An enchanting garden, historically significant buildings and several prestigious art collections make Schloss Belvedere a visitor magnet – for tourists, but also for natives who like to come back and take a break from their everyday lives by immersing themselves in a piece of Viennese culture and history.Schloss Belvedere is an UNESCO world cultural heritage site and, with 1,427,225 recorded visitors in 2017, still one of Vienna's most-frequented attractions. Divided over two baroque palaces and several other magnificent buildings, and framed by an artistically laid out park, the complex offers a broad range of culture and fascinating architectural details.
What Belvedere has to do with the underworldSchloss Belvedere consists essentially of the Upper Belvedere and the Lower Belvedere. The Upper Belvedere, the most magnificent part of the palace complex, with the famous, recently renovated staircase, is located at an altitude of 23 metres above the Lower Belvedere – the two are connected by a perron or external stairway. This on its own does not make the Lower Belvedere the underworld. No, it's a totally different story: the design of the garden, which began as far back as 1700, is themed around the ancient Greek myth of ascending from the underworld to Olympus. The sculptures in the park of the one-time summer residence of a famous military leader, Prince Eugene, tell exactly this story.
Art in the BelvedereAlongside the two palace buildings, the complex also includes the Orangerie and the Palace Stables, whose respective names actually do have something to do with oranges and stables. The Orangerie was once a heatable building used to keep orange trees in the winter. The Palace Stables which, like the Orangerie, today houses art exhibitions, was where Prince Eugene once kept his horses.
And apropos art exhibitions: as well as its architecture, the Belvedere is famous for its exhibitions and its own important art collections. The focus is on Austrian painters from several centuries. Among many other things, the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere is home to the largest Klimt collection in the world.