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The Treasury  Spanish Riding School  Albertina  Ephesus Museum  Hofburg Tidbits

 

 

 

  

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Other Hofburg Attractions

The Schweizertor Gate leads to the oldest part of the Palace

In addition to the formal tour described on the first page of our Guide to the Hofburg, we recommend that you visit the Treasury (Shatzkammer  ) that is housed in the oldest part of the Imperial Palace.  The Schweizerhof (or Alte Burg) was once protected by the Swiss Guards. The Treasury's collection includes the crown and jewels of the Holy Roman Emperor and other important pieces collected over almost one thousand years of European history.

The Treasury, also, holds many ecclesiastical items, including the Holy Lance (reputed to be the lance that was used to savage Jesus during his crucifixion), as well as other religious  relics and art. Open Monday, Wednesday through Sunday from 10 - 6.  The entrance fee is  approximately  8€.

Spanish (Winter) Riding School

Be sure to visit the Spanish Riding School if you are interested in the Lipizzan horses. If you enter the Hofburg from the Michaelerplatz, just follow your nose to reach the Spanish Riding School (to the left of the entrance to the Imperial Apartments), where, several days a week in season, you can take a tour, watch the morning exercise (with music) or attend a performance, which can be quite expensive. See this official site for more details .

         Inside the Winter (Spanish) Riding School at the Hofburg

Albertina

For those of you interested in the fine arts, the Albertina (formerly the Albertina Palace of the Habsburgs, named for the son-in-law of Empress Maria Theresa) has a phenomenal collection of graphic arts and hosts some of the finest art shows in Europe.  Be sure to see what’s on while you are in town.

The Albertina was damaged by bombing near the end of 1945, which destroyed the State Rooms and the facade of the Palace. Now completely renovated and mostly restored to its original appearance, the new Albertina has been capped with an unusual titanium wing over the entrance to the museum.   The Albertina is one of Vienna’s most popular museums.

  Near the entrance to the Albertina in the Hofburg

In addition to its art collections, the Albertina is known for its 21 Habsburg Staterooms, which were completely restored between 2000 and 2007.  If you are a fan of royal apartments and their decorations, this may be a stop of interest for you. (On the other hand, if you have seen the Kaiser  Apartments and plan to tour the Schönbrunn Palace, seeing these rooms may overload your interest.)

See this official website for more information on the Albertina’s art collection, exhibitions and the Palace Staterooms.  

Prince Eugene of Savoy, defender of Vienna from the Turkish Sieges.On the plaza, the Heldenplattz, in front of the Neue Burg, there are the two equestrian statues of Prince Eugene of Savoy  and Archduke Charles of Austria, who are remembered as great military leaders. Progressing across the Heldenplatz will lead you to the Ringstrasse and the Museum Quarter.

 

Ephesus Museum

While the museums and other attractions in the Hofburg are interesting, there are simply too many to see on one or even two trips. However, if you have been to Ephesus, Turkey we recommend visiting the Ephesus Museum  In the National Library Building (the Neue Burg on the Heldenplatz) as it, perhaps regrettably, has better examples of the ancient city that you can find at the actual site in Turkey (but of course, the museum lacks the ambiance of Ephesus). The Ephesus collection is stunning and you can get close enough to the displays to appreciate the amazing quality of the architecture of the spectacle that was Ephesus.

   The Neue Hofburg at night is a beautiful sight
As many of you know, Ephesus was an ancient  community in what is now Anatolia, Turkey.  It was conquered by the Persians and then Alexander the Great. Augustus Caesar made Ephesus the capital of the Roman province of Asia and by the 2nd Century it had a population of 300,000 people. Noted as the home of the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), Ephesus is one of the archaeological wonders of Turkey.

The Austrian Archeological Institute began excavations of Ephesus in the 19th century with the agreement of the government of Turkey.  The Institute was allowed to remove numerous artifacts for display in Vienna. Opened in 1978, the museum’s collection of Ephesus artifacts is outstanding and well worth a visit. Open daily, except Tuesday from 10am to 6 pm

If you have taken the time to see the Ephesus Museum, the Neue Hofburg also includes an excellent collection of medieval arms and armor  that is extremely well done. The armored helmet collection is extraordinary and you should spend a few minutes viewing the collection, as long as you there.

Finally, if you are a mapaholic and like antique world globes, you might want to spend a few minutes at the Palais Mollard Esperanto & Globe Museum, just down Herrengasse about a block north of the Hofburg.

Additional Information on the Hofburg


See this official site for details on all of the attractions in the Hofburg.  The Hofburg is open daily including public holiday from 9 am until at least 5:30.  Visit this website for an official history of the Hofburg.

See our map showing the locations of the best places to visit at the Hofburg, here.

Household Trivia of the Hofburg

During our visit, it came as something of a shock to realize that during the reign of Franz Joseph that  the only toilet and permanent bathtub in the Hofburg were in Sisi’s apartments. The rest of the royal family, including the Emperor Franz Joseph, had to make do with commodes. In addition, their bathing tubs were often makeshift affairs that were filled with steaming buckets of hot water carried to these rooms by servants.

Another interesting tidbit is that  until the 19th century, all the towels and washcloths in the palace were made of linen.

As noted previously, the rooms of the palace were heated by ceramic stoves, but the imperial stove tenders did not have access the royal family’s living quarters. In order to remedy this situation, the stoves were tended from hidden, narrow corridors running the entire length of the apartments, so that the royal family was not exposed to commoners, as well as the dirt from logs or the dust from coal used to heat the residence.

It was with some amusement that we were told that the Cellarer of the palace took care of wine, water and the ice cellars required to make ice cream and cool drinks. (It appears that the royals desire for cool drinks did not survive the empire. We had a difficult time finding drinks with ice in Vienna, even at McDonald’s, which is usually our haven for a cola with ice while we are away from home).

An excavation of Roman ruins in front of the HofburgBy the way, if you  entered the Hofburg from the Old City (the Michaelerplatz ) you may have noticed an excavation in front of the entrance (the Michaelertor).  The ruins on display are those of a roman settlement, believed to be a fort  that dates from the 2nd century AD.

If you would like to read about the Schönbrunn Palace (the Summer Palace), click here for our detailed Guide to the Schönbrunn.

 

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Vienna

Getting Started
Best Palaces
Best Churches
Best Music Venues
Best Museums and Galleries
Other Attractions
Best Shopping
Best Cafes
Best Day Trip
History of Vienna

Index of Places To Visit in Vienna

Best Places to Visit in Austria

 

 

 

 

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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