The history of Augarten (“garden on the flood plain”) dates back to 1614 when Emperor Matthias had a small hunting lodge built on the previously unspoiled flood plain. During the following 150 years this private imperial hunting park was extended several times but was ravaged in 1683 during the Second Siege of Vienna.
In 1775 Emperor Joseph the Second opened the park to the public and the inscription on the entrance portal “Allen Menschen gewidmeter Erlustigungs-Ort von Ihrem Schaetzer” reminds everybody today of the emperor’s generosity to his people. The emperor had the whole garden renovated, including the planting of 400 lime trees, the installation of 200 benches and the rehoming of hundreds of nightingales. The emperor reserved one area of the park for personal use and had it fashioned in what was known as the “English” style.
The building in the middle of the park, known nowadays as Augarten Palace, is the former suite of concert rooms of Emperor Ferdinand the Third’s pleasure pavilion called Alte Favorita and where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven conducted the famous morning concerts from 1782 and 1792 respectively. The building was also used for balls, galas and sweepstakes and by the end of the 18th century had become a centre of fashion and culture. This is where Johann Strauss the First, gave his May Day concerts from 1820 to 1848. Following a period of disuse at the end of the 19th century, in 1923 the Viennese porcelain manufacturer Augarten commenced production of its “White Gold” in the former concert rooms.