A palace makes history
Halbturn palace was built in 1711 during the reign of Emperor Charles VI by Lucas von Hildebrandt, one of the most important Austrian figures in late baroque architecture.
Traces of the Habsburgs in Halbturn
Halbturn palace has gone through good times and bad. Its heyday may well have been the epoch shown in an oil painting from the middle of the 18th century. During the first Turkish siege the imperial stud had been destroyed. The Halbturn estate was mortgaged for several years and passed back into imperial-royal ownership under Emperor Charles VI. After the death of Emperor Charles VI his daughter, Maria Theresia, succeeded to the throne on account of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1740.
In 1765 Maria Theresia acquired Halbturn Palace, part of the estate of Hungarian Altenburg at the time, from the Hungarian crown. She gave it as private property to her favourite daughter, Archduchess Marie Christine, as a present for her wedding to Duke Albert-Casimir von Sachsen-Teschen (founder of the Albertina in Vienna). For this occasion the baroque artist Anton Maulbertsch was also commissioned to paint the ceiling fresco, “Triumph of Light”. As the marriage produced no children the couple adopted their favourite nephew, Archduke Carl, son of Marie Christine’s brother, Emperor Leopold II.
When Archduke Carl came into the inheritance from his adoptive parents in 1822 he was a wealthy man. His eldest son, Archduke Albrecht, took over the estate in 1847. As his sole male heir died in infancy the Archduke adopted his brother’s children. Consequently his estate – including Halbturn Palace – passed after his death in 1895 to Archduke Friedrich. His son, Archduke Albrecht was the next owner.
In 1956 Baron Paul Waldbott-Bassenheim inherited from his uncle, Archduke Albrecht. Since the death of Baron Paul Waldbott-Bassenheim on 20th February 2008 Halbturn Palace has been in the possession of Count Markus zu Königsegg-Aulendorf, Baron Paul Waldbott-Bassenheim’s adoptive son, a direct descendant of the archducal family.
Halbturn Palace could give an account of many wonderful experiences, but also just as many sad events. The worst catastrophe must have been 11th August 1949. After a great fire all that was left standing of the magnificent building was the stone outer wall. The only thing in the palace which was saved, as if by a miracle, was the most precious: the large central hall and with it the superb ceiling fresco by the famous painter Franz Anton Maulbertsch. Halbturn Palace was rebuilt and restored with government assistance at federal and state level.
Art and culture at Halbturn Palace
Halbturn Palace offers a varied programme of art, culture, wine and gourmet food all year round. Fascinating annual exhibitions, high quality concert series, various summer events and the famous Pannonian Christmas Market in the historical setting of the palace draw thousands of visitors and tourists from home and abroad every year. The “Halbturn Palace Cultural Society” chaired by Baroness Marietheres Waldbott-Bassenheim is responsible for the cultural and artistic programme.