The the building of the upper Belvedere Palace began in 1717. Years ago, I had read that the White House was intentionally designed to be a modest structure. During visits to DC, it had always seemed pretty grand to me. Given the opulence of truly grand palaces built around the 17th century, the White House is actually quite modest. The ceilings on each floor are at least 40 ft high. Walking up the steps, it became obvious how high the ceilings were. There were four flights of stairs between each floor.
When we came upon the above monument we were surprised to see the Cyrillic lettering. Looking closer we saw the gold shield at the top with the hammer and sickle of the former Soviet Union. Wikipedia shed light on the monument, “The Soviet War Memorial in Vienna, more formally known as the Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee (English: Heroes’ Monument of the Red Army) is is located at Vienna’s Schwarzenbergplatz” It is a tribute to the 17,000 Red Army soldiers who during WWII lost their lives in the Battle of Vienna. It seemed strange to have a monument dedicated to the Army that conquered the city. The Viennese view the monument as a painful reminder of Soviet occupation during the weeks following the war. Putin visited the monument in 2007 to lay flowers on it and thank the citizens of Vienna for not demolishing it. Despite protests, the city paid to refurbish it. When we visited the monument was in excellent condition.
Alex and Sarah took the train to Vienna, while Marcia, Ella, Rachel and I drove. We meet at the Park Hyatt in Vienna. Thanks again to Hyatt Chase Visa points.
Ella and Sarah were reluctant to make the trek through 3% of the 1441 rooms of the Palace. Sarah, Ella and I stayed back and waited at a restaurant, got bored and took a walk, and came back to a different restaurant and ate. The Schönbrunn Palace was built between 1696 and 1730, and eventually converted into a residence for Maria Theresa, the only woman to serve as a Habsburg ruler. Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary, Maria Theresa had 16 children, 5 boys and 11 girls. One of her daughters, Marie Antoinette became Queen of France.
One of the highlights of the visit to Vienna was seeing the performance of the Lipizzaner horses at the the Imperial Palace. 450 years of tradition in a portion of the Palace that the Habsburgs watched comparable performances. No pictures were allowed. I failed to check the battery in the camera. It was completely dead, so it did not matter that taking photos were prohibited.