The Franzensburg, a key work of romantic classicism, was commenced in 1798 under the auspices of the imperial treasurer and later castle bailiff Michael Riedl, Edler von Leuenstern. The court master mason Franz Jäger, senior (1743-1809), was chiefly entrusted with its actual construction.
Already in 1799 "ancient elements of ruins and monasteries" were obtained "to create a ruin in Laxenburg gardens", for example glass windows of the dissolved monastery of Säusenstein on the Danube, building materials from Waldhausen monastery and the Capella Speciosa in Klosterneuburg. The chapel was consecrated on 15 October 1801, and on the same day the Franzensburg was opened. The actual construction activity was, however, delayed, and the Franzensburg was only completed at the end of 1835.
Numerous purchases and gifts, namely from wealthy abbeys and castles such as Melk, Kremsmünster, Greillenstein, Zwettl, Klosterneuburg, Lilienfeld, Heiligenkreuz, Schlierbach and Wilhering, gradually added to the decoration. Aristocratic and ecclesiastical figures also donated precious gifts for the interior decoration of the castle.
The Franzensburg is a structure that, away from the official academic-classicist line, and far from court pomp was created in the atmosphere of the privacy of the English Park of Laxenburg. The imperial private residence, the museum of "old German art", a monument to the Habsburg-Lothringen dynasty and, not least, a work of art from the era of Emperor Franz II (I).
The interiors of the Franzensburg always had several layers of constantly changing meaning. The interior of the romantic garden castle first accommodated the rooms of a fairy-tale knight. The elements of the decoration and furnishings, as a relic of "the antiquity of the fatherland" were also exhibits of a museum of "old German" art of the Austrian variety. For visitors in the times of Emperor France and still today, the Franzensburg was and is above all a sight, an attraction in the Laxenburg gardens, which already from a distance makes people curious and invites them to enter. Inside the "treasure house of Austria" reveals itself!
The Franzensburg is open for guided tours from Easter until the start of November!