The High Life on the Route of Emperors and Kings
It is less than twenty kilometres from the Hapsburg metropolis of Vienna to Klosterneuburg. Founded in 1114, the abbey is regarded as the cradle of Austria, which in the 18th century had become an influential player in European, if not world politics, as a result of the effusive Hapsburg politics of power and marriage. Wanting to erect an everlasting monument to his triumphs, Emperor Charles VI (1685-1740) ordered that the monastery be expanded to a revolutionary new residence with its own imperial apartments. In addition to the retirarde, or private rest area, the suite constructed for the ruling family included an audience chamber, dining room and red salon.
‘Thrift’ was not in the sovereign monarch’s vocabulary, at least when it came to Klosterneuburg Monastery – probably much to the delight of the architects, plasterers and painters who were given the opportunity to decorate the imperial wing with decorative plaster work and virtuous wall paintings. The imperial family enjoyed visiting at least once a year after moving to Klosterneuburg with their daughters Maria Theresa, Maria Anna and Maria Amalia, temporarily residing in the monastery.