Vienna owes its unique historical architecture, which evolved over centuries, to its role as the capital and residence of the Habsburg dynasty. No other city in Europe has seen so many national and cultural influences converge over such a long period of time, and they continue to shape the city, its surroundings and Austria to this day. This development is undoubtedly also an essential historical reason for the fact that Vienna has been ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit for several years as one of the most livable cities in the world, and its city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city on the Danube was settled by the Romans in the first century AD as a military camp called Vindobona due to its convenient location. They introduced wine growing, which is still practised across more than 600 hectares in the city and has become an indispensable part of Viennese social life. In the Middle Ages, the city experienced its first golden era as a trading post for goods from all over the country. The pride and wealth of its citizens is still reflected in the city’s most famous landmark, the Romanesque-Gothic St Stephen’s Cathedral.
Ferdinand I, the Holy Roman Emperor of the Habsburg dynasty, chose Vienna as his city of residence in the mid-16th century, making it the political centre of his empire where, according to legend, the sun never set due to its immense size. This not only attracted the aristocracy, who wanted to maintain close ties with the emperor or who served him as high-ranking officials, but also brought in virtually every available artist and craftsperson from all across the empire.
The musicians who came to the city helped to establish its reputation as the capital of classical music to this day, but this era also saw a huge influx of painters, master builders, architects, gifted artisans and many others from the entire monarchy. Above all, they hoped for direct commissions from the imperial court or public contracts. The Hofburg, the residence of the imperial family, embodies the cultural heritage of the city with its impressive architectural history of over 800 years, from Gothic to Baroque to Art Nouveau.
Moreover, the numerous noble families living in Vienna also vied to commission the same craftspeople as the imperial court, and were in constant competition with each other to emulate the emperor and outshine one another with lavish displays of grandeur.
The Baroque period following the second Turkish siege of Vienna saw a major construction boom, which still defines great parts of the cityscape to this day. In addition to Baroque palaces, churches and beautiful burgher houses within the fortified city walls, magnificent summer palaces with beautiful gardens were built in the area around the city for the first time. The renowned Schönbrunn Palace was remodelled into a Baroque summer residence and used by the imperial family until the end of the monarchy in 1918. And, of course, the castles and palaces of the noble families in the area surrounding Vienna and throughout the entire Danube monarchy were also designed by the same master builders and artisans, so that they could always enjoy accommodation in keeping with their status during the sojourns and travels they made.
From the 19th century onwards, the Viennese bourgeoisie – the so-called ‘barons of industry’ – attained untold wealth. They erected feudal palaces lining the Ringstrasse, the boulevard of the monarchy, where they stand side-by-side with magnificent public buildings such as the Vienna State Opera and Parliament Building. These nouveau-riches were also drawn to nature, and as the mobilisation of Austrian society intensified via the railways and later the automobile, the beautiful Alpine landscape and Adriatic region teemed with magnificent buildings of imperial and royal architecture, from hotels to villas.
However, for a variety of reasons, many of these architectural jewels repeatedly changed hands during the imperial era, and often experienced rather chequered histories of ownership. And so, to this day, the opportunity to acquire one of these historically significant and unique properties presents itself on a regular basis – both in the city of Vienna and in the surrounding area.
Hendrich Real Estate specialises in the sale of these wonderful historical mansions and palaces, and is a competent partner in all matters relating to the purchase of historic real estate. After an in-depth conversation about your wishes and expectations, Hendrich Real Estate will show you your ideal properties and help make your real estate dreams come true.
For example, these two historic properties that Hendrich Real Estate now represents:
Mentioned for the first time in 1347, the Mühldorf Castle was converted into an extraordinary 4-star hotel in 1999-2004 with great attention to detail and an awareness of history. The approximately 23,613 m² castle grounds are currently divided into the area of the hotel and the privately held manor with three residential units.
The hotel is accommodated in the outlying Meierhof manor, the administrator’s lodge and two newly built pavilions. It comprises 35 spacious rooms, a stylish restaurant with a professional kitchen, a modern spa with a sauna, steam bath and swimming pond in the park, three event rooms and three conference rooms.
Seltenheim Castle sits enthroned on a large ice age boulder in the middle of the romantic Carinthian mountains not far from Lake Wörthersee. Therefore, the property offers a wonderfully unobstructed view of the breathtaking landscape. Mentioned for the first time in 1193, the castle has been transformed into a special kind of family seat in recent years. Done with a large financial investment, all renovations show great attention to detail and respect for the historical structure. The imposing 46,244 m² castle area is also ideal as a centre for social events.
The purchase price of €20 million relates to the building. As an option, the works of art and antiques in the castle and park as well as a modern bathhouse with direct access to Lake Wörthersee can be purchased.
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