The land on which the Belvedere was built had been acquired by Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736). The castle and garden were built between 1700 and 1721. After the death of Prince Eugene, his heirs sold the Belvedere to Empress Maria Theresa, who gave the ensemble its name. At around 1900, the Upper Belvedere became the residence of the heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand.
The Alpine Garden (Alpingarten) is a special attraction, comprising over 4,000 Alpine plant varieties for visitors to see.
Since 1918, the Belevedere Palace Garden (Belvederegarten) has been the property of the Republic of Austria and has been managed by the Federal Gardens Authority. In 1930, the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna took over the Hostian Garden (Host’sche Garten). The Alpine Garden remained part of the Belvedere Palace Garden. To this day, the garden, excluding the Host’sche Garten, extends across the entire grounds originally acquired by Prince Eugene.
The animals of the menagerie and lots of sculptures were moved to Schönbrunn. The design of the park and the garden management were simplified over time. In the late 18th century, botanist Nicolaus Thomas Host created the Host’sche Garten with its Flora Austriaca collection in the former kitchen garden at the behest of Emperor Franz I. In 1865, the Alpine Garden was relocated from the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens to the Belvedere Palace Garden.
To this day, the garden, excluding the Host’sche Garten, extends across the entire grounds originally acquired by Prince Eugene. At the end of the 1980s, the design essentially conformed with the layout existing at around 1900 – with the exception of the plant decoration. Efforts to revitalise the parterre in the Lower Belvedere (1987) and the yew hedges in the Upper Parterre (1990) began in 1987. In 1992, Maria Auböck and Stefan Schmidt continued the work on the basis of the Park Maintenance Guide.
Revitalisation efforts have been ongoing in the northern sections of the Kammergarten (Privy Garden) since 2000. The basin with its water features was restored section by section until 2010.
Irrigation was automated in the course of revitalisation.
The reference standards for individual garden sections are defined in accordance with their historical development and conservation status as a garden monument in the Park Maintenance Guide and the expert opinion on their listing as a monument under the Austrian Act on the Conservation of Monuments.
The Alpengarten in the Belvedere Palace Garden
The Alpine Garden in the Belvedere Palace Garden at the heart of Vienna is one of Europe's oldest Alpine gardens and has a history of around 150 years.
On an area extending over 2,500 sq. m., over 4,000 plant species from Alpine regions around the world can be viewed. The collection dates back to Archduke Johann, brother of Austrian Emperor Franz I. The main objective of the Alpine Garden is to conserve endangered plant species of the Alpine regions.
The Archduke and his brother collected Alpine plants in Austria's mountains at the beginning of the 19th century. These were bedded out on Schönbrunn Mountain in the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens and the collection was called Alpinum. In the 2nd half of the 19th century, this collection was merged with the famous Flora Austriaca, a collection of all plants from Austria's crown lands and exhibited it in the Belvedere's former kitchen garden. The chaotic years of World Wars I and II saw the plant population dwindle to a dangerous low. The Alpine Garden had to be shut twice. Following extensive conversion and construction work, it reopened its gates in 1949.
The garden's main purpose today is to conserve threatened plants of the Alpine regions. In this spirit, the Federal Gardens Authority participates in an international seed exchange programme with over 400 botanical gardens and institutions. The Alpine Garden receives a good 2,000 seed batches from other institutions every year, which serve to conserve our collections and protect the various species. The young plants cultivated from these undergo botanically re-identified and used for the Federal Gardens Authority's plant collections.
In addition, the Alpine Garden offers the people of Vienna, tourists and expert visitors an opportunity to become familiar with native and international Alpine plants as they grow in their natural shapes and sizes. What is likewise conveyed is the significance of nature conservation and environmental protection in Alpine regions and an impression is given of the diversity and beauty of national and international Alpine and mountain plants.
The Alpine Garden opens ever year from the end of March to the beginning of August. Please consult our website for the exact opening hours. During adverse weather conditions, the Alpine Garden is closed.