Last night I got some news that turned out to make today a little disappointing. I had booked a tour for today to get out of the city a little and see some of the surrounding countryside. However, it turns out that I was the only person booked on the tour today and the company cancelled it. I can hardly blame them and it would have been a good tour, but there is always time in the future for this. It did leave me a little on the spot for just what to do today.
I spent a little time on Google both last night and this morning to narrow down some extra spots to visit. I thankfully found a couple that looked interesting and I am surprised that there is still more to see.
Imperial Treasury, Vienna
I decided to make the first stop this morning at the Imperial Treasury. Here there is a large amount of rather expensive pieces to see. From gold to jewels and many priceless heirlooms of the nation of Austria. When I think of a treasury, though, I tend to think of banknotes, coins and maybe bullion. However, there is a whole lot more than these menial things to see here.
The entrance way is nothing too special, but the treasury itself is located in a series of 21 rooms inside. The items that are stored here in the treasury number in the hundreds and cover hundreds of centuries of history. One of the earliest pieces that I saw, although there may have been earlier was an Agate Bowl dating between 300-400 AD.
The collection does include a rather wide range of items you might expect such as precious stones, golden jewellery and sceptres. However, there is also a range of gowns and robes, tapestries, paintings, porcelain, books and liturgy artefacts. There are two impressive crowns, one is the Crown of the Holy Roman Empire and the Crown of the Austrian Empire. There is also the largest cut Emerald in the world (2680 Carats) along with the Gold Ewer and Basin, pictured below, which is used for Imperial Baptisms.
Even though there are literally hundreds of pieces in the treasury, I only managed a handful of photos. The problem is the lighting is very dim, and there is a restriction on the use of flash photography. One final piece that I will share with you has a link to the next spot I visited. The cupboard pictured below contains keys to over 100 coffins of the Hapsburg Family. These coffins are found in the Imperial Crypt at the Capuchin Church.
Kapuzinerkirche (Capuchin Church)
The very next stop for me was a considerable change to the gold and jewels of the Imperial Treasury. However, Kapuzinerkirche (Capuchin Church) has a very close link as being the location of the Kaisergruft (Imperial Crypt). For the importance of the church, the outside does look a little less important than you might think.
The Imperial Crypt located within this church is the final resting place for no less than 148 members of the House Hapsburg. The earliest burial within the crypt is from around 1618-19. They were the founders of the Capuchin Monastery and Crypt, the Emperor and Empress. The most recent burial was just last year.
After visiting my second crypt beneath a church in less than a week, I thought it might be time to visit something a little artsy. You know that you are in for something a little different as you approach KunstHausWien and I think you can see it from the picture below. Inside the experience is even more different.
KunstHausWien is a rather interesting and different step into the work of the artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928 – 2000). When you enter the building you become certain you are in for something a little different. It starts with the floor which is somewhat bumpy. The art around the building on the walls is very much an interpretive work through the eyes of the artists and the way he viewed the world.
The displays extend further than just art, though, there is an exceptional collection of architectural projects as well. Hundertwasser’s projects did explore many realms even as far as proposals for different flags for Australia and New Zealand. A range of different stamp designs, all of which have been used as intended. Along with a number of architectural projects or proposals for projects around Veinna. Including one building which is not far from the museum, Hundertwasser Krawinahause.
Today is a great example of a day that might have started with one plan but end up completely different. Although I am disappointed with missing the tour I had planned, I am happy that I got to see the places I did visit. I did get a chance today to pick up a few postcards and a souvenir. But tonight I am heading back to the hotel to pack my bags. Tomorrow I will be continuing my journey in Berlin, Germany.
The time that I have spent in Vienna has been a great first visit to Austria. If the rest of the country is even half what Vienna is, I can be certain that there is plenty more to explore. I can say I definitely look forward to returning one day in the future.