Kaiserappartements - The Imperial Apartments

First of all, "appartement" is typically pronounced the French way in Austria, so don′t embarrass yourself at the cashier. The Kaiserappartements are the most attractive part of the Hofburg for international visitors. This is not really justified, as most of the interiors and furniture are actually stocked in the Hofmobiliendepot and there are much more elaborate apartments in Schönbrunn Palace than here. I think it is mostly the central location and the myth of Empress Elisabeth (who didn′t do much beyond being pretty) that makes the appeal. The rooms themselves are rather plain and mostly big.

The oh-so-beautiful Empress of Austria: Elisabeth

Rumour has it that even Emperor Franz Joseph I, the only Habsburg Emperor who actually happened to spend a lot of time in the Hofburg, liked the palace very much. Considering how it dwarves people, one can imagine why the aging Emperor was feeling alienated. Besides, Franz Joseph is famous for being a boring old fart who preferred to life a very humble life in his private rooms - his only pleasures being hunting and whores.

A much more intimate view on his private life (mostly the hunting aspect, that is) can be gained in Bad Ischl in the Salzkammergut, where he spent his vacations in a hunting lodge.

Ultimate Tourist Attraction: Sisi′s Pirvate Rooms

The most revealing sight in the Kaiserappartements with respect to Franz Joseph′s technophobic, humble lifestyle is his iron bed - no pomposity and a strong contrast to the architecture of the palace or the pomp and circumstance the last proper Habsburg Emperor was famous for. At least at official occasions.

The Kaiser's china

Proper kitsch can be found at the Sisi-Museum, dedicated to the life of and cult around Empress Elisabeth. The exhibition tries hard to be a bit critical, but in the end, it′s obviously a cash cow targeting the Sisi-admiring crowds. After all, it′s among Austria′s most popular museums. To see some authentic glamour, dive into the Hofsilber- und Tafelkammer ("Court Silver and Table Chamber") with a combined ticket.

Here you can find all the porcelain, glass and silverware you ever wanted to see. Highlights include pieces from the time of Empress Maria Theresia, such as a Sevres Service that Austria′s mother of the nation received as a gift by King Louis XV of France.

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Other Parts of the Hofburg

Hofburg Introduction - Albertina - Kaiserappartements - Schatzkammer Treasury - Neue Burg Gardens & Heldenplatz - Museums of Ethnology & Ephesos  - National Library - Augustinerkirche - Spanish Riding School - Burgkapelle & Vienna Boys' Choir - Arms Collection & Old Instruments

Further Reading

Official website of the Vienna Tourist Information

Wikipedia on the Hofburg

Kaiserappartments - Imperial Apartments Hofburg