Both young and old are guaranteed to spend hours looking and marvelling in the Imperial Treasury Vienna. In the world’s most significant treasury, visitors can view countless valuable objects from the 1,000-year history of the Western world.
The treasury is home to unique Habsburg treasures, including the Imperial Crown of Emperor Rudolf II and the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, the treasury of the Order of the Golden Fleece, or even the largest cut emerald in the world.
The sumptuous collection is predominantly based on the generous donations from Emperor Charles VI (1685–1740), his wife Elisabeth Christine (1691–1750), and their daughter, Empress Maria Theresa (1717–1780).
Secular Treasury: From unicorns to the Golden Fleece
The Secular Treasury tells over 1,000 years of European history. The absolute highlights are without a doubt the Austrian Imperial Crown, jewels from the Order of the Golden Fleece, the agate bowl that represents the legendary Holy Grail, or the famous, so-called Unicorn Horn (“Ainkhürn”).
This is, of course, not really the horn of the mythical creature but rather the long tusk of a narwhal (a small whale currently under protection). Narwhal teeth are actually similar to the mythical horns in length and composition, meaning that until the early modern era, they were taken for such and were correspondingly valuable and expensive.
For this reason, some ruling houses were gifted with these teeth. Such was the case in Austria too, which received it from Poland in the 16th century – provided that they would never sell it. This is why this “unicorn horn” can be admired in the museum to this day.
This treasury is home to a valuable inventory of vestments from the 18th century. Therefore, a journey through the art history of piety and religion awaits you here. The exhibits whisk you away to the centuries of the cult of relics, Catholicism, and popular beliefs. The liturgical garments are among the most impressive pieces: For these, valuable fabrics from France or Italy were often procured and decorated with additional embroidery.
360-degree view of the exhibition
How to reach the Imperial Treasury in Vienna
Address: Hofburg, Schweizerhof, 1010 Vienna
Map and location:
Further information on opening hours and guided tours