Get a piece of Austrian history with every coffee served
Schönbrunn’s history dates back to the 14th century. The estate on the Wien River was purchased by Emperor Maximilian II in 1569 as a hunting lodge. His son Matthias reputedly discovered the “Schönen Brunnen” (Eng. “beautiful spring”) on a hunt.
In the 17th century, the estate, which served as a hunting lodge, was devastated first by the invading Hungarians and then by Turkish legions.
The estate was ransacked by the Hungarians in 1602 and by the Turks in 1683.
After the threat from the east had ceased to be, the glorious baroque palace was built according to plans by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach between 1695 and 1711.
Emperor Leopold I had the residence built for his heir apparent Joseph, but the palace wasn’t finished after Joseph’s death.
Further construction and decoration
Empress Maria Theresia ordered further construction and, along with the work to design the park site, requested that a centrepiece be constructed in the palace garden: the Gloriette.
It was built as a “temple of glory”, and probably also as a panoramic terrace, in 1775, serving the monarchs as both a place for excursions and a ballroom.
Glass windows were added to the Gloriette as early as in 1780. The impressive early neo-classical building served as a breakfast room for Emperor Franz Joseph I for some time and was used as a dining hall until the end of the Danube Monarchy.
The palace garden’s jewel was painstakingly renovated in the mid-1990s, re-establishing its erstwhile lustre. Even the early glazing was reconstructed with the help of historic photographs.
It was then that Café Gloriette opened its doors for the very first time. With a backdrop that is virtually impossible to outclass, it is without doubt one of Austria’s most impressive coffeehouses. While the days of the monarchy may be long gone, Austro-Hungarian splendour is still clearly palpable here.