Thursday Doors/FOTD: Schoenbrunn Palace

July 7, 2019

On our second day in Vienna (and 2nd to last day of our Grand European Tour cruise!), we visited Schönbrunn Palace. This 1,441-room palace was the summer residence of the Habsburg rulers and is a major tourist attraction in Vienna. The palace in its current form was built in the 1740s-1750s during the reign of empress Maria Theresa who received the estate as a wedding present. Her husband, Franz, had the exterior of the palace redecorated in neoclassical style as it is today.

The only female Habsburg ruler, Maria Theresa ruled for 40 years. She and Francis (Franz) I, the Holy Roman Emperor, had sixteen (!) children – eleven daughters, including the Queens of France and Naples, and five sons, two of which were Holy Roman Emperors. Thirteen of her children survived infancy. There is a portrait of her in the palace and when it was pointed out to us, the guide told us the story of Austria’s female empress. We gasped when she told us the empress had 16 children!

The longest reigning emperor of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Franz Joseph I, was born at Schönbrunn Palace in 1830 and spent much of his life there. He reigned from the end of 1848 until his death in 1916. The end of World War I saw the fall of the Habsburg empire so the palace was given to the Austrian Republic and preserved as a museum.

As with all the palaces we visited in Europe, photography was not allowed inside, so all my photos are of the palace’s exterior and its extensive gardens.

Being able to take pictures on the outside, I managed to photograph several doors and gates for today’s Thursday Doors challenge!


The ornate entrance gate


Another “gate” or archway, within the gardens



Balcony shuttered door


This one is my favorite!


More doors with shutters

For a fee, one can take a horse and carriage ride. I was intrigued by the horses’ “hats”!
20190707_111019Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens were recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Foundation in 1996 as a remarkable Baroque estate. Many beautiful white marble statues flank its gardens; I posted a few of these a couple of weeks ago for Sculpture Saturday.

Wait…this guy isn’t a real statue, although he remains motionless until you get close! Perhaps he can sing a few bars of a Mozart symphony!

In spite of the summer crowds and the heat of the day, I enjoyed our visit to this former summer home of the Habsburgs. Here’s a vase of flowers for Cee’s FOTD 2/13/20.
Historical information from my personal notes and Wikipedia: Schönbrunn Palace.




Thursday Doors: Two Chicago Churches

I am entering this post into Norm’s Thursday Doors, as part of my tour of Chicago’s places of worship. Today I feature two Roman Catholic churches, St. Edward Church and St. Gregory the Great Church, both on the north side.

We visited St. Edward Roman Catholic Church during Open House Chicago, having put it on my “must see” list because it contains a painted replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. We had seen the original in Bayeux, France only a few months before.20191019_11582320191019_115850
St. Edward’s take on the story of the tapestry focuses on Edward who had been king of England and his benevolence as king. He was very pious and supposedly saw visions and cured people by his touch, which later earned him the status of a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Edward was childless and William of Normandy was his cousin.

In Normandy, France, we didn’t hear much about Edward. There the emphasis was on William, Duke of Normandy (also known as “the Conqueror”), who invaded England in 1066 and took the English throne from Harold, who had succeeded Edward as king.  Harold did not have long to rule: he became king in January of 1066, following Edward’s death, and William’s invasion, known as the Battle of Hastings, happened later that same year.
The replica was painted in oils on the ceiling of the narthex of St. Edward Church by Mae Connor-Anderson and is about 75 feet long. It is not complete, containing only 24 scenes and the Latin inscriptions were removed. The 24 scenes tell of St. Edward’s role in the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
The merger of the Saxon and Norman cultures created a new culture from which the English language evolved. Government was a mix of Norman and Saxon traditions.
St. Edward Parish was founded in 1899 and its current church building was dedicated in 1940.

This is one of the doors from the narthex leading into the sanctuary. There are several of these which all have the same design.
Confessional and confessional door

The stained glass windows throughout the sanctuary depict many important events in Christianity and the life of Jesus Christ. The pair pictured below depicts the birth of Jesus and his presentation in the temple with Simeon.


St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church has been serving the north side of Chicago since 1904, when immigrants from Luxembourg petitioned for a new parish. Its congregation today comprises many immigrant and ethnic groups.
Although it was one of the sites open to the public during Open House Chicago, my visit there was with a friend for a concert by International Chamber Artists, who perform there often. The music director at the church arranges these and other concerts and is a fine musician himself.

St. Gregory is absolutely gorgeous inside. It was built in the 1920s in Norman Gothic style. It has a lavishly decorated ceiling and an intricate white reredos* behind the altar. The pulpit, shrines and stations of the cross were all hand-carved in Germany. The windows are made of English and jewel glass.

The door at the front of the church…
was not actually where we entered. Because we were ushers for the concert, we had to arrive an hour early to help with the preparation for the concert. Here is the door we entered.
You will notice that this and other doors in the church have small windows with diamond shapes in them.
The main sanctuary with its colorful and intricate decoration.
The main altar, with its white reredos in front of the back wall.20191103_144204
Shrine to the Virgin Mary, common in Catholic churches (St. Edward has one also, pictured above).
Inside the front entrance door
Confessional and its door

An inner door – I noticed that the diamond shapes all had pictures, symbols or Greek writing inside them.
I began to look at these more closely and saw a variety of pictures, each one unique.
On the church’s web site is their mission statement and that, guided by the Holy Spirit, they are committed to:
*Celebrating and sharing God’s goodness by providing beautiful experiences of prayer and worship
*Providing opportunities for people to grow in their faith, hope, and love
*Extending the healing of Christ into the lives of all people so that they may come to know and share in the love Christ has for our world
*Offering opportunities for fellowship, hospitality, and service
*Evangelizing (spreading) the Good News of Jesus Christ through experiences of the fine arts

Of the two churches, I found St. Gregory to be the more beautiful and it has more interesting doors, but I enjoyed looking at the paintings of the tapestry panels at St. Edward, which were explained in a booklet the docents were giving out.

*What is a reredos? Promounced “RARE-eh-dahs,”according to Miriam Webster online, it is an ornamental wood or stone screen or partition wall behind the altar of a church. The term’s first known use was in the 14th century.

St. Edward Church – publications obtained at the church
St. Gregory the Great Church – the church’s web site and Open House Chicago web site.

Thursday Doors: Belmont Ave. & More

I had Norm’s Thursday Doors in mind when, two weekends ago, we went into the city for Open House Chicago. I took some random pictures of doors as we drove down the street. Most of these were on Belmont Avenue.

This is not a door, but a gate is a portal, an entryway, so I consider it worthy of inclusion. I like the way it connects two buildings.
20191019_144610I also include some interesting non-door architectural features on Chicago buildings, and a couple of other random things.

The decoration on top of this building is typical of the art deco style of the 1920s.
This house looks as though it might have been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or one of his disciples.

The door isn’t visible but what you see is above the door.
Partial doors visible here – I don’t know what church it is.
Modern sculpture
Inside Wintrust Bank, Old Town
DSC02531Chicago architecture is amazingly diverse – I recommend a visit to the city for any architecture buffs. Take an architectural tour on the river, but also take time to wander the streets of the older parts of the city. There are many hidden gems!



Thursday Doors: Open House Chicago

Last Saturday, we participated in the annual Open House Chicago event, in which over 300 buildings are open to the public. People can tour these buildings and most have volunteers that can answer questions about the building or organization housed there.

For Norm’s Thursday Doors this week, I feature some of the doors we saw on our tour of Lincoln Park and other nearby neighborhoods.

St. Edward Catholic Church, Irving Park neighborhood: We were interested in seeing this church for its painted replica of the Bayeux Tapestry in Bayeux, France. We saw the original stitched tapestry last June when we were in Normandy.
St. Edward has a particular interest in the tapestry because part of it tells the story of Edward the Confessor, King of England. In Bayeux, it is celebrated as the story of William the Conquerer’s invasion of England in 1066, and his son’s coronation as king of England and Normandy.20191019_120434
Dank Haus, German American Cultural Center, Lincoln Square/Ravenswood:
It was Oktoberfest at Dank Haus, so the public was invited to hear a German oompah band in the 5th floor ballroom, and while there, buy a German snack and beer. We had a pretzel, but we don’t drink beer! There is also an impressive full wall sized (including the elaborate frame) portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm I and a beer stein museum.

The building was originally the home of the Three Link Association, also known as the Oddfellows. Door knobs contained the symbol of that fraternal order.
The Belmont by Reside (formerly the Belmont Hotel) in Lakeview is an enormous u-shaped building that has always amazed me, so I made sure we took time to see it. Designed in elegant Georgian style, its elegant ballroom is now a parking garage, while retaining the original ceiling and ornamentation.
The New Elephant Resale Shop on N. Clark in Lincoln Park used to be Sphinx Storage, so its exterior décor has an ancient Egyptian theme. We did not go inside but I took these photos showing the ancient Egyptian symbols displayed outside.

The Elks War Memorial in Lincoln Park honors the more than 1,000 Elks members who fought in the wars since WWI. Its magnificent rotunda is the grandest domed rotunda in Chicago.

Moody Church in Old Town: This massive Romanesque Revival church has Byzantine elements. Its sanctuary seats 3,700 people, making it the largest column-free auditorium in Chicago. It is named after famous evangelist, Dwight L. Moody.
Under each seat is a rack that men used to use to store their hats.
These were not the only sites we visited, just the ones with interesting doors! 😉
More doors from OHC next week!




A Photo a Week: Signs at OHC

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge has the topic signs.

Here are some signs taken at Open House Chicago on Saturday. Open House Chicago is an annual event that takes place on a weekend in mid-October, in which over 300 buildings around the city open their doors to the public. Docents inside answer questions about the architecture, the place and its function, etc. This is the second year we have attended, visiting places we never could or even think about in the city of Chicago.


Sign listing prayers to be recited during a weekly service at the Muslim Community Center.



We visited Dank Haus, a German cultural center, which was celebrating Octoberfest.



Order of service at the Zen Buddhist Temple


This huge, U-shaped building used to be a grand hotel.



The Moody Church, an evangelical Christian church, is massive inside – there is seating for 3,700 people!

I hope to write more about these places in future posts!


Wurzburg Windows

For the photo challenges Ludwig Keck’s Monday Windows and Becky’s October Square, this post on Würzburg features the windows and lines of the city’s historic architecture. (The first two photos are squares.)
This one is my favorite window photo. (There are squares and geometric lines in it too!)
The Baroque architecture of the prince-bishop’s palace, the Würzburger Residenz
Church of our Lady, Marienkapelle
St. Kilian Cathedral, Würzburger Dom
Nuemuenster Collegiate Church
More Baroque architecture
City center
On the Main River


Thursday Doors: the Würzburger Residenz, Würzburg, Germany

June 30, 2019

On a walking tour of the city of Würzburg, Germany, we first visited the palace of the Prince-Bishop, known informally as the Residenz. The palace was built in Austrian/South German Baroque style, with some influence of the French Style, commissioned by Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn in 1720 and completed in 1744.


This is only one façade of this magnificent palace.

When he moved into the first palace constructed, the prince-bishop (these leaders were head of not only the government but also the Church) thought it was rather small – he had fancied something more like the Palace of Versailles outside Paris or Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.  Having won a lot of money in a court case, he used the funds to build an edifice that would show off his power and importance.20190630_141042
He was supported in this endeavor by, among others, his uncle the Archbishop of Mainz and his brother who was Imperial Vice-Chancellor of Vienna from 1704 to 1734. These supporters had influence among architects and artists of the time, supplying the project with men of renown to design and decorate the building.
We were not allowed to take photos inside the building, only outside, but I got some splendid shots of doors, facades and gardens outside.
When Johann Philipp Franz died, his successor, Christoph Franz von Hutton, had no interest in such an opulent palace and ordered all work on it to cease. Work began once more under his successor, including the gardens, and was finally finished in 1744.
Inside we viewed the remarkable frescoes by Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, whose techniques make his paintings appear to be 3D.


This photo, downloaded from Google Images, shows a partial view of Tiepolo’s ceiling fresco.

The palace was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during WWII and restoration has been ongoing since the end of the war. In 1981 the Residenz became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.20190630_141119.jpg
We wandered through the magnificent extensive gardens in back of the Residenz.

From there, I could get better shots of the back of the palace.

I even found an “ex-door”!
It was very hot that day – we were in the middle of a heat wave in Europe – and there was no air conditioning inside the building! After our free time wandering the gardens, our tour group gathered on the front steps of the palace, where a group of teenage girls was practicing some sort of choreographed dance. They were in the shade, but even so, their energy on such a hot day was amazing!

I always enjoy witnessing an activity like this informally done by locals – something tours don’t really show you. Würzburg has several other tourist attractions, including the lovely Cathedral, which I will feature in next week’s Thursday Doors!

Historical information was taken from the Wikipedia article Würzburg Reidence.
Photo of Tiepolo’s fresco and the grand staircase from FAB Senior Travel.


Thursday Doors: The Via Dolorosa (Jerusalem)

Norm’s Thursday Doors this week contains a new word for door lovers – doorgasm! Yes, I know the feeling!

We’ve been so busy  since we got home from our trip to Egypt and Israel last week, due to our daughter’s wedding this weekend, that I have not had time to organize my photos for blogging about the trip. Plus my camera broke while on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem  so I need professional help at least to restore the photos in my memory card(but that’s a whole other story)!

Thursday has rolled around again so I have compiled cellphone photos of the doors of Old Jerusalem. These were taken on the Via Dolorosa (literally “Sorrowful Way”) which is said to be the route Jesus took after his arrest and condemnation to carry his heavy cross to the place of his crucifixion.

Old Jerusalem has so many beautiful doors and gates that I even saw a poster depicting many of them. (I guess Norm and his fellow door lovers aren’t the only ones obsessed with doors, lol!) This post is strictly doors – I did not include gates because that would double the number of photos in this post!

We started at the Temple Mount, including Dome of the Rock, which is said to be the spot on which the temple stood, and ended at the Western (Wailing Wall), which will be the subject of a future post. These are doors I photographed along the way, and many of them I do not specifically identify because we saw so many places that day! (I’ll try to be better organized when blogging about the actual places. :-}


Al-asqa Mosque, on Temple Mount Square


St. Anne’s church, said to be on the spot where the Virgin Mary was born. Anne was Mary’s mother.



This is also at St. Anne’s – a door leading into the garden behind the church.


St. Anne’s again



Terra Sancta entrance


Church of the Flagellation



Catholic Church in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter


Station 6 of the Way of the Cross 


Technically, this is now used as a window, but it must have been a door at one time, with a stairway leading up to it.



The beautiful front door to St. Peter in Gallicantu, commemorating Jesus’ accusation of Peter, telling him that he will deny Jesus three times and then the cock will crow. The pointed finger of Jesus actually sticks out on this bas relief, as if he is accusing his followers in general of not believing in him.

All photos taken with Samsung Galaxy S7, on January 14, 2019.

Thursday Doors: Sigma Alpha Epsilon National Headquarters (OHC 2018)

During Open House Chicago 2018, we visited several sites in Evanston, including the national headquarters of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Regardless of my personal opinion of this fraternity’s history of hazing (for which it has been disciplined at least nine times) as well as of fraternities in general, the headquarters building is an austere German Gothic structure, whose interior is contemplative, far away from typical college campus fraternity activity.

This building had several interesting doors, and photos of them, such as this one of the front entrance are scattered throughout this post, as contribution to Norm’s Thursday Doors 12/20/18.
20181014_151902Located on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, the building of what is officially called Levere Memorial Temple was begun in 1929 and was dedicated in December, 1930. The headquarters, also known as Fraternity Service Center, honors members of the fraternity who have served in the armed forces since 1856.

Beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows in the chapel and elsewhere depict scenes which men have experienced in wartime as well as historical and Greek subjects.


The interior décor of the chapel was simple and elegant.
The building today is used for social and academic ceremonies and receptions at Northwestern University as well as fraternity national conferences and weddings. There is a museum on the bottom floor and a library contains annual volumes of fraternity affairs going back a century.



To learn more about Sigma Alpha Epsilon and its history, go to the Wikipedia article online.











Thursday Doors: Lake Street Church (OHC 2018, Part 7)

During the weekend of Open House Chicago (Oct. 13-14, 2018), we visited another of the Evanston sites, Lake Street Church.
Although founded as Evanston Baptist Church in 1858, according to their welcome brochure, Lake Street Church is now a “progressive community of spiritual seekers from across multiple denominations” and is “rooted in the free-church tradition,” seeking to “embody the best components of liberal Protestant Christianity.” This sign outside the church makes its mission of inclusion quite clear.20181013_161331
Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Roman Catholics and Protestants of several traditions have all passed through the main entrance.
The present Victorian Gothic building opened its doors in 1875 and it is now Evanston’s oldest public building.
Major renovation of the sanctuary took place in 1995.
Pulpit detail: carving of seed pods opening and cascading down the front toward the carvings of cherubic faces.
Victorian Gothic structures emphasize the vertical, designed to create an “uplifting feeling” through tall roofs pointing toward heaven and pointed arches in doors and windows.
The lancet windows in the sanctuary feature the high, pointed Gothic arch.

Facing the back of the church
The Rose Window is the centerpiece of the stained glass windows. It was designed and manufactured in Chicago and is characteristic of the Victorian Gothic design popular in the 19th century. Notice the use of elaborate designs and vibrant colors.
Stairwell windows

The organ, framed by a decorative arched ceiling.
Arch detail
DSC06574.JPGThe Church House, north of the sanctuary, was completed in 1925. Inside are a large auditorium, a dining room, Sunday School classrooms and meeting rooms. Its entrance continues the pointed arches and Victorian Gothic design.
Lake Street Church boasts many activities with an interfaith and social justice emphasis.

Plenty more awesome doors at Norm’s Thursday Doors, 12/13/18.