Erzbischöfliches Palais, Vienna:
Palace of Vienna′s Cardinal
The Erzbischöfliches Palais is the palace of the cardinal of Vienna and can be found right next to the Stephansdom Cathedral. From the outside, the palace is anything but remarkable, and apart from an art gallery and a museum, most of it is still being used by the Archdiocese of Vienna and not interesting to the general public. However, the palace is one of the oldest significant "Palais" of Vienna. If you go to the Wien Museum on Karlsplatz, have a look at the model of Medieval Vienna. On this model you can see only few buildings standing out from the city - among them the Hofburg, the Stephansdom and the very Erzbischöfliches Palais.
The palace dates back to the year 1276, when the first court was built here to serve the priest of the parish (Vienna was not seat of a bishop back then and subject of the diocese of Passau). In 1469, Emperor Friedrich III (the first Habsburg Emperor that created a the long line of Habsburg Emperors lasting until 1804 or 1918 (depending on what empire you consider). To emphasise the role of Vienna as the capital of Austria and the Imperial Residential City, Friedrich III achieved Vienna′s elevation to a bishop′s seat. The Erzbischöfliches Palais was then called "Bischofshof" or "Probsthof". In 1579, the building was officially extended - but actually more or less re-built from the foundations, under the rule of Bishop Caspar Neubeck.
In 1627, a fire destroyed large parts of Vienna, including the Erzbischöfliches Palais. It was re-built in its current style and shape between 1632 and 1641. The architect in charge was Giovanni Coccapani. In 1723, the diocese of Vienna was lifted to the rank of an "Erzdiözese" or Archdiocese. This was done under the rule of Bishop Siegmund Count of Kollonitsch; since then, the building is known as Erzbischöfliches Palais.
Erzbischöfliches Palais, Vienna: What to note
In the late 19th century, a new floor was added and in 1933, the "Dom- and Diözesanmuseum" (museum of the cathedral and diocese) was opened on the premises. A very important event in the history of Austria took place in 1938, when the Hitlerjugend (the Nazi youth organisation) occupied the Erzbischöfliches Palais and demolished the interiors in reaction to a critical and passionate speech of Cardinal Innitzer.
Noteworthy about the Palais is the Andreaskapelle, a Gothic chapel that dates back to the original construction of 1276; it was re-built in its current style in 1638. The building is well-known for its Baroque staircase (Puttenstiege) and the library and archives of the - now - Cardinal of Vienna.
Attractions nearby are numerous, so I will recommend only the most immediate ones: Obviously the Stephansdom, the Haas-Haus and the Graben shopping lane with the Pestsäule; the Zacherlhaus (for people with an interest in modern architecture), the Kammeroper, the Griechenkirche (and the Griechenkirche St. Georg); the Heiligenkreuzerhof and Bernardiskapelle; and the Kornhäslturm. The Stadttempel is within walking distance, too.
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