Schloss Rodaun Palace & Bergkirche Rodaun:
Sightseeing near the vienna woods
The Palace of Schloss Rodaun is one of the few sightseeing attractions of the predominantly residential and commercial 23rd district of Vienna, Liesing. It is by far not the most impressive palace of Vienna, but worth a closer look if you happen to be in the area. Schloss Rodaun can be found in Willergasse 53 to 57 and appears to be of the neo-Classical kind. In fact, the palace was built on the foundations of a Medieval castle and "a Schloss Rodaun" dates back much further than the 19th century.
The site was occupied by some local landlord probably ever since the days of the Babenberger dukes. The oldest written record of a castle in Rodaun dates back to 1405. In 1578, the castle was refurbished and extended significantly - and it gained a Renaissance-style gate. Matching with Romantic ideas that having a ruin in your backyard is somewhat cool, a tower was kept in an artificially ruined state up to the 20th century.
The best place to study the Baroque obsession with ruins in Austria is probably the park of Schloss Schönbrunn, where tacky Las-Vegas-style Roman ruins were arranged to commemorate mortality and vanity at the heart of the blooming gardens. In the 20th century, the ruined tower of Schloss Rodaun was demolished to creat space for a new building. The Schloss Rodaun itself was refurbished extensively and now looks like a 19th century neo-Classical building.
Modern Use of Schloss Rodaun Palace
It is home to the Roman Catholic private school of Santa Christiana. The former park of Schloss Rodaun is now part of the school building. The area is worth being explored, not far from Schloss Rodaun you will find other of the sparse sights of Liesing. For example the Bergkirche Rodaun, a picturesque little church. But also the so-called Hoffmannsthal-Schlössl, the former living house of the poet and playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
The Bergkirche Rodaun is a Baroque church that sits on a 12 metre high cliff and offers a great view over what was once a village in the wider surroundings of Vienna. The Bergkirche is the most obvious landmark of Rodaun and was built between 1739 and 1744. The architect in charge was Johann Enzenhofer, the church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The cliff under the church is fortified, walls that date back to the time of the Medieval castle.
Bergkirche Rodaun: Landmark in the South of Vienna
In 1905, the church was carefully extended, since 1965 the Bergkirche is not an own parish anymore. There are statues of St. Barbara and St. Katharina that flank the church and a tower with five bells. The church was renovated in 1994. Bergkirche and Schloss Rodaun are on the border of Vienna to Perchtoldsdorf and make an excellent starting point for excursions to the Vienna woods. Hiking paths are marked.
Other attractions nearby are harder to find. The Wotrubakirche is in nearby Mauer. If you travel there by public means of transport (ie. tram 60 from Hietzing), it will take you back to subway U4 via the Tiergarten Schönbrunn and Schönbrunn Palace itself. Walking to the cemetery of Hietzing through the parks of the Imperial Palace is fun, too.
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