The Hofburg is the former imperial palace in the centre of Vienna, Austria. Built in the 13th century and expanded in the centuries since, the palace has been the seat of power of the Habsburg dynasty rulers, and today the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria. It was the principal imperial winter residence, as Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence.
Since 1279 the Hofburg area has been the documented seat of government. The Hofburg has been expanded over the centuries to include various residences (with the Amalienburg and the Albertina), the imperial chapel (Hofkapelle or Burgkapelle), the imperial library (Hofbibliothek), the treasury (Schatzkammer), the Burgtheater, the Spanish Riding School(Hofreitschule), the imperial mews (Stallburg and Hofstallungen).
Numerous architects have executed work at the Hofburg as it expanded, notably the Italian architect-engineer Filiberto Luchese, Lodovico Burnacini and Martino and Domenico Carlone, the Baroque architects Lukas von Hildebrandt and Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach, Johann Fischer von Erlach, and the architects of the Neue Burg built between 1881 and 1913.
The name translates as “Royal Castle”, which denotes its origins when it was initially constructed during the Medieval Age. Initially constructed as the seat of the Dukes of Austria in the 13th century, it expanded over time as their position became increasingly powerful. From 1438 to 1583 and from 1612 to 1806, it was the seat of the Habsburg kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, thereafter the seat of the Emperor of Austria until 1918. It has continued its role as the seat of the head of state and is today used by the Austrian Federal President.
It is also the permanent conference seat of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The whole palace complex is under the administration of the governor (Burghauptmann), who in turn is part of the Burghauptmannschaft, a government office which has been in existence since the Medieval Age under the auspices of the Burgrave. Presently the Burghauptmannschaft is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry of Economy.
In September 1958 parts of the Hofburg were opened to the public as a convention centre. In the first ten years the Burghauptmannschaftoperated the convention centre; since 1969 a private company (HOFBURG Vienna – Wiener Kongresszentrum Hofburg Betriebsgesellschaft) has been managing the international congress and events center. Every year the convention centre hosts about 300 to 350 events with around 300,000 to 320,000 guests. Among the events are conventions and meetings as well as banquets, trade fairs, concerts and balls.