THE FAIRYTALE CASTLE MIRAMAR
Date: 26 September 2022
Miramar Castle was built in the 19th century by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian I of Habsburg-Lorraine (1832-1867), the younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph and later King of Mexico, to live in it with his wife Charlotte of Belgium. The construction took place from 1856 to 1860 under the leadership of Karl Junker, following the instructions of the Archduke, who wanted the interior of the castle designed like the interior of a ship.
In the castle, do not miss the room decorated with paintings by the Piran-born painter Cesare Dell'Acqua, which depicts events from the life of Maximilian and the history of Miramar. All rooms are still furnished with original fittings, decorations, furniture, and objects from the mid-19th century.
The botanical tropical park that surrounds the castle extends along the seashore and was designed by Archduke Maximilian himself, and is designed on a cliff that was completely bare until then, without any vegetation. The garden was never intended for public use, although the Archduke opened it to the public a few days a week.
Maximilian lived in the castle until his appointment as Emperor of Mexico, where he and his wife Charlotte sailed from Trieste in April 1850 on the ship Novara. In Mexico, Maximilian was shot by Mexican rebels in 1867. His execution left Charlotte completely mentally broken for the rest of her life. For some time she lived in Castellet, a small building in the castle park of the Miramare manor, where she and her husband Maksimilian lived before moving to the manor. She soon returned to her native Belgium, where she died completely depressed and helpless on January 18, 1927, in the Bouchout mansion. She never returned to the Miramare mansion itself. Miramar then served as a temporary residence of the Habsburgs, and in the 1930s, Amadeus Savoy, the 3rd Duke of Aosta, lived on the first floor.
Nearby, don't miss the natural marine reserve Miramar (Area Marina Protetta di Miramare), which is located next to the Miramar Cape, and the Devin Castle, whose construction dates back to the 12th century. At that time, its owners were the Ogle patriarchs, then the Austrian counts, and now the castle is owned by the Turn und Taxis family. Many "eminent" Europeans visited here, such as Liszt, D'Annunzio, and the poet Rilke, who wrote the poetry of the Devin Elegy.
The 3.2-kilometer-long Napoleonic path also invites you to visit. It is said to have been opened by Napoleon's troops in 1797 when they reached Trieste. If you go on a trip with small children, take a drink and a snack with you, because there is nowhere near Prosecco where you can refresh yourself.
Maybe you didn't know?
- Elizabeth of Bavaria, known as Princess Sissi, is said to have lived at Miramare Castle at least fourteen times between 1869 and 1896. Sissi married Franz Joseph I in 1854 and became the legendary Empress of the Habsburg Monarchy at the tender age of seventeen. Because of her, Romy Schneider is said to have become a film actress, and she completely captured German-speaking audiences as a seventeen-year-old girl, as she portrayed the Habsburg empress Sissi in the romantic historical trilogy.
- Many unexplained stories are also woven around Miramar Castle. After Charlotte lost Maximilian, she was said to have cursed the entire castle and everyone who lived there. Thus, Franz Ferdinand of Austria was the victim of violent death in the infamous Sarajevo assassination, which was the reason for the start of the First World War. Amadeo of Savoy, Viceroy of Ethiopia, died in a concentration camp near Nairobi, Kenya in British captivity. Charles Moore's American General died during the Korean War. Colonel Bowman from New Zealand, who was superstitious and believed in a curse, preferred to sleep in a tent set up in the castle park. Empress Sissi also died a violent death in an attack by the Italian anarchist Luigi Luchen in 1898 in Geneva.
- In 1859, Archduke Maximilian First bought the island of Lokrum near Dubrovnik, where Maximilian used to go on vacation. There is still a stone on the island with the Mexican coat of arms engraved into it, and a picture of Lokrum hangs in the Miramar mansion.
- Maximilian First was shot on the orders of Benito Juarez in the early morning hours of June 19, 1867, together with two of his generals. His body was embalmed and publicly exposed in the city of Queretaro until January 1868, when his elder brother, the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, sent the battleship Novara to fetch him, which transported him to the then Austrian Trieste. From there he was transported to Vienna and buried in the crypt of the Capuchin church and monastery. family tombs of the Habsburg royal family.
- Trieste - an Italian city on Slovenian territory with an Austrian history - is just around the first corner from Miramar. This is the place where you will drink the best coffee in the world. It cannot be otherwise in Europe's largest port for coffee. Caffe San Marco, Tomasseo, Stella Polare, Torinese, and Urbanis are mythical places of historical nostalgia, where James Joyce wrote Ulysses, and Claudio Magris the Danube, the irredentists planned the annexation of Trieste to Italy, and the communists the revolution. The short espresso they make in Trieste is one of those things that makes completely serious people willing to travel halfway across Europe.
- As part of the MerlinCV project, Interreg Italy-Slovenia, a video about the Miramare Castle was also made, which you can view at the link.