The Imperial Palace was the residence of the Habsburg emperors until 1918. Originally a medieval castle, of which only the chapel has survived to this day, the residence of the court was expanded and made ever more lavish as the power of the Habsburgs grew and the territory of their dominions increased. The Palace Stables and Amalia's Wing were added in the 16th century, Leopold's Wing in the 17th century and the Imperia Chancery Wing, the Court Library and the Spanish Winter Riding School in the 18th century, giving Josefsplatz its present appearance; the monument to Emperor Joseph II (1780 - 1790), imitating the statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome, was unveiled in 1807. In the 19th century, on the plot on which the old Court Theater had stood (along with other areas), the vast complex was harmonically completed on its northeast end on Michaelerplatz by the addition of St. Michael's Wing. In the last building period, about 1900, the New Palace was created; it is one part of a grand design that envisioned another mirror-image wing symmetrically arranged on the other side of Heldenplatz and archways to tie in the two great museums to form a magnificent Imperial Forum - alas, the empire ended before these plans could be carried out.
Today, the Imperial Palace houses the offices of the Austrian president, the Hofburg Congress Center & redoutensaele Vienna, several museums and state rooms which are open to the public, the chapel where the Vienna Boys'Choir sings mass on Sundays and religious holidays, the hall in which the Lipizzan stallions of the Spanish Riding School perform, and various official and private apartments.