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(Vienna time)

The Gloriette

If you looked out of Schönbrunn Palace, across the gardens and up to the crest of the hill, your eye would come to rest on the columns and arches of the Gloriette.

And that's no accident.

A regular court grumble (or so the story goes) was the lack of a fitting object for the Imperial eye as it reached the periphery of the garden view.

The gloriette from the distance

Although some kind of hilltop construction was a very long-lived twinkle in various eyes, it eventually went up in 1775 under the auspices and guidance of architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg.

He was a former theater designer, then implementing palace changes during the reign of Empress Maria Theresia.

The militaristic decor and sculptures around the building echo the Gloriette's apparent meaning as a tribute to war (which sounds better than "upmarket garden fence.")

The gloriette in close up

Since being able to see is quite as valuable as being seen, the Gloriette has a large viewing terrace from which you can look down over the palace and wider Vienna.

The view is one of the city's more romantic ones, so proves the ideal place for one or two stolen kisses from a loved one.

For those of a more practical bent, the Gloriette also houses a modern cafe of the same name, having recently been re-glassed following renovation work.

The gloriette at dusk

The cafe resonates well with an earlier use of the building; Emperor Franz Josef used it as a breakfast room.

There are two ways to reach it.

Either you go in through the main palace entrance and toil up the hill via the winding path. Or you enter the park area from the back (via the car park intended for zoo visitors), which starts you off at the top of the hill. Follow the signposts.

See the interactive map for details.