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Belvedere

The Belvedere is a baroque palace complex built by Prince Eugene of Savoy in the 3rd district of Vienna, south-eastern from the city's center.

Eugene, after buying the plot of land in 1697, first had a large park created. In 1714 work began to erect what is now called the Lower Belvedere as a palace designed for living, which was finished in 1716. Later, 1720-1723, the Upper Belvedere was built with representation in mind. The architect of both buildings was Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt[?], one of the most important architects of the Austrian Baroque together with Fischer von Erlach[?].


Front view of the Upper Belvedere

The complex was sold in 1752 to Maria Theresia by the prince's heiress. Since 1775 the Belvedere housed the imperial picture gallery on behalf of Joseph II., in 1806 the collection of Ambras Palace was moved to the Lower Belvedere as well. Both were transferred to the Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum) in 1890.

Since after World War I, the Austrian Gallery resides in the Belvedere.

The building suffered heavy damage during World War II. A room known as the Gold Cabinet burnt down and was reconstructed later. The building is still being renovated today, the work is scheduled to be complete by 2008.


Belvedere (or Belvidere) is also a general architectural term. From the Italian, literally translated as "fair view", it refers to any architectural structure built in the upper part of a building so as to command a fine view. The actual structure can be of any form, whether a turret, a cupola, or open gallery. The name can also apply to an entire building.

A settlement between Plumstead and Erith in southeast London also has the name Belvedere, appropriately enough as it is set on a prominent ridge affording views across the lower Thames valley. Upper Belvedere features a fine church and some modest brick villas. Lower Belvedere is better known for a methodist chapel, a football club and a high technology sludge incinerator which is a stunning landmark on the south bank of the river Thames. The railway station called Belvedere is in Lower Belvedere and serves the North Kent Line[?].



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