In the middle of Vienna's beautiful historical Burggarten, encased in an impressive Jugendstil greenhouse, lies an enclosed little tropical utopia of swirling colourful butterflies and lush rainforest - the Schmetterlinghaus.
In the middle of Vienna's beautiful historical Burggarten, encased in an impressive Jugendstil greenhouse, lies an enclosed little tropical utopia of swirling colourful butterflies and lush rainforest - the Schmetterlinghaus. If you find yourself world-weary and wanting to escape the bustle of the city, this dreamy little enclave offers a perfect refuge.
The Schmetterlinghaus covers little more than 280 square metres of ground, but you can still find more than 150 different species, with about 400 individual butterflies fluttering around at any given time. The temperature remains at a steady 26 degrees centigrade, and the air humidity around 80 per cent. Watch out for the tremendous Atlas moth, the albatross of the butterfly kingdom, whose wingspan can reach up to 30cm.
The butterflies you'll find are bred in captivity, not captured from the wild, and all efforts are made to ensure that they are catered for with a stable, comfortable environment without any natural enemies.
Vienna's beautiful Burggarten, commissioned in 1818 by Franz I, was only opened to the public in 1919, but since then has become a fond breakaway spot for both tourists and locals. It is a genuine escape in the heart of the city, with narrow walkways, picturesque statues and a perfectly situated little coffee bar where visitors can rest their feet from wandering. It is centrally located, near the Hofburg and just 200 yards from the Opera house, bang in the middle of Vienna.
As an interesting historical detail, Kaiser Franz II, known as the "Blumenkaiser" or "Flower Emperor", was apparently very fond of manual garden work, and the tools he used to work in the Burggarten are still preserved today.
Photo: Thomas Ledl (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 at https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35216653