Eisenstadt, the Provincial Capital
COLOURFUL AND LIKEABLE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL
It is by no means the most heavy-weight of provincial capitals and does not want to be. “Small, but choice” is the living motto of Eisenstadt, Burgenland’s provincial capital. Surrounded by numerous vineyards on the southern slopes of the Leitha Hills, the city that was the former residence of the Esterházy Princes nevertheless has a lot of pleasant experiences to offer its visitors. It combines the charm of a small city with the attractions of a great cultural melting pot. Not just because of the historic sites, the varied programme of events (matinees, the Haydn festival, shows, etc.) or the interesting themed city tours, but also because of the fantastic shopping opportunities.
The provincial capital since 1925, it is the youngest and smallest in Austria. Freistadt Eisenstadt can look back on a colourful history, which still today casts a spell over its visitors. Practically every building has an interesting story to tell. If one walks through the old city, which is protected as a historic monument, one actually rather expects to bump into the famous composer Joseph Haydn. The international Haydn days which are held annually in September have made the city famous around the world.
In the Oberberg quarter, the Bergkirche with its probably unique Calvary is impressive, as is the Haydn Mausoleum, the last and worthy resting place of the great composer. Besides Schloss Esterhazy, considered the most important cultural monument in the Province, the Landesmuseum Burgenland is also a highlight of any visit.
The Schlosspark is a jewel – a former baroque garden, which was turned into a landscaped English garden about 1800. With its grottoes, fountains, the Leopoldinentempel and the Orangerie, dreamy images of times past come to life as one takes a restful walk. One is a step closer to heaven on the Gloriette, which was built almost 200 years ago as a hunting lodge for the wife of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy II, in the style of a Greek temple. From here and from the Jubiläumswarte behind it one has a gorgeous view over the roofs of the city and on clear days this view extends as far as Lake Neusiedl.