You get a large clue as to what awaits you in the Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury) when you pass through the entrance. It looks like the kind of door you see in bank vaults. And for good reason.
- Relics, crown jewels, and treasures
- Highlights include
- Crown of the Holy Roman Emperor
- Habsburg Imperial crown
- Central location makes it easy to fit into your sightseeing
- See also:
Inside the Schatzkammer
The displays divide across secular and ecclesiastical sections, though everything is part of one complex.
What you get is a trip through over 1000 years of history in the form of imperial status symbols: crowns and ceremonial robes, swords and scepters, gems and jewelry, relics and rich altar tapestries.
The collection represents a literal treasure trove for history aficionados, since the exhibits put you in touch with momentous events of the past.
For example, imagine the coronation of a Holy Roman Emperor hundreds of years ago…
The robes are inside the Schatzkammer. And the crown, too.
Imagine the great Emperor Charlemagne seeking inspiration in the pages of his bible in the early 9th century.
The bible’s here.
Or imagine Napoleon’s wife leaning over her son’s throne-like cot on a cold evening, singing lullabies in accented French.
The cot’s here.
For those of a Christian leaning, some of the relics will inspire awe.
Since no records go back far enough, we have no proof of authenticity, of course, but the relics’ stories, acquisition history (dating back as far as the 12th century and beyond) and presentation (in displays of exquisite workmanship) have value in their own right.
The Schatzkammer has so many highlights, I’ve given them their own article.
Tickets & visitor tips
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
A few tips:
- The location has cloakroom facilities and coin-operated lockers.
- An audio guide is good value, with extensive background information on many of the items on display.
- Benches dot the secular section, offering a place to sit and take it all in (or listen to your audio guide).
- On my last visit, each room in the secular Imperial treasures had one or more useful summaries in English that explained the gallery’s theme and context, but also added specifics about some of the main items within. Display labels were also bilingual.
- The ecclesiastical Imperial treasures were, however, more or less German-only: an audio guide or guide book perhaps makes sense here. You might want either, anyway, to give more historical context to what you’re seeing.
- Don’t always expect the best pieces to get the most prominent positions. That small unobtrusive item or display might be something quite spectacular.
- The shop inside the Schatzkammer entrance hall has the usual souvenirs, but also a collection of jewellery priced a little lower than the items in the rooms beyond.
- A Vienna Pass (see my review) gives you one-time free entry.
- For more historical religious items, try the Dommuseum (just outside the cathedral and a relatively easy walk from the Schatzkammer).
- And for more treasures from the past, visit the Kunstkammer chamber of wonders at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (many items there would not look out of place among the crown jewels).
How to get to the Schatzkammer
The treasury sits in the middle of the Hofburg palace, near the National Library’s glorious State Hall (gorgeous Baroque library), the Sisi Museum (explore the life and apartments of Empress Elisabeth), and the Spanish Riding School (with public training), for example.
You pretty much pass it as you walk through this central complex.
The area is pedestrianised, but not far from many central stations and stops. For example:
Subway: A short walk from either Stephansplatz (U1 and U3 lines) or Herrengasse (U3 line)
Tram/bus: Take the D, 1, 2 or 71 tram to the Burgring stop. Or bus lines 1A or 2A to Michaelerplatz or Habsburgergasse
Address: Schweizerhof, Hofburg, 1010 Vienna | Website