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The Hofburg Palace in Vienna and the treasury of the Habsburgs

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The main residence of the emperors of the Habsburg dynasty in Vienna was always the Hofburg Palace. Now there are several museums, the main one of which is the "treasury of the Habsburgs". This place in Austria can be compared with the "Diamond Fund" and "Armory Chamber" in Russia, here is the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, the imperial sword and other relics of the monarchy.

In this review in our series about the sights of Austria we will tell about the palace itself and some of the most significant relics in the treasury of the Habsburgs.

To tell about all the exhibits, we simply do not have enough paper format or patience. In addition, we must leave a veil of secrecy over this place for the reader.

Almost all the exhibits you can see in our galleries photo, photos were typed at once on three pages. References: Gallery photo part one , part two , part three .

The Hofburg Palace is a huge complex of buildings that were built throughout the reign of the Habsburg dynasty. Each monarch built something of his own, beginning in the 13th century, when a small palace was still acquired by him from the previous rulers of Austria, the Babenberger dynasty.

In the photo below you see the most recognizable part of the castle Hofburg, whose name can be translated as "New Palace" (Neue Burg). This building was built in the 18th century, when the palace complex experienced a period of the most intensive expansion. It was from the balcony of this building that Adolf Hitler (by the way, he was also Austrian by birth) in 1938 announced the accession of Austria to the Third Reich (read the article "The History of Austria" ).

Right in front of the New Palace is the "Heroes' Square", and the statue in the center, which you already noticed on the photo, depicts the famous Austrian commander Eugene of Savoy, about which we told about his castle Belvedere . Inside this part of the palace complex are two museums, the first museum dedicated to art, the second of natural history.

However, now we are interested in another part of the palace. It is very difficult to tell about all the buildings in one article, there are several dozens of them. Inside there are several museums, a national library, a riding school with stables, the residence of the President of the Austrian Republic and many more. It is here in the stables that you can see the horses of the famous "Lipizzan" breed, whose statuettes they like to bring from Austria as souvenirs .

We are primarily interested in the "Swiss wing", since the treasury of the Habsburgs is located in this building.

The oldest part of the palace, built in the 13th century, is built up by other buildings from all sides. The entrance to the Swiss wing can be difficult to find, for this you have to wander around the courtyards a little. Thanks administration for the fact that along the way there are special signs indicating the way to the treasury (in the photo on the left).

The second landmark is a statue in the shape of a lion with a crown and shield, which is directly at the entrance to the "Swiss Courtyard". The Swiss wing itself has the shape of a square, and the Swiss courtyard is in the center.

In this wing of the Hofburg Palace there was not only a treasury, but also a chapel and a kitchen. In simple words, this building supplied the emperors with food, both spiritual and carnal. The building in its present form was built by the Emperor Ferdinand I.

The treasury is divided into two parts, secular and spiritual. In the first part there are relics of the monarchical authority, decorations and personal belongings of kings and emperors, in the second you can see Christian relics and personal belongings of saints.

We will begin with the secular part of the exposition. The crown of Charlemagne, or the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, was made in the 10th century. The most interesting thing is that Charlemagne did not wear it. The crown is named after him, since Charlemagne was the first "emperor of the West", whom the Pope himself Leo III crowned himself.

The crown was made later, with one of the emperors of Otto I, Conrad II or Conrad III, this is not exactly known.

The second crown is no longer so ancient and the date of its birth is known for sure. It was produced in 1602 in Prague by a master named Jan Vermein for Emperor Rudolph II. The crown of Charlemagne was used only in the case of the coronation of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and in other cases was not used, it could not be worn constantly. Therefore, for everyday use, other crowns were used, most of which were lost.

At first, this symbol of monarchy was used as the everyday crown for the emperor, and in 1804 it became the official crown of the Austrian Empire. Recall that in 1804 the Holy Roman Empire ceased to exist.

In addition to the crown itself, in the Habsburg treasury in the Hofburg Palace there are two more symbols of the imperial power - the state and the scepter.

According to legend, the scepter is made from the horn of a unicorn, at least, this version was popularized by the Habsburgs. In fact, it is made of the horn of the Arctic whale narwhal. Both regalia are crowned with large sapphires, and the crown is crowned with a blue emerald, all this symbolizes the sky and the right to rule given by the god himself.

On this the symbols of the imperial power do not end, another attribute of the monarchy in Austria and the Holy Roman Empire was the "Imperial sword". The coronation process required not only the installation of the crown of the future monarch on the head, as a symbol of secular power, but also the transfer to him of the symbol of the rights to command the army.

This symbol was the Imperial sword, which you see in the photo below. This sword was made in the 12th century, and there was a time when in the empire parallel there were two similar swords in the hands of two alternative pretenders to the throne.

Do not be surprised not very smart work, make a discount on the fact that it was manufactured more than 800 years ago. By the standards of its time, this blade has simply excellent quality.

Sheaths consist of 14 gold plates, which depict the first emperors of the Holy Roman Empire from Charlemagne to Henry III. Interestingly, the scabbard itself is older than the sword itself, for a hundred years.

We are too carried away by the male theme of weapons, and are ready to be rehabilitated. In the photo on the right you see a crib in which representatives of the royal family lay in infancy.

As you have noticed, there are no serious gold or precious stones decorations, but the work is very beautiful. This cot was made for the imperial family in the 18th century.

We do not want you to conclude from this article that the exposition of the museum consists only of weapons and symbols of power. There are many paintings, ceremonial clothes and household items. All of them you can see in our photo galleries .

Many girls will be interested to see in the galleries photo ornaments, among which there is a rose bush, completely made of gold. It will also be interesting to look at the bedspreads in the imperial chambers.

In the final part of this article, we will touch on the religious subjects that the representatives of the Habsburg dynasty collected in their treasury throughout their history. Taking the oath by monarchs has always required the existence of the Bible, and, of course, it must be ceremonial.

The Vienna Coronation Gospel of John was used in ceremonies from the year 800. Of all the imperial regalia, it is the oldest.

It is a pity that this book is shown only in closed form. Inside, it is a beautiful example of the art of its time. The letters are written in silver and gold colors, the book contains sixteen illustrations.

In the book of 236 pages, for the Middle Ages it is a very large volume, especially given the fact that the books in those days were not printed, but were manually rewritten.

The cover depicts the god himself, who holds the Bible in his left hand, and blesses the virgin Mary with his right hand.

The most significant religious relic in the Hofburg Palace is an artifact that is correctly called "one of the artifacts claiming to be called the Spear of Destiny". We specifically call it that way, the fact is that there are four such spear points in the world, and they all claim to be the "Spear of Destiny".

According to legend, during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, he was pierced by the Roman centurion Longin. That is why, the spear is also called the "Longine's Spear".

According to one version of the legend, the centurion killed Jesus, the other struck a dead savior. On this subject, theologians still have arguments that we will not meet.

As we have already said, there are four such copies in the world. The first is in Vienna in the treasury of the Habsburgs. The second is in the Vatican, it is considered "the main contender". Another one is in Armenia and in Krakow in Poland. The latter is exactly a copy created much later than the 1st century.

It is believed that the spear of Destiny gives its owner invincibility in battle, and around this relic "a lot of other legends". According to one version, Hitler captured Austria for the sake of a spear, and in 1942 it was stolen from him by US intelligence, which is why he began to lose the war. This legend seems completely unlikely, even if we take into account the passion of the leader of the Third Reich to the occult.

Another legend says that the Americans removed the real spear after seizing part of Germany, where it was located, and in Vienna a copy is kept. This, in our opinion, is also a "bike".

According to other legends, it was owned by Charles the Great, Emperor Justian and one of the Kings is ready Todorich. All of them made great military victories. However, his possession on this or that legend is attributed to all the great generals. Another owner was Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, but he was clearly mistaken with the artifact, he should have stocked with a relic, protecting from water. (Recall that he drowned during the Crusade).

You can get there by metro in Vienna . Leave at Herrengasse metro station on the 3rd (orange) line.

On this, we finish our short story about the treasury of the Habsburgs in the Hofburg Palace, and we recommend that you familiarize yourself with our photo galleries .

Read our interesting articles about Austria ( links below ).

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History of Austria briefly for tourists

The 10 most famous Austrians

Resorts in Austria. Lake Carinthia

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All about money in Austria

What can I bring from Austria

How much to fly to Austria


How to get from Vienna airport to the city

Map and metro map of Vienna in Russian


Austrian desserts - apple strudel

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Sightseeing in Austria

Memorial to the Victims of Fascism in Vienna

Hohostervicz - the most impregnable castle

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Vienna City Hall


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Belvedere Palace in Vienna

Treasury of the Habsburgs and the Hofburg Palace


St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

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Klagenfurt - history, photo, what to see

Miniatures Park in Klagenfurt

Klagenfurt Cathedral

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