(photo by Ryan Hadley)
The Imperial Palace or Hofburg was completed at the end of the 14th century. After that the building was reconstructed and extended several times. The main reconstruction was ordered by Maria Theresia in 18th century. In this time the palace acquired its nowadays Barouque and Rococo motifs. The building is flanked by graceful domed towers. Most of the rooms and halls are decorated with pictures depicting the portraits of Hansburg family members. It has two wings starting from the "Giant's Hall" or the "Riesensaal", which has a central position in the palace. This is a 31m long hall on two storeys, lavishly decoarated with gold and porcelain, featuring a gorgeous ceillings with frescoes and walls adorned with portraits of Maria Theresia and her family. All of her 16 children, depicted on the walls, have almost identical faces. It is possible that the artist made them similar in order to avoid any royal wrath aroused by the beauty rivalry between the empress’ children. The structure also has a Gothic Cellar which is offered for special occasions. There are guided tours included in the admission ticket rate, but unfortunately they are held in German only. However, visitors can buy a booklet in English at the entrance. The Hofburg entrance ticket costs € 7.00 for adults, euro; 5.00 for seniors and euro; 1.10 for students.