Esterházy Palace Esterházy Palace is the landmark of Eisenstadt and the most important cultural monument of Austria's Burgenland province. The palace was made famous by Joseph Haydn who found room for personal development here. The master composer premiered many of his works in the Haydnsaal (Haydn Hall), famous for its outstanding acoustic properties.
The palace itself can look back on an eventful history. After the Esterházy family had acquired the former castle in 1649, Count Paul I. had it converted into a baroque palace. During the most extensive renovation period (1663 and 1672) the large hall in the northern wing was added, which is today's famous Haydnsaal, and so was the the palace chapel in the western wing. The second reconstruction phase was realized under Count Nikolaus II., whom the palace owes its neoclassicist elements. Other elements from this time include the Garden Hall and the portico with the impressive entrance ways to both sides. Esterházy Palace therefore boasts an unusual blend of baroque glamour, classicist sobriety and Biedermeier curlicues. Today the main residence of the Esterházy Counts offers a fascinating glimpse into the life and work of the Esterházy family and the great composer Joseph Haydn.
The Haydnsaal is the pride and joy of Esterházy Palace and is not only considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls, but is also greatly appreciated for its exceptional acoustic properties. Planned by Count Paul I. as a piece of art itself, the hall was first used as a venue for dances and banquets, boasting frescoes by the Italian master Carpoforo Tencalla, who was also a painter for the Habsburg court.
Today the Haydnsaal is the central venue of the Haydn Festival, providing the setting for memorable concert evenings that attract thousands of Haydn fans from all over the world. It is the perfect venue for all types of chamber music, symphonies, oratorios and operas, and has the ideal size in which to experience the intimacy of this wonderful music. The Haydn compositions not only let you experience "classicism par excellence”, but also the spirit of an entire epoch.
The small and charming Empiresaal (Empire Hall) once served as dining hall, and was redesigned to what it is today around 1800. Haydn’s Imperial Quartet premiered in this hall. Today the Empiresaal hosts chamber and solo concerts.
The first religious works Haydn composed for the Esterházy court were dedicated to the Palace Chapel. The organ on the gallery is one of Eisenstadt’s 7 Haydn organs and one of Austria’s best organs from the classicist period. The Palace Chapel concerts are carefully chosen to reflect the setting’s unique look and feel.
The expansive 50 ha parkland in the heart of Eisenstadt adjoins the magnificent Esterházy Palace and was remodeled in classicist style in the 19th century. Back then the park's greenhouses accommodated some 70,000 plants, outshining the collection at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna and making the Esterházy greenhouses famous across Europe. In the 18th and 19th century the illuminated Orangery was used for lavish theater and ball events in addition to the palace and the garden. Today the Orangery still provides a wonderful backdrop for special events.
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Eisenstadt's cathedral was dedicated to Saint Martin, the patron saint of Burgenland. Joseph Haydn used to perform here. The cathedral’s organ is one of Eisenstadt’s 7 Haydn organs on which the composer used to play himself. Joseph Haydn’s predecessor as kapellmeister for the Esterházy family, Gregor Joseph Werner, also composed several works for St. Martins Cathedral. The cathedral archives still contain manuscripts and performance documents from this time.
The Franciscan Church, which is located next to the famous Bergkirche - the Church of Joseph Haydn - and St. Martins Cathedral, accommodates a further Haydn organ on which the composer performed. The adjoining monastery houses Eisenstadt’s Diocesan Museum.
The Hospital Church of St. John of God's Brothers is thought to have been built in 1739 by Prince Anton Esterházy in lieu of an older chapel that used to be in its place. To this day it houses one of the organs Haydn used to play on.
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