New building

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Neugebuilding Castle seen from the north
Neugebuilding Castle before 1680, hand drawing by Wolfgang Wilhelm Prämer

Neugebauten Castle is a Mannerist castle in Vienna's 11th district, Simmering, commissioned by Emperor Maximilian II . According to legend, it was built on the spot where Sultan Süleyman's tented castle stood during the first Turkish siege of Vienna in 1529 .

From the 17th century, parts of the complex were dismantled or relocated; the castle and gardens, which were even used as an ammunition depot from 1744, deteriorated.

After 1945 it was used variously as a warehouse and factory hall, placed under monument protection in the 1970s and only partially renovated from 2000. The main building is now used for various events.

Despite its desperate condition, Neugebauten Castle is one of the largest and most important Mannerist residences north of the Alps .


Imperial walk in the woods with Neugebuilding Castle in the background ( Lucas van Valckenborch , 1590/92)
View of Neugebuilding Castle with its gardens from north to south ( Matthäus Merian the Elder , 1649)
Incorrect view of the new building around 1672 viewed from the west (engraving after Georg Matthäus Vischer )

The palace complex was a favorite project of Emperor Maximilian II. The palace and its gardens were conceived as a total work of art . The building site was deliberately chosen to increase the fame of the emperor, who with this prestigious complex demonstrated his claim to power.

The imperial residences in the area were the Kaiserebersdorf Palace , which was a decent residential palace , the Green Pleasure House in the Prater and the New Palace, which was probably intended more as a pure pleasure palace and belvedere , i.e. a lookout point, after the hunt and for parties.

In contrast to the “old” Kaiserebersdorf Palace, the name “Neugeb Gebäude” is also to be understood, which first appeared in a document in October 1573 as the “new Gepews”.

On November 1st, 1566, Emperor Maximilian II wrote in his diary ... people are applying who are competent in building ... It was his great wish to build a pleasure palace in Simmering near Vienna, the pheasant garden building , the new building. Jacopo Strada , builder of the emperor, is believed to be one of the many architects . In 1569 Pietro Ferrabosco started building the castle . The first stone carvings took place in the new quarry on Leithaberg , the masters Bartholomäus Pethan and Antonius Pozzo worked on the monumental columns for the western gallery. In 1572 Hans Bürger is documented as a master builder. On April 17, 1576, the court chamber asked the Lordship of Trautmannsdorf to repair a bridge over the Leitha so that the carters would not be hindered with their stone carts intended for the new building. On June 13, 1576, the municipalities of Sommerein , Sarasdorf and Wilfleinsdorf were ordered to transport large blocks of stone from the quarry in the Leitha Mountains to the new pheasant garden building with their carts . Should their wagons be too weak, it would be ordered that the gentlemen provide the wagons and the communities horses and oxen. Another decree had to be issued on October 5th, 1576, that they should deliver the stone pillars that had been carved for the imperial building as soon as they were paid, so that Her Majesty's workers would not have to celebrate. On October 12th came the urgent demand that the whole handler should not have more than the sy seven or eight stone seylen (pairs of columns) up to the gepew furen and against it in gullt should take. Although the names of several artists, stonemasons, and other people involved are documented, nothing is known about the original architect. This suggests that the design came from none other than the emperor himself.

At that time, the Chamber was not yet aware that the Emperor had died in Regensburg on the same day. The facility was by no means complete, but the work was more advanced than had been anticipated. Out of piety towards his father, Emperor Rudolf II had the building continued, but in fact he had little interest in it. In 1579 the pillars of the eastern gallery were delivered from the imperial quarry.

Ladislaus von Zierotin , a Moravian nobleman, described the beautiful building in July 1590, the long inner courtyard, which was adorned with high columns made of white marble ( imperial stone ) , had fountain bowls made of English alabaster and towers covered with copper, and was adorned with paintings and statues will. Around 1600 signs of decay began, the plaster was falling off the galleries.

Detail from the engraving by Delsenbach with a view of the castle from the northeast

On May 22nd, 1665, old copper was transported away for the Vienna Hofburg , ... the copper from the collapsing tower on the Ney building was followed for the new castle building. In 1683 the castle survived the Turks without being destroyed. The Kuruzeneinfall on June 11, 1704 Prince Franz II. Rákóczy caused major damage. On their way back, the new building was set on fire. At that time it housed the imperial menagerie , most of the rare animals were killed.

Parts of the original facility can now be found in Schönbrunn . Maria Theresa had valuable elements transferred there, especially for the construction of the Gloriette . It is believed that especially the large columns and bucrania were reused, as well as two fountains by Alexander Colin .

Military use

Powder, which had previously been stored on the city's bastions, was stored in the Neugebude Castle since 1744. From 1779 the towers of the outer wall were also used as a depot.

In 1780 the castle was rebuilt on the ground floor and a powder and saltpetre production facility was set up here.

During the revolution of 1848 , the former castle had to be specially protected, as the entire munitions stocks of the army in the Vienna area were stored here. The garden provided space for ammunition wagons and artillery.

From 1869 onwards, an end to powder production and ammunition storage was discussed again and again because of the planned nearby central cemetery . Nevertheless, Neugebauten Castle was used for military purposes until 1918.

In 1922 the plant came into the possession of the municipality of Vienna . In the southern garden, the Simmering fire hall was built according to plans by Clemens Holzmeister and an urn grove was created.

For a while the plant was used by various industrial companies, including the Saurer works . During the Second World War , the Saurer-Werke manufactured vehicles for war purposes. For this purpose, forced laborers from concentration camps , including the Mauthausen concentration camp , were used. The works were bombed and badly damaged by the Allies as a vital factory, but the castle remained relatively undisturbed. In 1945 the surviving forced laborers were freed by the Soviet Red Army .

In 1975, the year of monument protection , there was a desire to revitalize the new building. At that time Helmut Zilk gave the impetus to restore the former magnificent building according to old views. Two symposia on the question of possible use and adequate monument preservation took place. In 1989 a survey was carried out on the possible uses of Neugebauten Castle, but this had no further consequences.


Double columns and chapters with bucrania from the new building, reused as spolia in the Schönbrunn Gloriette

By the turn of the millennium, the new building seemed to have evaded all attempts at revitalization. In the completely cleared and disfigured castle building, many door and window frames made of Kaiserstein are still in excellent condition. The stonemason's mark A can be seen on a round window . A utility well with a beautiful border made of Kaiserstein has been preserved in a farm yard. The inside of the stable for 50 horses has remained unchanged and still has the original floor, an ornamentally laid brick floor. Twelve Tuscan pillars made of imperial stone with high plinths still support the three meter high groin vault .

In the autumn of 2001 the "Association for the Preservation and Revitalization of the Castle New Building" was founded. This has two basic objectives: on the one hand, the maintenance and revitalization of the entire facility and, on the other hand, the development of proposals for future use. In March 2002 the first safety measures and the clearing of the area took place. May 2002 the extensions built after 1945 were demolished. By the end of June 2002 the area was prepared for summer activities. In September 2002 the first phase of building security began; Almost a year later, in June 2003, the first securing work was completed. By the beginning of 2007, the "beautiful halls" for events were renovated and the technical infrastructure for them installed. The architectural office Manfred Wehdorn was responsible for the planning and the work .

The castle is now used for a variety of different events (summer cinema, theater, markets, exhibitions, concerts, parties, weddings and other events). The castle can also be rented in whole or in part for your own events. There are also regular art-historical tours through the castle.

Restoration of the facades

Restored facade of the west tower

The aim of the restoration was to carefully expose the original and later plaster and coloring surfaces from the 16th to 18th centuries and to preserve and restore all plaster and stone surfaces according to the guidelines of the Federal Monuments Office. Furthermore, the time damage to the facade was repaired, mainly as a result of dirt, erosion, water damage, inadequate repair work and frost blasts.

The stone walls of the window constructions with tin shutters were repaired in a previous construction phase and were not the subject of the renewed facade restoration.

The different plaster stocks should remain clearly recognizable as such. Plaster stocks from the 16th to 18th centuries were conserved and the surfaces were closed with adequate plaster seals. The existing structure remained visible as such and should not be covered by any homogenizing paint. Cleaning seals from the 19th and 20th centuries were carefully removed.

The already completed trial sections and reports of the sample work for exterior plaster restorations by the restorer served as specifications. All measures and means were chosen in such a way that they in no way hindered the subsequent conservation measures to the detriment of the original inventory. The construction period for the west tower, south and east facade extended until mid-2010. The construction costs amounted to approximately 600,000 EUR.


The dairy building

The "new building" - from an art-historical point of view, to be described as a mannerism structure , i.e. the transition period from the Renaissance to the Baroque - essentially consists of six areas:

  • The central main building with north terraces, main courtyard and the U-shaped courtyard building.
  • The components around the so-called Löwenhof, consisting of a ball game house, kennel corridor, stable and ancillary buildings including the accompanying walls.
  • The upper, southern garden, whose walls and towers enclose the pheasant garden and the so-called flower parterre.
  • The lower, northern garden with the walls that no longer exist today and the pond in front of it.
  • The historic dairy building , today located outside the immediate area on Neugebäudestrasse.
  • The surrounding open space, that is, the former meadow landscape , which has largely disappeared today, but is an integral part of the authenticity of the “New Building” work of art.

The narrow width of the main building does not allow it to be used as a residential building. Larger kitchen rooms for the permanent presence of an imperial court were also not found. The location on a slope with a view of the landscape and at that time the Danube floodplain also speaks for the role of the castle as a lookout point, or belvedere, for hunting trips, festive receptions and representative functions.


Bukranion at the former column loggia
Construction report of the damage to the vault of the gallery, drawing by Anton de Moys (1600/1601)

The large galleries are located on the first floor to the west and east of the central risalit . The western and eastern gallery consisted of an open column loggia with nine round arches each, which rested on eight pairs of Tuscan columns with high plinths. A balustrade border ran in between. The loggias could be reached through two doors from the central projection. There were bucrania on the wall behind the arches, and arched window openings on the south side. The loggias fell into disrepair over time. The architect Anton de Moys made colored pen drawings showing the state of the partially collapsed ceiling.

The pillared loggias were removed in 1775 and the north side with the arched arcade was replaced by a far-reaching pent roof. The columns were brought to Schönbrunn and reused for the newly built Gloriette in 1776. The bucrania were also used, but one is still in place today. The walled-up doors under the pent roof are also partially recognizable.

Walking hall

At the western end of the gallery is a large rectangular hall of enormous height with sloping corners, barrel vaults and deep wall niches. A staircase on the south side leads to the double-shell vaulted zone, from where a corridor and a staircase formerly led to a rooftop walk around the entire main building. It is believed that there was originally a fresco by Bartolomäus Spanger on the ceiling. A pen drawing of this has been preserved as a preliminary study in the Albertina in Vienna.



The grotto is located directly under the walking hall . This room consists of a central, almost circular arrangement of pillars, deep wall niches and deliberately irregular walling. It is the oldest preserved grotto in the German-speaking area. Grottoes appear in Italy during the Renaissance. In the beginning, they were always related to gardens and water features. The caves in the Boboli Gardens in Florence around 1150 or the antiquarium in the Munich Residenz with its grotto courtyard around 1570 could have served as models for the grotto in the new building .

"Beautiful halls"

The eastern "beautiful hall"

The so-called “beautiful halls” were probably originally called differently, but were given the current name over time. They are located to the west and east of the central projectile under the galleries, the former column loggias. The two halls are elongated with pressed cap vaults on massive wall pillars. The arched niches were likely to be decorated with statues and the ceilings painted and decorated. The original function of the two halls is unknown, but their size suggests that they were intended for celebrations. The Antiquarium in the Munich Residenz from 1570 gives an impression of what the halls would have looked like in their completed condition.

Ice cellar

At the end of the eastern gallery there is a room that is referred to in older literature as an ice cellar or pantry. The actual use is unknown. The room runs diagonally towards the east, which is open to a small circular tower bay. The original ground level was about 1.5 meters lower than today. Presumably, a connecting corridor once led from the niche in the north wall down to the Löwenhof.


The Löwenhof of the castle (center), horse stable (left), Fischkalter (front right) and ball game house (back right)

The Löwenhof is located on the north side of the main building and was probably accessible at that time with a connecting passage from the ice cellar. The originally open courtyard area consists of various wall sections that initially only delimited open spaces and were only later incorporated into buildings. This process was similar in the ball game house and the horse stable.

The name "Löwenhof" only appeared in the course of the 17th century, when it is proven that big cats were kept there, which is probably where the legend of the lion's bride comes from.

The so-called “new building leitmotif” can be found throughout the Löwenhof, an alternating sequence of wider and narrower round arches, which can be found on the outside of the horse stable, the kennel corridor and the inside of the courtyard wall. The model for this could be the sequence of ancient Roman triumphal arches, such as the Arch of Constantine from the 4th century in Rome.

Horse stable

Interior view of the horse stable (2005)

The horse stable is located east of the Löwenhof. It is a rectangular building with a blind arcade on the outside and a three-aisled hall with groin vaults and Tuscan columns on the inside. The pillars were possibly added later around the middle of the 17th century. Originally there were large, far-reaching windows on the south wall, which could be traced back to the use of the room as an orangery. So it could be an early example of a greenhouse. On the other hand, the elegant design of the horse stable points to the splendid baroque stables, which were located, for example, in the Lower Belvedere near Vienna.

Ball game house

Interior view of the ball game house (2005)

To the east of the Löwenhof is the large ball game house. The ball game , an early form of tennis, was played here. Two floors were retired for military purposes during the conversion of the palace complex. When the ball game house burned in 1993, these floors were damaged and then removed and the roof restored.

Fish cold

The Fischkalter formerly consisted of five fish tanks between the kennel corridor for the breeding of food fish and was later used to keep wild animals. The basins each combined two arcades of the Zwinger corridor, with the fresh water supply channels running between them. The similarity with the peschiera of the Villa Madama in Rome, which was begun in 1516, is particularly clear. The structure there also consists of a lining wall dissolved in round arches with a water basin in front of it.


Upper garden

The southern garden was divided into four parcels , which were surrounded by four galleries with hexagonal corner towers. The complex was built at the time of the Turkish siege of Vienna and has elements of Islamic art . According to sources, the garden was a fairytale landscape with a labyrinth in the center. There were numerous fountains and ponds , grottos and pergolas. With the construction of the Simmering fire hall by the City of Vienna and the use of the former garden as an urn grove, the restoration of the garden in its original appearance and function will prove to be difficult.

Lower garden

The lower garden, redesigned in 2010
One of Alexander Colin's fountains, now in the Schönbrunn Orangery

The lower garden to the north is 12,500 m² in size and divided by paths into 18 square garden fields that are 21 m × 21 m in size. The two middle fields had two fountains by Alexander Colin in the middle . The garden fields were laid out with geometric patterns typical of the Renaissance. The lawn ornamentation in the fields was divided into rectangular, square, circular and cross patterns. The garden was accessible from the palace building through the lowest terrace or from outside through garden gates. The pond was to the north of the garden. A wall ran around the facility for protection and demarcation. The axes of the garden were probably planted with trees.

From 1573–1579 the important botanist Carolus Clusius stayed in Vienna and became the emperor's "gardening director". He is said to have brought the tulip and the horse chestnut to Vienna via Constantinople, as well as the lilac from Persia. The garden of the Neugebauten Palace was probably one of the first in Europe to have these flowers.

The garden became overgrown over time. The fountains probably disappeared as early as 1715. Eyewitnesses reported that the garden had no other special features, it disappeared and became a meadow. Archaeological investigations in the 1980s were able to partially rediscover the course of the garden. The original location of the two wells was also found with the discovery of the foundations and the water channels made of bricks.

Although historical engravings show the original shape of the garden, during the restoration in 2010, according to city councilor Ulli Sima, the historical palace garden was not restored in the original, but a public park was created for the general population. The city horticultural office tried to make the garden modern and contemporary based on the historical model.

In 2010 the completely overgrown garden was rebuilt. The original grid-shaped path structure was reconstructed for the redesign. The garden fields and paths were restored to their original size, but designed in a modern form. The lawn in the fields is laid out in wave form that visitors can walk on. From a bird's eye view, the pattern should look like the stripes on a tiger skin , which could be an allusion to the castle's original function as a menagerie. The fields were planted with flowers. The tulip was placed among the first flowers because it is said to have been exposed for the first time on European soil by Carolus Clusius in the 16th century. Two more fields were intended as playgrounds for children and are equipped with bobble animals, play ropes, slides and play equipment. The two middle fields had two fountains at that time. In the modern version, fountains with eight nozzles each were installed, which are located exactly in the same place as the historical fountain. The octagonal shape is in memory of the historical model. The middle axis is twice as wide as the side axes and was planted in two rows with high lilac trunks. In addition, 70 umbrella tarpaulins and a 300 meter long hornbeam hedge were planted on the edge of the garden along the course of the former wall to delimit and protect the wall foundations. Since the garden is dog-free, a dog exercise area of ​​around 3,000 m² was built in the trapezoidal area of ​​the former animal enclosure to the east. The total costs for the construction amounted to 990,000 EUR.

The land of the pond north of the garden at that time is now privately owned, including a tree nursery. It is not foreseeable whether and when this part will be reconstructed again.

Cultural and media

Kaiserstein fountain in the front courtyard, built around 1570

The legend of the lion bride about the daughter of the keeper of the menagerie and her friendship with the lion there is said to have taken place in the castle.

The so-called “beautiful halls” of the castle building were equipped with modern technology and are rented out for events. Events include an Easter market, a summer open-air cinema and a historical festival.

In the historical novel Veritas by the Italian writer couple Monaldi & Sorti , published in 2007, Neugebauten Castle plays a central role.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Anon., City of Vienna redevelops new buildings in: Wiener Geschichtsblätter, Jg. 29, 1974, XXVII
  2. Peter Noever (Ed.), Wiener Bauplätze, Verschollene Träume - Angewandte Bauplätze , Vienna 1986, p. 115
  3. Hilda Lietzmann : The new building in Vienna, Sultan Süleyman's tent - Maximilian II. Pleasure palace. Deutscher Kunstverlag 1987. ISBN 3-422-06008-1
  4. Hofkammerarchiv Vienna: Niederösterreichische Herrschaftsakten 1576 , first mention of the quarry at Leythaberg, stone deliveries .
  5. Helmuth Furch : Historisches Lexikon Kaisersteinbruch in communications of the Museum and Cultural Association Kaisersteinbruch , Volume 2, S 325–328, 2002–2004. ISBN 978-3-9504555-8-8 .
  6. Manfred Wehdorn, "The Structure - Perspectives Special Issue 2004 - The New Building, A Renaissance - Castle in Vienna", NJ Schmid Verlagsges.mbH, Vienna 2004
  7. Herbert Exenberger , “2. April 1945 - Evacuation of the Saurer-Werke sub-camp ”, in Simmeringer Museumblätter , issue 73/74, Vienna April 2005
  8. a b c d e f g Sima and Angerer opened a new park in front of the new castle building. In: Rathauskorrespondenz. Magistratsabteilung 53, September 30, 2010, accessed on January 6, 2011 : “We have created a modern park here on historic grounds that meets the most diverse demands of young and old. In the new castle park there is space for all generations and plenty of opportunities for play, fun and relaxation. Two automatically controlled water features that are also equipped with motion sensors are an absolute hit. They ensure fun and games for the youngest visitors and refreshment on hot days "
  9. Start of construction for the new park in the Neugebude Castle. (Video) Ulli Sima, April 25, 2010, accessed on January 6, 2011 (construction work and interviews with City Councilor Ulli Sima and City Garden Director Rainer Weisgram).
  10. Vienna wins! - Another new park for the Viennese. Ulli Sima, 2010 ( Memento from January 14, 2013 in the web archive ) For the redesign of the former lower garden of Neugebauten Castle, the historical basic structure was rebuilt using the original path structure and the grid of 18 square garden fields and with a new and contemporary one Ornamentation (tiger skin) provided. This is based on the history of the menagerie, which paved the way for the Schönbrunn Zoo.
  11. Castle Neugebuilding gets its historical garden back. Der Standard, December 2, 2009, accessed on January 6, 2010 : "The Renaissance castle is to be saved from decay - the park has also not been maintained for hundreds of years - that should now change"
  12. Ball of the Renaissance. (Video) zeitentanzVienna, April 17th, 2010, accessed on January 8th, 2011 (A cross-section of our Renaissance ball in the Neugebuilding in Vienna in April 2010!).



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  • The menagerie in the kaiserl (ichen) Lustschloss Neugebäu . In: L (eopold) J (oseph) FitzingerFeuilleton. From: An attempt at a history of the menageries of the Austrian imperial court. In:  Wiener Zeitung , Abendblatt, No. 173/1853, August 1, 1853, pp. 689 f. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz.
  • Ralph Gälzer: On the reconstruction of the gardens of the Neugebauten Palace in Vienna . In: stones speak , Vol. 83 (1987), pp. 3-9.
  • Martina Haja (Ed.): Princely courts of the Renaissance. Giulio Romano and the classical tradition . Kunsthistorisches Museum , Vienna 1989 (catalog of the exhibition of the same name, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Albertina Graphic Collection , December 6, 1989 to February 18, 1990). In this:
    • Eva-Maria Höhle : New building, history of its decay and the current situation from a monument conservation point of view .
    • Gottfried Holzschuh: The new building and its Italian requirements .
    • Renate Holzschuh-Hofer: The relief frieze on the Roman ruins in Schönbrunn .
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  • Petra Leban: Imperial Forest Walk × 2 . I: Simmeringer Museumsblätter , Heft 70 (2002), pp. 7–9.
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  • Arthur Saliger: A historic building in urban development. Suggestions and considerations for the revitalization of the "new building" . In: The structure , issue 29 (1974).


  • Rupert Feuchtmüller : The new building (Viennese history books; Vol. 17). Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Vienna 1976, ISBN 3-552-02807-2 .
  • Mario Griemann: New building . New finds in the context of building and research history . Diploma thesis at the Faculty of History and Cultural Studies of the University of Vienna , Vienna 2008 ( online version )
  • Andrea Kefeder: The history of use of the Neugebauten Castle in the 20th and 21st centuries. Diploma thesis at the Faculty of History and Cultural Studies of the University of Vienna, 2010 ( online version )
  • Herbert Knöbl: The new building and its structural connection with Schönbrunn Palace . Boehlau Verlag, Vienna 1988, ISBN 3-205-05106-8 .
  • Rita Monaldi , Francesco Sorti : Veritas , Verlag Kindler / Rowohlt, Reinbek 2007, ISBN 978-3-463-40521-6 ( historical novel that vividly describes the structural and horticultural facilities and illuminates Maximilian II's motivation for building it) .
  • Hilda Lietzmann: The new building in Vienna. Sultan Suleyman's tent - Emperor Maximilian II's summer palace . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-422-06008-1 .
  • Rudolf Loewit: The new building as a hero's grave . KK Austrian Military Widows and Orphans Fund, Vienna 1918.
  • Georg Wieshofer: New Building Memorial. The revitalization of the new building in Vienna . Dipl. Arb., Vienna University of Technology, Vienna 1999.

Web links

Commons : Neugebauten Castle  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 48 ° 9 ′ 38.4 "  N , 16 ° 26 ′ 32.4"  E