Schönbrunn Palace (German: Schloss Schönbrunn [ʃøːnˈbʁʊn]) is a former imperial summer residence located in modern Vienna, Austria. The 1,441-room Rococo palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural and historical monuments in the country. Since 1960s it has been a major tourist attraction. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans over 300 years, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.
The sculpted garden space between the palace and the Sun Fountain is called the Great Parterre. The French garden, a big part of the area, was planned by Jean Trehet, a disciple of André Le Nôtre, in 1695. It contains, among other things, a Maze.
The complex however includes many more attractions: Besides the Tiergarten, an orangerie erected around 1755, staple luxuries of European palaces of its type, a palm house (replacing, by 1882, around ten earlier and smaller glass houses in the western part of the Park) is noteworthy. Western parts were turned into English garden style in 1828–1852. At the outmost western edge, a Botanical Garden going back to an earlier arboretum was re-arranged in 1828, when the Old Palm House was built. A modern enclosure for Orangutans, was restored besides a restaurant and office rooms in 2009.
The Great Parterre of Schönbrunn is lined with 32 sculptures, which represent deities and virtues.
Originally known as the Ruin of Carthage, the Roman Ruin is a set of follies that was designed by the architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg and erected as an entirely new architectural feature in 1778. Fully integrated into its parkland surroundings, this architectural ensemble should be understood as a picturesque horticultural feature and not simply as a ruin, which due to lack of maintenance it had increasingly grown to resemble prior to its recent restoration.
The fashion for picturesque ruins that became widespread with the rise of the Romantic movement soon after the middle of the 18th century symbolize both the decline of once great powers and the preservation of the remains of a heroic past. Erected at the same time not far from the Roman Ruin, the Obelisk Fountain was intended to complete the iconographic program of the park at Schönbrunn as a symbol of stability and permanence.
The Roman Ruin consists of a rectangular pool enclosed by a massive arch with lateral walls, evoking the impression of an ancient edifice slowly crumbling into the ground. In the pool in front of the ruin is a seemingly haphazard arrangement of stone fragments supporting a figural group which symbolizes the rivers Vltava and Elbe.
The Schönbrunn Palace Silver Coin:
The palace was recently selected as the main motif of a high value commemorative coin: the Austrian 10-euro The Palace of Schönbrunn silver coin, minted on October 8, 2003. The obverse shows the central part of the frontage of the palace behind one of the great fountains in the open space.
Activities at Schönbrunn Today:
Schönbrunn is Vienna's most popular tourist destination, attended by 2,600,000 visitors in 2010. The whole Schönbrunn complex with Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Palmenhaus, Wüstenhaus and the Wagenburg, accounted for more than five million visitors. At the official website tickets can be purchased in advance for tours. In addition to tours and tour packages, many classical concerts featuring the music of Mozart and his contemporaries can be enjoyed with the added benefit of more time in the spectacular halls, Orangerie, or Schlosstheater. The Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn is held every year.