The Palace is a former imperial Rococo summer residence in modern Vienna, Austria. One of the most important cultural monuments in the country. The palace and gardens illustrating the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.
In the year 1569, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II purchased a large floodplain of the Wien river beneath a hill, situated between Meidling and Hietzing, where a former owner, in 1548, had erected a mansion called Katterburg. The emperor ordered the area to be fenced and put game there such as pheasants, ducks, deer and boar, in order to serve as the court's recreational hunting ground. In a small separate part of the area, birds such as turkeys and peafowl were kept. Fishponds were also built.
The name Schönbrunn (meaning “beautiful spring”), has its roots in an artesian well from which water was consumed by the court.
During the next century, the area was used as a hunting and recreation ground. Especially Eleonora Gonzaga, who loved hunting, spent much time there and was bequeathed the area as her widow's residence after the death of her husband, Ferdinand II.