Upper Belvedere Palace, Vienna

The Belvedere is a complex consisting of two principal buildings, the Upper and Lower Belvedere, and an extensive garden designed in the manner of a formal French garden. The Belvedere palaces, minor buildings, and the gardens were commissioned by Prince Eugene of Savoy to serve as his residence in Vienna. The Prince was a renowned field marshal in his day, commanding an army of the Holy Roman Empire, and military forces of Austria’s Hapsburg dynasty. He won a key victory against the Ottoman Turks in 1697, and helped to win important battles for Austria against the French during the Napoleonic wars.

Construction of the palaces began in 1712 and was completed in 1723. Part of modern Vienna today, at the time it was built, the land the Belvedere occupies was empty and undeveloped. The park area is a couple of kilometers distant from the Hofburg, the seat of Hapsburg imperial and political power at the center of 17th and 18th century Vienna.

After the Prince of Savoy died in 1736, the Austrian state assumed control of the Belvedere. Since that time the palaces have served, for the most part, as exhibition centers and museums for a variety of art collections.

Pictured here is the facade of the Upper Belvedere seen from the southern entrance to the park. Though I was interested in the museums , by the time I arrived at the park, it was late afternoon, and since I would get little time to see the exhibits inside, I just walked through the park enjoying a beautiful, sunny autumn day.