Palais Pálffy, Vienna, Credit: Elbes/Common
Palais Pálffy, Vienna, Credit: Yair Haklai/Common
Palffy Palace, built in 1357, is situated in the heart of Vienna. Its splendid Baroque Hall exhibits a strikingly beautiful wall décor and features paintings of the Palffy dynasty.
From 1357 to 1372 the palace was in possession of Count Maithburg, and at the end of the 14th century, it housed the Austrian 'Kanzlei' from Untere Bräunerstrasse. In 1500 Siegmund von Herberstein, a nobleman who was famous for his European journeys, occupied the palace. From 1547 until the end of the 16th century, it was in the possession of Prince Kinsky.
At the end of the 16th century, Rudolf Khuen von Belasy, Baron of Lambach, had the building torn down, and in its place, built a new palace in Renaissance style. He enlarged it by including the two neighboring houses, and parts of the house of Count Salm. In 1578 the property was elevated to the status of noble residence (adeliger Freisitz). The widow of the Baron of Lambach, Maria Magdalena, born Baroness of Palffy bequethed the palace to her son in 1590, who passed it on to his daughter and only heiress, Maria Franziska, who married Paul Count Palffy von Erdöd. With that the palace came into the possession of the Palffy family.
In 1684, the palace became 'Majorat' of the princely Palffy family. A date that is especially significant to the cultural history of the palace is October 16, 1762, when six year old Mozart, together with his sister Nannerl, gave a concert in the Figaro Hall. At this time the palace was in possession of the Hungarian chancellor Nikolaus Count Palffy. The grandson of this count was Ferdinand Count Palffy von Erdöd, commonly known as the 'Theater Count', who was the Court Theater director in Vienna. This continued the musical tradition in the Palffy family. (Later Mozart was reported to have introduced his 'Figaro' to a private audience in this same hall-hence the name 'Figaro Hall').
During World War II the palace was bombed and seriously damaged, as were also hundreds of other monuments in Vienna. In spite of the precarious financial situation in Post-War Austria, it was painstakingly restored.
Today Palais Palffy, also known as the Austria House, is in the possession of the Austrian Cultural Center, and is a center for cultural and social events.
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