10 Things You didn’t know about the Imperial Family

For 640 years the Habsburgs ruled their empire from Vienna. Examples of the capital’s rich cultural heritage and awaits you around every corner. We picked out the top 10 most interesting facts about some of the most important characters of the Imperial family and their lifestyles.

A stroll around Vienna is like a journey back in time to the city’s imperial past. Many of the city’s landmarks go back to the Baroque era, and the reign of Empress Maria Theresa. In 1857 Emperor Franz Joseph gave the order to raze the city walls and construct the Ringstrasse in their place. A stroll along the city’s showpiece boulevard is a sightseeing experience to remember, since the Ring is lined with grand buildings and beautiful parks on both sides.

The Hofburg, in the heart of the old town, served as the residence of the Habsburg emperors and empresses, and was the epicenter of this great power from 1278 to 1918. Today the extensive complex is home to a number of leading museums and official state rooms.

1. Many believe the House of Habsburg can be traced back to Guntram the Rich from the 10th It was thanks to his grandson, Radbot Count of Habsburg, who founded the Habsburg Castle, after which the Habsburgs are named.

2. The Austrian Empire went by the names of many other significant rulers over their time in power; namely King of the Romans, Holy Roman Emperors, King of Germany and King of Bohemia.

3. The Habsburgs were fond of inter-family marriages to simplify things – they even had a saying “The best spouse for an Habsburg is another Habsburg.” This was detrimental to their gene pool that it snuffed out the Spanish Habsburgs entirely!

4. Emperor Joseph II was a more decisive ruler than his mother, Maria Theresa, who put forth an average of 690 decrees a year!

5. Joseph II was nicknamed the “Enlightened Despot” thanks to his progressive thinking and abolished press censorship, serfdom and limited the power of the Catholic church.

6. Empress Maria Theresa was not only Joseph II’s mother, but she was the mother of Marie Antoinette, future Queen of France, too – among her 16 children in total!

7. Schönbrunn Palace became the centre of court life during Maria Theresa’s rule, so much so that she invited a young Mozart to play his very first concert at the age of six to entertain her guests in the resplendent Mirror Room.

8. Empress Sisi was another well known member of the Austrian Empire, born into Bavarian royalty, her early customs and entiquette were very informal compared to those of the Habsburg household, into which she moved at the tender age of 16.

9. Empress Sisi was believed to have obsessive tendencies towards her vanity, including spending hours on her hair styles every day and demanding to be hand sewn into her leather corsets to retain her youthful figure.

10. Visitors to the Hofburg Imperial Palace can see the Sisi Museum, dedicated to the life of Empress Sisi, which includes personal artefacts and extracts from her tireless beauty regime.

Secret Tip:  Visit the magnificent exhibition of the House of Habsburg in the Hofburg and learn more curious facts about the Habsburgs!

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