Initially envisioned as a hunting lodge for the Habsburgs, Emperor Leopold I commissioned the construction of Schönbrunn Palace at the end of the 17th century. In the middle of the 18th century it was converted into a residence for Maria Theresa, the only female Habsburg ruler. Since then it has played host to the leading statesmen of Europe. 44 of its 1,441 rooms are on display to the public, and it's the most visited attraction in Vienna.
Its gardens have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, and have been open to the Viennese public since 1779.