We don’t have royalty in the US, of course. Perhaps that explains why, living in a former Imperial city, I am curious about what may lie behind the closed doors of Vienna’s many city palaces. Or perhaps it is because my grandmother filled my young head with tales of being of royal descent that I find all of this royal stuff interesting.  Whatever the reason, I am glad to have the affliction.

Last autumn we took a day to Lower Austria to see Burg Liechtenstein, the ancestral castle of the Princes of Liechtenstein.

Last spring I strolled the beautiful gardens of the Liechtenstein Garden Palace not far from my house.

The Liechtenstein City Palace has been under restoration for several years, and now, like the Garden Palace, is open only for (very) special events and pre-arranged guided tours. Through a small degree of separation I find myself fortunate to be friends with a woman who is friends with a woman who attended school with one of the children of the Princely Family,  and it is through her network that our private tour of the City Palace was arranged.

The City Palace is an active dynastic Imperial residence. Little chance, of course, that we tourgoers would be granted the honor of a royal visit.  But one could always hope.

Once upon a time the City Palace looked like this.

Heavily damaged by bombs and a plane that crashed onto its roof, the palace looked like this after WWII.
Modern standards and restoration efforts true to the original make it the jewel that it is in Vienna’s InnerStadt.

For its time the palace was technologically sophisticated, having a four-floor lift, intercom system, and hot air heating integrated into the candelabras and silk wall coverings.

Palace photos rarely fill the same visual desire as does walking through the spaces in person, and my photos are no exception.  The private, residential rooms could not be photographed (really, would you want your living room to be photographed by strangers?), so you’ll have to make do with photos of the public spaces.









My visit was truly memorable. And who knows, there just might be a pile of rocks in Poland that is my ancestral family castle, waiting to be claimed.