Schlossplatz 1, former court building
The Blue Court was originally an old freihof (a property owned by the gentry and exempt from taxation) with frequently changing owners, including Melchior Arguello in 1534/44, the Blauenstein (or Ploenstein) brothers around 1600, then the Counts of Mansfeld. Around 1715 Lucas von Hildebrandt carried out alterations for Imperial Vice-Chancellor Friedrich Carl Schönborn. After him, the property was owned by the Metsch, Khevenhüller and Daun families. The Blue Court was under imperial ownership starting in 1762, and was adapted as a residence for Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I (Francis Stephen) to replace the Old Castle, to which it was to be connected with various buildings. The Court was expanded on a grand scale based on designs by Niccolo Pacassi from 1765/67, an expansion which was largely necessitated by the growth of the Habsburg-Lorraine family (with 16 children!). Around 1774 the belvedere was constructed on the east wing of the Blue Court, the interior of which is decorated with trompe l’oeils. The artist responsible for these paintings may have been Josef Pichler, Vinzenz Fischer or Johann Wenzel Bergl. Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth, nicknamed Sisi, spent their honeymoon at the Blue Court. Two of their children were born here as well: Archduchess Gisela in 1857 and Crown Prince Rudolf in 1858.
And in 1883 Archduchess Elisabeth, Rudolf’s daughter, was born here. Today the building houses an international organisation, the IIASA – International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.