Neue Burg from Inside: Museums

Inside the huge Neue Burg building, there is the main reading room of the Austrian National Library as well as four quite remarkable museums. They are all branch museums of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which was in urgent need for more exhibition space. Breaking the collection up into several museums actually helps to keep the collection somewhat user-friendly. The first museum coming from the Burgtor (which was built by Emperor Franz I of Austria to commemorate that he finally bet Napoleon in the "Battle of the Nation" in Leipzig), you will get to the "Museum für Völkerkunde" (Museum of Human Anthropology).

Horse carriages on the Heldenplatz Square in front of the Hofburg

Most of the museum was recently refurbished and despite of the rather old-fashioned approach to the topic, the display itself is in good shape. The collection is a vast array of religious and secular art and crafts from all over the World. Particularly impressive pieces include the collection of Oriental items and pieces from the Far East including the Imperial Throne of China′s Forbidden City, stolen by Austria from right there in an imperialist boost of self-confidence, as well as items from Korea and Japan.

A large collection of Polynesian art hits you as somewhat surprising in Vienna - as British and Dutch sailors were the big dudes in terms of discoveries in this part of the World. The reason is that many items accumulated by Captain Cook were bought at an auction in 1806 by Emperor Franz I. However, the collection is most famous for the 16th century feather crown of the Aztec King Montezuma II. Indio leagues from Mexico keep requesting the return of the feather crown. But they don′t get it, because they are neither Jewish nor equipped with Harvard-trained lawyers. Deserves them right.

Ephesus Museum (spelled "Ephesos" in Austria)

By 1866, when Austrians and Turks got along well again after centuries of vicious warfare, Viennese archaeologists made their way to the ancient town of Ephesus. There they dug out all sorts of exciting things that were shipped back home in a constant stream until laws were released in Turkey to end the export of archaeological findings (which some might refer to as "looting").

Anyway, the collection was used for research only and not open to the public until 1978. In this year, the Ephesus Museum was opened with its mast famous piece being the "Parthian Frieze". International visitors of Vienna typically do not go to the Ephesus Museum, as it rather targets people with a specialist interest in Mediterranean archaeology.

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Other Parts of the Hofburg

Hofburg Introduction - Albertina - Kaiserappartements - Schatzkammer Treasury - Neue Burg Gardens & Heldenplatz - Museums of Ethnology & Ephesos  - National Library - Augustinerkirche - Spanish Riding School - Burgkapelle & Vienna Boys' Choir - Arms Collection & Old Instruments

Further Reading

Official website of the Vienna Tourist Information

Museum für Völkerkunde

Information on the Ephesus Museum