Vienna: Imperial Treasury, Hofburg

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Imperial Bling and Viennese Coffee

Day 15 of 18…It was our 3rd day in the capital city of Austria and our first order of business was breakfast at Café Landtmann, a fine Viennese coffee house located across the Rathaus (city hall).   Our Austrian snowboarding instructor back in Obergurgl recommended it for a traditional Viennese café experience.  We ordered the Franz Landtmann Breakfast, the most comprehensive among their classics plus 2 coffees and 2 hot chocolates.  An absolutely  satisfying way to start the day.

We shivered  when we stepped out of the café, but the sun was out and, apparently, so was the rest of Vienna.  There was a race just outside and we impulsively decided to join the crowd and cheered for the runners.

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New Year’s Eve race in front of the Rathaus

It wasn’t in our itinerary but we had to take advantage of the glorious weather that morning, don’t we?  So instead of going inside the museums right away, we wandered around the Volksgarten, a public park in the Hofburg compound and just across the Rathaus.

Hofburg lies in the centre of Vienna (Innere Stadt) and was previously the imperial palace until 1918.  Today, it is the residence and workplace of the Austrian president.  It is also home to several important museums including the Imperial Apartments, Sisi Museum, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Imperial Treasury, Imperial Armoury, and others.  If Schönbrunn Palace was the ruling family’s summer residence in the past, Hofburg was their winter residence.

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Hofburg, infront of Heldenplatz and the Volksgarten
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Welt Museum where the Imperial Armoury is
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Volksgarten is already pretty in winter, it’s probably even better during the summer months.
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Statue of Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830-1916) at Heldenplatz
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Facade of the Neo-gothic Rathaus (left) could be seen from the Volksgarten
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Delicious way to start the day
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It was in 1862 that Julius Meinl revolutionised the coffee culture in Vienna by offering ready-roasted coffee (before that, households roasted their own beans resulting in uneven, even bad, coffee).  That’s the portrait of Mr. Franz Landtmann on the top. Landtmann opened its doors in 1873.

After coffee and a walk in the park, the Imperial Treasury was next.

Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury Vienna) is a stone’s throw away from the Volksgarten and is just beside Hofburgkappelle, Hofburg’s Imperial Chapel which we visited two days back.

We bought our tickets to the Schatzkammer at the counter (luckily the queue was fast) which included the audio guide.  We wanted to join a guided tour but it happens only once a day at 4pm, and it was barely noon when we arrived.

The Schatzkammer Wien is considered one of the most important treasuries in the world.  It has an impressive collection of priceless relics of the Holy Roman Empire and the Empire of Austria.

The most significant and probably one of the oldest in the collection is the crown of the Holy Roman Empire which dates back to circa 962.   Another is the crown of Emperor Rudolf II (1552-1612), which later became the crown of the Austrian Empire. With the imperial crown and orb is a scepter whose stem is made from a narwhal’s tusk.  Poor narwhal.

However, a third of the time I had been chasing my way too independent 9-year old son who preferred to explore the rooms mostly by himself.  And so I was not able to take as many pictures as I’d want.  Hence, I could not make a proper comparison between the Schatzkammer and the Crown Jewels of London which I remember I enjoyed a lot.  But for sure the Schatzkammer was worth a visit.  Here are some of the interesting items inside.

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Imperial Crown, orb and scepter which were made for Emperor Rudolf II.  Made of gold, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, spinels and other gemstones.   The scepter’s stem is from a narwhal’s tooth.
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Crown of the Holy Roman Empire from c 962.  Made of gold, gemstones, enamel and pearls. Photo credit: https://www.kaiserliche-schatzkammer.at/en/visit/collections/secular-treasury/selected-masterpieces/
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Cradle of the King Rome, the cradle bed of the son of Marie Louise (a Habsburg princess, 1791-1847) and French Emperor and also Austria’s archenemy, Napoleon I Bonaparte (1769-1821).  The cradle was a gift from the City of Paris. Made of silver, gold, mother-of-peal, velvet and silk.

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Baptismal can and bowl that date back to 1571, made of gold and enamel

 

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Several ecclesiastical treasures were on display.  They were items used for religious ceremonies.
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There were ceremonial robes on display as well, made from the gold threads and the finest silk and velvet.
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Massive oil painting of Emperor Francis I (1768-1835) wearing the imperial regalia

We spent probably just an hour or so at the Schazkammer.  I thought it was not enough time to fully appreciate the collection but the kids were getting hungry and they’ve been itching to go to the Prater already.

The Imperial Apartments and Sisi Museum are in the vicinity but we chose to visit Schönbrunn instead of these two.

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Spanish Riding School, National Library and Albertina are also in Hofburg but we did not get to see them anymore.  Hopefully we could go back to visit all these. 🙂

Spending two full days exploring Hofburg would be ideal.

Stay tuned for our next blog – the Prater. xoxo

Here’s a glance at our morning at the Volksgarten.  Boys, what do you expect, give them a small strip of ‘road’ and they’ll turn it into a racetrack.

Here are the other posts on our holiday in Bavaria and Austria:

  1. Munich: Start of our family’s tales from last winter
  2. Munich: Viktualienmarkt Biergarten
  3. Munich: BMW Museum and BMW Welt
  4. Munich: Theatine Church and Odeonplatz
  5. Munich: Christmas Markets
  6. Munich: Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall
  7. Munich: City Aparthotel München
  8. Salzburg: Birthplace of Mozart and Silent Night
  9. Salzburg: Hohensalzburg Fortress 
  10. Salzburg: Residenzplatz Christmas Market
  11. Salzburg: Salzburg Cathedral
  12. Salzburg: Silent Night 200 at Salzburg Museum
  13. Salzburg: Silent Night Tour by Bob’s Special Tour
  14. Salzburg: Silent Night at Oberndorf and Laufen
  15. Salzkammergut: Road Trip to Hallstatt
  16. Salzkammergut: Christmas Market at St Wolfgang
  17. Salzburg: Krampus Run at Hellbrunn Palace
  18. Salzburg: Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg
  19. Obergurgl: A Week in the Austrian Alps
  20. Obergurgl: Chalet Obergurgl Luxury Apartments
  21. Obergurgl: Hohe Mut Alm Mountain Restaurant
  22. Obergurgl: Snowstorm on Christmas Eve
  23. Obergurgl: Day After the Storm
  24. Obergurgl: Snowshoeing
  25. Hochgurgl: Tobogganing
  26. Hochgurgl: Hochgurgl Cable Car Ride
  27. Vienna: First Impressions
  28. Vienna: Hofburgkapelle and Imperial Armoury
  29. Vienna: Schönbrunn Palace

 

16 comments

  1. Hmm Vienna, Wien of the Viennese, is stunning in summer. But it is also exquisitely hot and humid. We almost left the city with friends. Then my persistence reigned… and we ended up falling in love with it on a gusty evening, which did everything for the cause. I would want to see Vienna on a fine winter’s day too. Just like you did. It must have been so beautiful, and then hot chocolate, coffee, and pastries at its famous coffeehouses to wind up a long walk with.
    Sigh. It all seems like a distant, exotic dream at the moment. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah the coffee and pastries in Vienna are something else, making me drool just thinking about them now. My hubby’s asking if we should plan our London/Finland or Norway winter already. I told him to dream on for now… 🙂

      Like

      1. I think it is best to travel nearer home till we have a vaccine in hand..this is a most strange turn in affairs, Amor. We have cancelled plans for a long holiday already, and nothing beyond Stateside for this year, which is annoying since you know how Europe is nothing less than a siren. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I went there in 2015 or 2016. I loved it! I enjoyed the Tower of London very much. And we were supposed to visit it this December with our kids. We were planning on London and Scotland (more for university tours though. Yeah I will soon have a kid in the uni, gosh time flies. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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