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Laxenburg

This small town, situated 15 km (9 miles) outside Vienna, is a favourite place for day-trips from the capital. It began as a hunting lodge, Lachsenburg, around which a settlement grew. Destroyed during the last Turkish wars, but restored and enlarged in the 17th century, it became a favourite retreat for Maria Theresa, other members of the imperial family and the aristocracy. Laxenburg was chosen as a venue for the signing of many important state treaties, including the Pragmatic Sanction which made it possible for a woman, Maria Theresa, to accede to the throne. Today, the former imperial palace is the seat of the International Institute of System Analysis (IISA), and it also houses the Austrian Film Archives. The palace is surrounded by a landscaped, English-style Schlosspark, one of the grandest such palace parks in Europe at the time of Emperor Joseph II. The park is dotted with many follies, and one particularly worth visiting is the early 19th-century Franzensburg, a mock-Gothic castle, built on an island in an artificial lake within the palace grounds at the height of the fashion for all things historic. It was furnished with original objects collected and pillaged from all over the empire, such as the 12th-century columns with capitals in the chapel, from Klosterneuburg, or the ceiling in the Hungarian Coronation Room from the Hungarian town of Eger. In the summer, open-air theatre performances take place on the castle island.

Laxenburg Photo Gallery

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