Text and Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza
The Gloriette of Schönbrunn Palace Gardens is one of the most representative buildings in Viena, one of the most beautiful cities worldwide.
Built in 1775 following an order by the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, it was made by architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf as a part of the comprehensive restructuring of Schönbrunn Park he was entrusted with, placing it on the summit of its hill and providing it with a peristyle featruing a classic profile.
It´s worth walking up the approximately 800 meter gentle slope separating Schönbrunn Palace from the stately Gloriette, from which you can relish wonderful wights of Schönbrunn Palace and the city of Vienna behind it.
The Gloriette itself is made up by a central section sporting a triumph arch shape and surrounded by architectural wings set up by elegant semicircular arches.
Such a central section is glazed and crowned by a powerful statue of an imperial eagle (a work by Benedikt Henrici) perched on a golden globe and surrounded by trophies.
On the other hand, if the panoramic view of the city of Schönbrunn Palace and the city of Vienna in itself from the surroundings of the Gloriette
is unforgettable, there´s the further chance of going up a stone inner spiral staircase and gain access to the 20 meter high terrace with a bannister working as an oriel, from which the views of the Austrian capital are even more fascinating.
Moreover, aside from the stone spiral staircase leading to the glazed central section, there are other lateral flights of steps aligned with huge statues of trophies evoking old Roman weapons and shields, pennants and lions, made by the sculptor Johann Baptist Hagenauer.
And other of the most relevants sides of this well-known building is its gorgeous Café Gloriette, located inside it and which has turned within time into one of the benchmarks of the Austrian capital regarding confectionery (a realm in which this city is probably the best stocked in the world) with a very wide assortment of exquisite cakes: Sachetorte (chocolate cake with apricot jam), Aida original Mozart cake, Strudels filled with fruits, Dobos Torte (manufactured with eight or more thin layers of crumbled pastry, filled with chocolate butter and covered with a glazed sweet), Vanillekipferl (vanilla candies with nuts, almonds or hazelnuts).
Inside the Gloriette Café it´s also possible to drink a plentiful range of top-notch quality coffees: Viennese Coffee (small or double expresso, light and crowned with whipped cream), Franziskaner-Melange (with cream on top), Kleiner Brauner (simple Moka with some milk), GroBer Brauner (double Moka with some milk), Kapuziner-kleiner Schwarzer (similar to Italian capuccino), GroBer Schwarzer (double Moka without milk or cream), Einspänner-GroBer Schwarzer (double Moka with cream on its top), Melange (50% Moka and 50% hot milk, with creamed milk on its top), Verlängerter (special variety of Moka diluted with milk), and others.