Kaiserliche Schatzkammer

Entertainment & Arts

Europe, Austria, Vienna

The Imperial Treasury in Vienna, Austria is located in the Hofburg with its entrance at the Schweizerhof (Swiss Courtyard), the oldest part of the palace rebuilt in a Renaissance style under Emperor Ferdinand I. The Schatzkammer affiliated with the Kunsthistorisches Museum houses a collection of 1,000 years of treasures compiled by the Imperial House of Habsburg, including the medieval Imperial Regalia. The Schatzkammer collections were set up from 1556 onwards by the scholar Jacopo Strada, court antiquarian of Ferdinand I. Maria Theresa had the Habsburg treasures moved to its present location, covering up the fact that the dynasty's assets had been largely affected by the expensive wars against rivaling Prussia. The Imperial Regalia arrived in the last days of the Holy Roman Empire around 1800 from Nuremberg, where they had been kept since 1424, in order to save them from the advancing French troops under Napoleon. After the Austrian Anschluss of 1938, the Nazi authorities took them back to Nuremberg, at the end of World War II they were nevertheless returned to Vienna by the US forces. The display was completely renovated in 1983-1987. The Treasury is divided into two sections - secular and ecclesiastical. The secular museum contains a collection of royal objects: The Imperial Regalia (Reichskleinodien): insignia and jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, including the Imperial Crown, the Holy Lance and the Imperial Sword; The Austrian Crown Jewels, comprising the personal crown of Emperor Rudolf II, which with the proclamation of the Austrian Empire in 1804 became the Imperial Crown of Austria, with sceptre and globus cruciger, the regalia worn by Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria on the occasion of his coronation as King of Lombardy–Venetia in 1835, as well as the vestments and other precious items of the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary and the Military Order of Maria Theresa; The regalia of the Archduchy of Austria with the cord casing of the archducal hat made for the coronation of King Joseph II in 1764; The Burgundian Treasury, part of the dowry of Mary the Rich at her wedding with Archduke Maximilian I in 1477. The treasury of the Order of the Golden Fleece from the heritage of Mary's father Duke Charles the Bold. On display are various valuable gems, including one of the world's largest emeralds. Part of the treasury are also the crown of the Transylvanian prince Stephen Bocskay and the two “inalienable heirlooms of the House of Austria”: a giant narwhal tooth which was thought to be the horn of a unicorn (Ainkhürn) and the Agate bowl from Late Antiquity which was thought to be the legendary Holy Grail; furthermore the Napoleonica artifacts of Napoleon II and his mother Marie Louise. The ecclesiastical collection contains numerous devotional images and altars, mostly from the Baroque era.