A little place in town for poor old Count Batthyány back in the late 1600s meant an imposing new palais built by an imperial architect. Palais Schönborn-Batthyány remains an excellent example of Baroque architecture.
- Built at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries
- Event location, art gallery, and home to regular concerts by the Vienna Baroque Orchestra
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NB: Event details can change at short notice, so check with official homepages for up-to-date info and their current COVID status/test requirements.
Baroque building, baroque orchestra
When you need a place to stay in town and you’re a count, you don’t settle for a one-bedroomed flat above a burger joint.
First, you buy a piece of land, like Count Batthyány did in the late 1690s when he purchased the Schlögelhof in what is now Vienna’s centre.
Then you tear down much of the old building and get a decent architect in to design you a new one. Batthyány, veteran of Turkish wars and the Viceroy of Croatia for the Habsburgs, picked (as far as we can tell) a certain Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach to put up his townhouse.
(Salomon Kleiner (drawer), Johann August Corvinus (copper engraver), Johann Andreas d. Ä. Pfeffel (publisher), “Prospect deß Gräffl: Pahtianischen Palatii” (Palais Batthyány-Schönborn, Renngasse), 1725, Wien Museum Inv.-Nr. 105765/59. Excerpt reproduced with permission under the terms of the CC0 licence)
Unsurprisingly, Fischer von Erlach did a pretty decent job with the palais. After all, this was a man whose portfolio includes such iconic Viennese buildings as Schönbrunn Palace and the Karlskirche church.
Batthyány’s widow sold the palais a few years later to Count Friedrich Karl Schönborn. And so we have the origin of the name for this beautiful late Baroque building that has survived world wars and regime changes largely intact.
Today’s Palais Schönborn-Batthyány serves as an event location, business premises, and exhibition venue for the W&K art gallery. But that’s not all…
At the time of writing, the Vienna Baroque Orchestra uses the historically-appropriate location as a venue to present classical music and opera from the likes of Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven, and other famous names of the past.
Concerts take place (in normal times) on 5-6 days of the week, with tickets available through the orchestra’s website.
How to get to the Palais
(The entrance portal to Palais Schönborn, photographed sometime between 1884 and 1894. Photo provided courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)
The Palais sits just off the Freyung, home to the Schottenstift museum and rather nice seasonal markets at Christmas and Easter. The area is close to the very centre of Vienna, just up from where the first dukes set up home in a little town on the Danube.
Subway: two stations within a short walk of Palais Schönborn-Batthyány are Herrengasse (U3 line) and Schottentor (U2 line)
Tram/bus: various trams pull in to Schottentor, too, including the 1, D, 71, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44 (it’s the starting/end station for many of those tram lines). Alternatively, take trams 1, D or 71 to the Börse stop and walk on down. The old town buses stop nearby, as well: Teinfaltstraße (line 1A ) or Renngasse (1A, 2A and 3A)
Address: Renngasse 4, 1010 Vienna | Website