Harmonia Early Music

Harmonia Time Capsule: Vienna Zoo

Let’s take a quick look back in time…to a special look at the world’s oldest zoo.

TC-vienna zoo - giraffe

Photo: KLMircea (flickr)

Giraffe at the Vienna Zoo.

Located on the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, the world’s oldest zoo is known as Tiergarten Schönbrunn or Vienna Zoo. It was founded in 1752 as the private menagerie of Empress Maria Theresa’s husband, Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, and was one of a number of leisurely distractions at the imperial summer residence.

The menagerie consisted of thirteen separate animal enclosures shaped like cake slices which were centered around a pavilion intended for imperial breakfasts—all built by French architect and sculptor Jean Nicolas Jadot de Ville-Issey.

The zoo opened to the public for free in 1779.

The eldest son of Maria Theresa and Francis I—Joseph II—would later go on expeditions to Africa and the Americas in order to collect specimens for the zoo. Of the many animals to be housed during the first decades of public access, the giraffe had extensive influence over Viennese culture, including fashion.

Today, the zoo continues to thrive as both a research and educational entity. It is supported through private and corporate donations.

More about the Vienna Zoo.

Musical Selection

Georg Christoph Wagenseil: Tr. 12: Contefidor “Memoriam”
Monica Groop, contralto, and Christian Lindberg, baroque trombone — Trombone and Voice in the Habsburg Empire (BIS, 1992)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Georg Christoph Wagenseil: Tr. 12: Contefidor “Memoriam”
Monica Groop, contralto, and Christian Lindberg, baroque trombone — Trombone and Voice in the Habsburg Empire (BIS, 1992)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

View all posts by this author »

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Harmonia Early Music:

More Subscription Options

Follow Us

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Harmonia Early Music

About The Hosts

Search Harmonia Early Music

where to hear harmonia