Sisi’s Rundweg on the Schmittenhohe.

Sisi’s Rundweg is a circular walk at the summit of the Schmittenhohe. It is only 0.9 km long but is full of interest. Information boards detail the life of Sisi, Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

284 Elisabeth Chapel

The walk starts from The Elisabeth Chapel which was planned in 1904/05 by Carl and Emille Hoschke as a memorial to Empress Elisabeth. On 10th December 1908, on the 10th anniversary of the death of Empress Elisabeth, the chapel was consecrated by Dr Johannes Baptiste Katschhtaler.

280 Elisabeth Chapel

Inside the chapel the altarpiece depicts St Elizabeth of Thuringen ‘Princess to the poor’ standing and delivering bread to the poor who are kneeling before her. Alongside, St Martin rends his cloak with his sword and St Joseph stands with a shepherds crook.

365 Elisabeth Chapel282 Inside Elisabeth Chapel

Stained glass windows depict the life of Empress Elisabeth.

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The life of Empress Elisabeth, nicknamed Sisi.

Elisabeth Eugene Amalie was born on 24th December 1837 in Munich. She was the daughter of Duke Max of Bavaria and Ludovika, the daughter of the King of Bavaria.The family spent their summertime on Lake Stamberger See in their small castle and Elisabeth had a carefree life growing up with her seven brothers and sisters.

Sisi’s mother Ludovika was the only one of three sisters who did not marry into a Royal Family. Her husband Max, was a Wittelsbacher, and was accorded the title ‘Duke in Bavaria’ only upon his marriage. Sisi’s mother conspired with her sister Sophie who was the mother of Emperor Francis Joseph to try to marry her other daughter Helene to Francis Joseph. The prearranged meeting of the families did not go according to plan. Emperor Francis Joseph did not like Helene but fell in love with Sisi at first sight. They were married in a magnificent imperial wedding ceremony on he 24th April 1854 in the Augustinerkirche in Vienna. Sisi was just 16.

When she was 17, Sisi gave birth to a daughter who was named Sophie Frederike. A year later another daughter,Gisela was born. In 1858 Crown Prince Rudolf Francis Carl Joseph was born. Her forth and last child, Marie Valerie Mathilde Amalie was born in 1868. Sophie died at age two from diarrhoea and fever. Crown Prince Rudolf committed suicide when he was 31 at Schloss Mayerling in Lower Austria, together with his Mistress, Mary Vestera.

Sisi was never happy with formal life at court and was at odds with her mother in law Archduchess Sophie, who took over the rearing of her daughters. In 1860 Empress Elisabeth was suffering from a respiratory disease and was inspired to travel. She made her first trip away from her husband and visited a spa in Madeira which gave her the chance to escape court life. On her return to Vienna she suffered a relapse. Her doctors diagnosed ‘consumption’ and Sisi set off to a spa on the island of Corfu. It was the start of a journey that would continue for the rest of her life. She travelled through Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa. When after almost 20 years she returned to Vienna she had transformed from a shy young girl to a self-confident Monarch.

Sisi, was she the world’s first top model?

Sisi 1Sisi 2

Sisi’s beauty was legendary.She was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time. Partly this was due to her elaborate beauty regime.She would spend up to three hours a day just looking after her long hair. She was fixated with her slender waist which even after three children still measured only 19 inches, helped of course by some strong corsetry. She was also addicted to exercise, horse-riding, fencing and hiking. However she was not anorexic and enjoyed a large breakfast and lunch but hardly touched any food after 5 pm. She also enjoyed champagne, beer and ‘violet flavoured ice cream.

After she turned 32 she did not allow any photographs of her to be taken and apprared less in public.

Empress Elisabeth in Zell am See.

On 7th August 1885 at 8.00 pm, Empress Elisabeth arrived in Zell am See and stayed at the Hotel Elisabeth.

Before the construction of the Schmittenhohebahn, guests were taken up the mountain in a horse drawn coach along a bridle path. However Sisi did not want to go this way, she wanted to walk. On 9th August she left with Anton Ultman a local guide to walk up the mountain. She started at 1.00 am and reached the summit in time for the sunrise. The steep climb usually takes about three hours but she did it in 2 hours 16 minutes.

The Assassination

On 9th September 1898 on the shores of Lake Geneva, the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni stabbed Elisabeth in the heart with a knife. She managed to board a lakeside boat but collapsed and died shortly afterwards.

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The walk is short but not to be hurried. Take time to read the information boards and look at the flowers.

Alpine flowers

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About crosbyman66

My aim is to create a photo diary of my walks and my travels. I have two main hobbies, walking and photography and these complement each other. I am a senior citizen, what used to be called an old age pensioner, but I don't feel old. Since retirement I have had more time to pursue my hobbies and the opportunity to travel more. My philosophy now is - Do what you can, while you can. My other interests are fine wines and keeping fit. These may not complement each other but keep me happy.
This entry was posted in Austria, Photography, Travel, Walks. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sisi’s Rundweg on the Schmittenhohe.

  1. Marie Moran says:

    Alan, John our Daughter Pam and I were there about 2 years ago. We did the walk and visited the chapel. Lovely to see your photos and read all about Sisi again. You are so lucky to be close to so many interesting places and visit them. In November we are flying to Japan and sailing back to Sydney 22 days. All up about 4 weeks, another epic adventure. Wish I was 20 years younger. It is what it is, we are fortunate to be able to do it. Thanks agin for your interesting blog.

    • crosbyman66 says:

      Hi Marie. Thanks for your comments. Zell am See is a beautiful place and I am sure we will go back there. It is only a 2 hour flight from home.
      I am sure there is lots to see in Australia and the Pacific. We would love to go but I think our epic journeys are over. Enjoy Japan.
      Alan

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