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The story of the Schweizerhof

Schweizerhof

The Hofburg. Most visitors and locals have walked along it and through it: the former Royal and Imperial Library, the “Leopoldinischer Trakt”, the “Michaelertrakt”, and the many other buildings and passages that have been built over the centuries. But where did it all start? Well, it started in the area that is known today as the “Schweizerhof” (The Swiss Court), which is the oldest part of the Hofburg. Its construction commenced in the first part of the 13th century (most likely under the orders of Kaiser Frederick II) and was finalized in the second part of it during the time of Ottokar II of Bohemia, Duke of Austria. Eventually, the Schweizerhof would have four towers of which only one survives today. Unfortunately for Ottokar, he most likely saw it finished, but could not enjoy it for long as he was ousted by Rudolf I, the first Habsburg that ruled Austria. And why is it called Schweizerhof? Not a big surprise but it was because its guard was composed of Swiss soldiers who came here during the reign of Maria Theresia. Not too long later, her son Joseph II sent them back to Switzerland. We do not know how this happened, but while the Swiss only stayed for roughly 22 years, their name still prevails! (Cr).