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Lainzer Tiergarten

Vienna Woods, once an imperial hunting ground, was enclosed within a 25-km (16- mile) long wall on the orders of Maria Theresa. The wall still stands today and successfully stops herds of deer and wild boar escaping as well as building development encroaching. The Tiergarten was opened to the public in 1923, and in 1941 the entire area was declared a nature reserve. Walks in the woods and meadows of this large park will transport the visitor into another world. It is forbidden to disturb the animals; bikes and dogs are banned, turning the reserve into a true haven for wildlife. There are now also bars and caf?s here. From the observation platform on top of Karlbrundl, there are great views over Vienna and the Vienna Woods. A 15-minute walk along paths brings you to the Hermes Villa. In 1885, the Emperor Franz Joseph I ordered a hunting lodge to be built here and presented it to his wife Elisabeth, in the hope that this would keep her close to the court and stop her from perpetually seeking to escape the clamour of the city. He did not succeed, but the beautiful Hermes Villa was built by Karl von Hasenauer as a retreat for the imperial family. The couple’s rooms were on the first floor; Elisabeth’s quarters were designed with flourish and elegance; Franz Joseph’s were much more spartan. The villa, named after a marble statue of Hermes, was fully equipped with electricity, and was served by one of the first lit-up streets. Bathtubs and toilets were added by the Empress in the 1890s. Attractive murals show scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, designed by Hans Makart and painted by the young Gustav Klimt. Today, Hermes Villa holds exhibitions, while the stables act as summer quarters for the Lipizzaner horses from the Spanish Riding School.

Lainzer Tiergarten Photo Gallery

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