performances and even Eskimo show rides. In winter, the pond was transformed into a skating rink.

 

In 1848, the Belvedere Park became a military camp for the Mobile Guard, which fought against the imperial troops. Afterwards, the director of the Belvedere at the time, J.P. Krafft, carried out extensive restoration and refurbishments of the baroque substance and created the present-day accesses to the palace complex.

 

From 1888 onwards, the imperial painting collection was relocated from the Belvedere to the recently opened Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art history museum) at Burgring, which was opened in 1891.

 

 

The Upper Belvedere underwent a period of reconstruction and modernisation from 1897, based on plans by the architect Emil von Förster, for the Austrian crown prince Franz Ferdinand, so that the imperial family was able to reside there from 1899. In course of his marriage life with Sophie Gräfin Chotek, further changes were made. After the assassination of the throne successor and his wife in Sarajevo, the palace stood empty. 

 

In 1919, the Belvedere passed into the ownership of the Republic of Austria and was successively adapted as a museum. 

 

In 1944 and 1945, both the palaces were severely damaged due to air attacks. The damage was later repaired in the course of prudent restoration work after the war. 

 

The most important event in the post-war history is the celebratory signing of the Austrian State treaty on 15th May 1955 in the Marble Hall of the Upper Belvedere, restoring sovereignty to Austria. The Marble hall, which has been preserved in its original form, is the central ceremonial room of the Upper Belvedere and is open to the public.

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