Power and Glory of the Habsburgs

The Rise

A Documentation by Gernot Stadler

Documentation, 52 min, 2023
GS Film
Written by
Gernot Stadler, Björn Kölz
Directed by
Gernot Stadler
Gernot Stadler
Production Management
Monika Orsini-Rosenberg, Raphaela Loigge

No European noble family has left more traces than the Habsburgs, and no other dynasty has been more powerful in the long run. Its castles and palaces have survived the centuries.

As elected emperors and kings of the Holy Roman Empire, the Habsburgs exerted great influence on its political, economic and cultural development. The film takes you through numerous regions, often administered and ruled by them for centuries.

As one of the largest palaces in the world, the Hofburg in Vienna reflects the meteoric rise of the House of Habsburg with its construction phases. In the former imperial wine cellars are now plaster models of various statues and monuments from the time of the dual monarchy. It also illuminates the expansion of the Habsburg domestic power in the East, where after the victory of King Rudolf I over Ottokar of Bohemia the duchies of Austria and Styria fell to the Habsburgs. Later Carinthia, Carinthia and Tyrol were added.
The enormous importance of Innsbruck becomes clear during a visit to the Hofburg Innsbruck, which was particularly loved by Emperor Maximilien I. In addition to an important family tree of the Habsburgs, at Tratzberg Castle high above the Inn Valley, you can even admire the emperor’s bedroom, which has remained unchanged for more than 500 years. In the Hofkirche of Innsbruck, the magnificent tomb with the larger-than-life “Black Manders” that Maximilian had built for himself is impressive. The journey continues to the Kaiserburg to Wiener Neustadt, where Maximilian was finally buried in a simple tomb.
A visit to Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral leads to the burial of Maximilian’s father, Emperor Frederick III. The competition between Duke Rudolf IV and his father-in-law, Emperor Charles IV, in Prague is also illuminated. It was there that Charles IV, a member of the Luxembourg family, built the St. Vitus Cathedral and founded the oldest German university. Rudolf founded St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the University of Vienna, the Alma Mater Rudolphina. The cinematic journey leads from Vienna to Prague and over the famous Charles Bridge to Prague Castle and the magnificent St. Vitus Cathedral.

We continue south to the Benedictine monastery of St. Paul in the Lavant Valley in Carinthia. Since the transfer of their mortal remains more than 200 years ago, some of the earliest Habsburgs have been buried here in a tomb in the Collegiate Church. Of course, their descendants were much more lavishly laid to rest in the Capuchin tomb in Vienna. Impressive are the Baroque coffins of Emperor Charles VI or his daughter Maria Theresa and her husband Franz Stephan of Lorraine.