Spanish Riding School, Vienna
The Winter Riding School

Josef Emanuel Fischer v. Erlach built (1729 - 35) the Winter Riding School on the site of the old "Rosstumblplatz". From outside the building is blended into the imposing Hofburg (Imperial palace) semicircle on the Michaelerplatz - or rather together with the Redoutensälen and the National Library they make up the magnificent surrounding of the Josefplatz. A flying buttress connects it to the Stables. Those entering the Riding Hall from the winding, dark stairs stop in surprise - stunned for a moment. They encounter a hall - a ball room of complete harmony, a white dream, which seems to glow in its own luminosity.

It is 56 meters long, 18 meters wide and 17 meters high - crowned by a richly -embellished, seemingly freely floating ceiling. 52 solid pillars support the gallery which leads to the royal box which is decorated with allergories. The ceiling in ivory tones seems to float freely and is a masterpiece of interior carpentry.

A portrait depicting Karl VI riding (this being the only coloured part of the hall) and a marble plaque with a latin inscription adorn the hall. The inscription is as follows:

"This Imperial Riding School was built for teaching and practice of the young of the nobility and also for the training of the horse in the art of riding and in battle on the command of Emperor Karl VI, the son of the former Emperor Leopold I under the instruction of the General Builder Director and Committee of Imperial Stabling Gundaker Count Althan in the year 1735."