Who hasn’t dreamt of becoming a king or a queen when growing up? We were all brought up with stories and fairy tales about valiant princes and beautiful princesses. However, being an actual royal is something completely different, especially nowadays. Nevertheless, seeing real royal treasures can still be very enchanting ( and educational). On my recent visit to Vienna ( last month) I got to admire the priceless crowns and other immensely beautiful objects in Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury) before I enjoyed a delicious cake at yet another Viennese cultural institution: Café Central.
About Imperial Treasury Vienna Museum
Imperial Treasury Vienna is housed in the oldest part of the Hofburg Palace in the center of Vienna (the royal palace of Habsburg family who ruled over Austria and much of Central Europe until 1918). Imperial Treasury may not be the most interactive or family friendly museum but it is one of the most important treasuries in the world containing secular and ecclesiastical objects of immense cultural and historical value. The museum is affiliated with the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, which is just a short walk from the Hofburg Palace. The museum’s collection was compiled by the Imperial House of Habsburg over the course of centuries but it has only been opened to the public as a museum since 1954.
The museum facilities include: ticket office, small shop, toilets and a cloakroom on the ground floor. There’s also an Audio Guide point (for extra charge) just before you climb the stairs to get to the museum’s collection spread over 21 rooms on the upper floor. The admission to the Imperial Treasury Museum costs 12€ for adults. The museum is open every day from 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM, except on Tuesdays. You can take photographs inside the museum but without flash. For more information about the museum click here !
Top 10 of the Imperial Treasury Vienna
As in most museums around Europe you can get a free leaflet with the museum’s plan and some basic information. I decided to find the top 10 objects listed in that leaflet while visiting the museum. Here’s the list of top 10 artifacts of the Imperial Treasury Vienna:
• Crown of Emperor Rudolf II
It’s in the first room you enter. It’s truly magnificent and there’s also the Imperial Orb and Sceptre.
• Cradle of the King of Rome
Now, this is one seriously imposing cradle. But you wouldn’t expect anything less for the Napoleon’s only son, would you?
• Emerald Vessel
It’s a small object but it’s actually the largest cut emerald in the world.
• Agate Bowl
I must say this was my favourite object of them all. It looks very contemporary. It’s rather big and the legends surrounding it are extraordinary. Some believed that it was the Holy Grail. It was made in the Late Antiquity and together with the unicorn’s horn (not real of course, it’s actually a narwhal’s tusk) makes ˝inalienable heirloom of the House of Habsburg˝, meaning it couldn’t be sold or given to anyone else.
• Reliquiary containing a nail from the true cross
If you are a devout Christian than this is the object you’ll value the most in this museum.
• Coronation Mantle
Very gold and crimson; worn for the coronation ceremony
• Imperial Crown
This is the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire, a title that the Habsburg rulers also had
• Burgundian Court Goblet
No, this isn’t something from the Harry Potter books. This magnificent golden goblet belonged to the Burgundy nobles before the marriage of their princess to a Habsburg king
• Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece
As funny as it may sound this collar didn’t belong to some fashionable shepherd from the past but to one of the oldest extant orders of chivalry. For more info click here
• Vestments of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Those knights also loved to wear quite ornate and opulent robes.
I found these objects fascinating but there were others that also impressed me such as the ones in the photos below.
I enjoyed my visit to the Imperial Treasury Vienna. Though the admission price could be lower ( I guess free London museums spoiled me!).
Would you like to visit this museum?
Have you read my other Vienna’s posts? Find them all in category Austria or on page Places I’ve visited under Austria, Vienna.