The “Gloriette” is one of the most popular attractions of Schönbrunn Palace Park. When the Viennese say “Gloriette,” what they actually mean is the building called the “Great Gloriette,” which stands on the hill overlooking the central “Neptune Fountain.”
It was built in 1775 and commemorates the Battle of Kolin in the “Seven Years War,” in which the Austrian Imperial Army successfully stopped Prussian King Frederick II’s advance toward Vienna on 18 June 1757 .
It is the largest and best known gloriette in the world and was commissioned by Empress Maria Theresa. Later it served as a dining/ballroom as well as the breakfast room of Emperor Franz Joseph I.; the dining room continued to be used until the end of the monarchy in 1918. Since 1996, it has been home to a cafe with a rooftop observation deck which offers a marvellous view of Vienna. The Latin inscription on the front means “Built in 1775 under the rule of Emperor Joseph II and Empress Maria Theresa.”
During the Second World War, there was an AA gun emplacement on the Gloriette, and the building suffered heavy damage from Allied bombing in 1945.