Alte Burg - Hofburg - Vienna

Alte Burg - Hofburg - Vienna

Alte Burg lies in the heart of the Hofburg, more or less in the same place as the first fortress erected in 1275 r. and gradually enlarged over the centuries by successive Habsburgs. From the main entrance known as the Swiss Gate (Swiss gate) from Swiss mercenaries, who guarded there under Maria Theresa, a small section of the old moat and the original drawbridge mechanism are visible. A gate with maroon and gray stripes, decorated with gilded reliefs, is the most beautiful building of this type in the Hofburg. It was built in 1552 r. by order of Ferdinand I., and above there is a large plaque with a gilded inscription, which lists his countless kingdoms, ending the list with the famous "ZC”, meaning "etc.”. The Schweizertor leads to the inner Swiss Courtyard (Schweizerhof), around which there are uniform buildings, few interesting facades designed by Nico-la Picassi, the court architect of Maria Teresa. The stairs on the right lead to the Chapel of the Assumption, where the Vienna Boys' Choir sings every Sunday during the mass. Below is the entrance to the vault, where the most valuable treasures of the Habsburgs are kept.


Of all the Hofburg museums, this is the imperial treasury (treasury) makes the greatest impression by far. There you can admire numerous testimonies of medieval European jewelery craftsmanship, among them imperial insignia and relics of the Holy Roman Empire, not to mention the Habsburg Coronation Jewels, countless reliquaries and robes, gold and silver products. Many of them came here thanks to Ferdinand. During his reign, the collection became an unofficial depository of the Habsburgs. During the reign of Charles VI, the treasures were collected and deposited on the ground floor of Alte Burg. The iron entrance gate comes from 1712 year. You can walk around twenty rooms at will, but – Caution – the exhibits are described only in German.

Insignia and memorabilia of the Habsburgs

Starting from the 15th century, with only a short break, The Habsburgs reigned as Roman emperors. As the imperial insignia was kept according to tradition in Nuremburg, they got their own, presented in the first two rooms. The most interesting exhibit in the room 1 it's a simple silver-plated apple and scepter made from narwhal tusks in Prague at the end of the 14th century. Initially, these items belonged to the Czech crown jewels. In the room 2 attention is drawn to the 17th-century gold crown of Rudolf II set with diamonds, rubinami, pearls, with a huge sapphire on the top. After 1804 year it was used as the imperial Austrian crown. She also comes from Prague. Rudolf's physiognomy can be recognized thanks to the bronze bust by his court architect, Adriana de Vriesa – the emperor looks glum and lost in thought. Franz Joseph, anticipating the facts, in year 1804 proclaimed himself Emperor of Austria, and two years later he ceased to be the Holy Roman Emperor. On the occasion of the coronation ceremony of his son on the Hungarian throne, St. 1830 r. he ordered a gorgeous gold-embroidered purple cloak with an ermine collar and a long train, which can now be seen in the hall 3, next to velvet knight hats – they are easy to recognize by the huge ostrich feathers. In the room 4 the coronation regalia of the King of Lombardo-Venice are on display, land allocated to the Habsburgs at the Congress of Vienna in the year 1815, and later lost by Franz Joseph in 1859 i 1866.

This is where the chronology breaks down a bit. After walking through the room 9 turn left into the hall 5 which is the first of the children's beds – overworked silver-plated cradle with silk and velvet trim, made in 1811 r. in Paris for Napoleon's son, the prince of Reichstadt known as the king of Rome. It was a gift from his mother, Marie Louise, daughters of Emperor Francis I. It could be, that unhappy child, over whose cradle hovered a golden eagle, they were tormented by nightmares. King of Rome, poor health, sensitive boy, he died of tuberculosis at the age of just 21 lat. In the same room, you can also see mementoes of Franz Józef's brother, Maximilian, including his golden Mexican scepter, with a parade chain and a crown.

In the room 6 there are baptism dresses, some are hand-embroidered by Maria Teresa for her grandchildren. In the room 7 the remains of the private jewels of the Habsburgs were placed (most of them were secretly deported at the behest of Charles I a few weeks before the end of World War I.). Among what is left in the palace, there are some quite some stones, such as a 2680 carat fist-sized Colombian emerald (it was given the form of a salt shaker in Prague in 1611 r.), huge La Bella grenade, which is the centerpiece of the $ 20 gold, as well as amethyst and opal covered with enamel. Another value is a massive golden Turkish crown from the year 1605, inlaid with pearls and precious stones, belonging to the rebellious king of Hungary, Istvana Bocskai. In this good company, it's easy to overlook a few – so to speak, modest – jewels belonging to Empress Elizabeth. Before leaving, it is also worth seeing the golden rose, a gift from the Pope to the wife of Francis I.. On the fourth Sunday of Lent, the Pope traditionally offers a golden rose to a person of particular merit to the church.

In the room 8 the 4th century agate vessel stolen from Constantinople was displayed, which for many years was considered a chalice, from which Christ drank the wine at the Last Supper (Holy Grail), and a narwhal incisor in length 2,43 metra, which was supposed to be a unicorn's horn.

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