Laxenburg by Reiss, circa 1853.
Laxenburg drawn by C. Reiss, circa 1853.
Laxenburg, Austria, was a popular summer location for the Habsburg dynasty. Its close proximity to the capital of Vienna made it the ideal summer home for the Emperor and his family. The Schloss Laxenburg is comprised of the Altes Schloss (Old Castle), Blauer Hof (Blue Court) and the Franzensburg. A beautiful park containing gardens and artificial ponds surrounds these palaces. Laxenburg was developed in stages. It came under Habsburg possession in 1333. Empress Maria Theresa extended the old castle in 1745 adding the Blaur Hof and extending other wings to make the palace more accommodating. Her son Joseph II redesigned the grounds in an English garden style and opened the park to the public. Franz II and I were responsible for building the Franzensburg on an island in one of the ponds. It was styled after a medieval knight's castle. Pieces of original medieval monasteries and castles were used to construct it. The Franzensburg is the palace pictured in this print.
The Habsburg family was one of the most important royal houses in Europe. Count Radbot built Habsburg Castle in Switzerland from 1020 to 1030. His son, Otto II, was the first to style himself "von Habsburg". Throughout the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries the family gained power and prestige and by 1273 the Habsburg power base had shifted from Habsburg Castle to the Archduchy of Austria. For the next six centuries the Habsburg family would rule Austria. Their power continued to increase through strategic marriages with other power families in Europe. All formally elected Holy Roman Emperors from 1483 to 1740 (dissolution of the Empire) would bare the Habsburg name. In addition to the Holy Roman Empire, Habsburg Dominions included the Spanish Empire and Austrian Empire as well as several other countries and principalities.
- Naomi Bean