Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra visit the Hermesvilla in Vienna

In the Lainzer Tiergarten to the southwest of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Emperor Franz Joseph built the Hermesvilla for Empress Elisabeth in the 1880s. Their daughter Archduchess Marie Valeria celebrated her engagement here in 1890.
Photographs c1890s (below) of the Hermesvilla

During their visit to Vienna in 1896, Nicholas II and Alexandra went on Friday August 16thto a hunt in the Lainzer Park. I stayed there until 3:30; ran after deer, climbed around on the hills, rode in the woods. I absolutely missed Alix. We met her at the Empress’ house right there in the park. At 4:00 there was an informal family dinner’.

The Lainzer Tiergarten is today a wildlife preserve. My sister and I loved hiking through the woods and swatting bugs . Touring the historic Hermesvilla, we found it difficult to imagine what it was like during imperial times. I recently discovered the following photographs from the 1890s that reveal the formal drawing rooms and private apartments

Photographs (below) of the Staircase and Entrance Hall

Photographs (below) of the Salons

Photographs (below) of Emperor Franz Joseph’s Rooms

Photographs (below) of Empress Elisabeth’s Rooms

Photographs (below) of Archduchess Marie Valerie’s Rooms



  1. Great post. I have to say that this is one case where the interiors hang together quite a bit better than the exterior; rather an architectural horror, if you ask me. ; )

    What did the interiors look like when you toured the place?

  2. The exterior is quite beautiful. Having read extensively on Franz Josef and Elisabeth since first visiting Vienna when young, I was aware of Franz Josef and his daughter's ambivalence towards the villa. I remember a quote that the emperor felt scared to touch anything - not quite a hunting lodge that he preferred. The rooms visitors see today are devoid of personal objects - of course it mainly was the drawing rooms and Elisabeth's ornate bedroom. Finally seeing these rare photographs of the private rooms, especially Marie Valerie's, it changes my perspective of family life in the villa.

  3. Great post Joanna!
    Ghostie x