The Palmenhaus in the castle grounds of Schönbrunn can be called a witness of Austrian history, without a doubt. Opened in 1882 by the emperor Franz-Josef I., it survived the bombings of the second world war, where almost all the glazing was destroyed and many plants were destroyed. After the war was over, waiting and restauration took 8 years until it could be reopened.

Today the Palmenhaus is one of the three biggest of its kind in Europe and the whole world. It has 2 500 square meters, covered in 45 000 glass panels, where 4 500 different kind of plants are housed. There are three pavilions, which provide three different “climate zones”, that are connected via tunnel-like hallways.

If you are a fan of architecture you will also get your money’s worth. 720 tons of iron were used in the building process, it is 111 meters long, 29 meters broad and 25 meters tall. Of course, the stars are the plants: The 350-year-old olive tree, a Seychelles palm that came from the eponymous republic. They also feature the works of Austrian biologists: In 2001, a rare water lily blossomed for the first time in over 40 years, which attracted 1 600 people who came to witness the blossoming, a procedure that only happens during the night!

The name givers of the house are continuously suffering the same sad fate: Two palms grew so tall, that they were touching the roof and had to be cut down, which happens about every 50 years. A new one has already been planted though.