Vienna, Austria | C.1807

Photo Credit: Helen Leech


Located at the Hofburg Palace, Josefsplatz is part of the monumental legacy of the Habsburg dynasty. Named after Emperor Joseph II, it is considered one of the finest courtyards in Vienna and is surrounded on all sides by historic buildings.

In the center of the square stands a full-sized equestrian statue of Emperor Joseph II, erected by sculptor Franz Anton von Zauner between 1795 and 1807. Emperor Francis II commissioned the statue to commemorate his uncle, Joseph II, who had raised him from the age of 16. The depiction of Joseph II as a Roman conqueror dressed in a toga and a laurel wreath reflects the Habsburg belief that they were descendants of the ancient Roman emperors.

Behind the statue is the State Hall of the National Library, called the Prunksaal. Just to the right of the library is the main entrance to the Democracy Quarter, pictured here. This is the starting point for guided Parliamentary tours and also the entrance for visitors to National and Federal Council sittings.

To the left of the Prunksaal is the Augustinian wing of the Library and the Augustinian Church, the oldest building on the square. Dating back to 1349, the church was once the parish church of the imperial court of the Habsburgs.

Josefsplatz is depicted on the 5 euro Austrian 2006 EU Presidency commemorative coin, minted on January 18 2006. Today, the square continues to be an emblem of Vienna and is a major tourist attraction.

Written By: Accidentally Wes Anderson

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