Palmenhaus Schonbrunn

Vienna, Austria | C.1882

Photo Credit: Harvey Fry


If gardeners could cultivate their dream greenhouse, the Palmerhaus Schonbrunn might just be it. Built in 1882, the palm house located in Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace Park is Homs to over 4,500 plant species and is one of the largest botanical exhibits in the world.

Palm houses became popular in Europe around the late 19th century. A palm house is a type of greenhouse with a specialized structure designed to grow palms and tropical plants. Due to their need for constant heat, palm houses were considered status symbols, especially in Victorian England. Austrian Emperors Francis I and Joseph II brought the first palm houses to Vienna, while the Palmenhaus Schonbrunn was built under the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I.

Measuring in at over 109 meters long, 29 meters wide, and 25 meters high, the Palmenhaus is a massive marvel of architecture composed of steel and glass. Made up of three sections, the central pavilion contains a temperate Mediterranean climate where the palms are planted. The right annex is a hothouse, home to tropical plants, and the left annex contains a “cold” section.

Despite its grandeur, the Palmenhaus has not been without its trials. The building endured the bombing of Vienna during WWII that destroyed parts of its facade and killed many of its plants. Following restoration efforts, the Palmenhaus was reopened in 1953. Decades later the collapse of Germany’s Reichsbrucke bridge in 1976, resulted in a temporary closure as a safety measure.

Today, the Palmenhaus is a vibrant paradise of plant life. Significant tropical treasures include a 350-year old olive tree from Spain and a Coco de Mer plant from Seychelles. The Palmenhaus is open daily throughout the year.

Written By: Accidentally Wes Anderson

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