Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vienna Day 2: Hofburg, Imperial Crypt, and More

After a late start into the (sightseeing) day after having a longish breakfast with old friends from school who live in Vienna - No, I'm not jealous at all. (Secretly turns red with envy.) - the topic of my second day could best be described with "IMPERIAL SPLENDOUR". Yes, all in capital as Vienna has A LOT, again in capitals, of that.
First off was one of the homes of the noble families of the Austro-Hungarian empire, a recurring them of the day: The Palais Mollard-Clary. Built by a Mollard, bought by a Clary, today part of the national library.
Another one of these homes: The Palais Wilczek. Today apparently used by Sotheby's. (Obviously.)
Turns out, I forgot to take a picture of the exterior of the Michaelerkirche (St. Michael's Church). So here's the paschal candle...
...and a chapel within the church that once was the parish church of the Imperial Court.
And then I was off into the Hofburg palace. (The following pictures are taken with my iPhone, so not as good but handling the camera plus an audio guide would have been a bit tricky.)
First of was the Silver Treasury though it didn't only have silver...
...but also gold...
...and porcellain...
...and china (though not from China but from Japan, if I recall correctly).
I mean, I do know the Jack Dawson 'Just start from the outside and work your way in'-way of using silverware but with all this variety, it's easy to get confused.
Next came the Sisi Museum (which even has the needle file Empress Elisabeth was murdered with) and the Imperial Apartments located in the Hofburg Palace. Not sure what it says about me but I found the apartments a rather liveable place to live. Lots of white, gold and red. Everything very light, quite different to many other palaces I have visited in my life. You weren't allowed to take pictures in either the Sisi Museum or the Imperial Apartments.
Apart from the acknowledgement of my obvious expansive taste I will thus skip right ahead to another part of the palace: The one straight ahead through the gateway in the picture above - the Imperial Treasury.
There had lots of these things I don't recall the name of but they all had very fine embroidery.
And on to the real SPLENDOUR: The Crown of Emperor Rudolf II, which later became known as the Imperial Crown, along with the sceptre and the imperial orb.
Also featured where many beautiful (and important) robes.
The robe of the Austrian emperors. I mean, can't you just imagine to strut around in one of these?! (I told you I have an expansive taste.)
Detail of the coronation robe of the Kingdom of Lombardy and Venetia.
The throne-cradle of Emperor Napoléon II. His mother was an Austrian archduchess.
That archduchess was Marie-Louise. And this is her silver gilded and velvet jewellery box. Mine is not half as big, despite my expansive taste.
The christening robe of Emperor Franz Joseph I and his siblings.
And the baptismal font. (Well, rather bowl.)
A necklace and earrings made out of gold, silver, diamonds, emeralds and pink topazes once owned by Archduchess Sophie, mother of Franz Joseph.
Hi there, you lovely (and huge) aquamarine.
Even the orders are full of splendour. (Pun intended, Order of Splendor.) This one is the Military Order of Maria Theresia.
I don't recall who owned this one but it is emerald, diamond and big, obviously.
The crown of Stefan Bocskai.
In addition to the Secular Treasury, the Schatzkammer also features a Religious Treasury. It includes many, many relics, such as this one which allegedly includes a Holy Nail, and...
...other religious objects including the Imperial Gospel (on the left).
How better to round this part of my visit off than with another crown? The Crown of the Holy Roman Empire.
Then after four to five hours, I left the Hofburg Palace via the Burgtor. I then made my way...
...along a Mozart memorial...
...and the Albertina...
...to the Kapuzinerkirche. It's rather unremarkable at first glance (and my picture not too sharp) but lo and behold...
...it's rather lovely from the inside.
Though its main attraction lies below: The Imperial Crypt, Kaisergruft or Kapuzinergruft. The final resting place of twelve emperor, 19 empresses, and dozens and dozens of other Habsburgs.
Of course you feel morbid while visiting and being absolutely fascinated by it but as Moniek of History of Royal Women said, "It's morbid but it's so pretty!"
And it really is! (The big one is the coffin of Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Franz Stefan, by the way.)
One second you think "This is so pretty", while in the next you feel totally weird for just having thought that about the coffin of a real person. But once you get over that a little - doesn't take too long - it's very fascinating and even enjoyable. (Okay, I'm a weirdo.)
Some other coffin of some emperor. I don't think it's Emperor Franz I/II cause I seem to recall his coffin was behind this one.
This is the coffin of Princess Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg, Archduchess of Austria. She wasn't only the one who brought the Christmas tree to Austria but is also the only Protestant to be buried in the Imperial Crypt.
So, turns out there actually were/are Mexicans who like/d Emperor Maximilian.
A memorial plaque for Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Duchess Sophie of Hohenberg, whose murdered in Sarajevo in 1914 sparked World War I. They are buried in Schloss Artstetten, west of Vienna, as Sophie, a born countess, wasn't allowed to be interred at the Imperial Crypt.
Judging by the amount of flowers the most popular (or at least the most famous) members of the Habsburg dynasty: The coffins of Empress Elisabeth 'Sisi', Emperor Franz Joseph I, and their son Crown Prince Rudolf.
One thing that caught my attention was the wreath of flowers in front of the coffin of Archduke Carl-Ludwig from "Yola and children", presumably his wife Archduchess Yolande and her children. A similar wreath from "Yola and family" lay in front of the coffin of Empress Zita. Archduchess Yolande will (very likely) be the last person to be laid to rest in the Kapuzinergruft simply because there is no more space left.
Another person not to be buried in the crypt is Austria's last emperor, Blessed Karl. He was laid to rest in the place of his exile, Madeira. His wife, Empress Zita, however is buried in the Imperial Crypt, just like their oldest son, Crown Prince Otto (a.k.a. Otto von Habsburg), and his wife, née Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen.
A few more (former) noble homes: The Palais Lobkowicz...
...and the Palais Pallfy.
The Austrian National Library (right) and the Augustinerkirche, you might recall from yesterday, (left).
Speaking of things you might recall from yesterday, the Palais Pallavicini.
Not from yesterday but new instead: The Palais Esterházy.
The Church of the Nine Choirs of Angels (what a name!) where I ended up in a Croatian, I believe, service so I quickly backed out again. (Note to self: Do not visit churches around 6pm.)
Something I'm not quite sure what it is but it looks interesting!
The Palais Ferstel. There are lots of palais in Vienna in case you haven't noticed yet...!
Just to prove my point: The Palais Harrach...
...aaaaaand the Palais Daun-Kinsky. (Just like earlier on: Built by a Daun, bought by a Kinsky.)
Opposite is the Schottenkirche...
...where there was also a mass going on. (Note to self: Seriously, that wasn't a joke before. Do not visit churches in Vienna around 6pm!) However, it looked interesting so I'll try to visit sometime again, just not around 6pm.
And so in wandered on, saw all kind of things here and there, didn't take pictures of everything I saw, and so on. On the picture above is the Votivkirche, where - even though it was 7pm-ish - there wasn't a mass going on but the church was already closed for the day. And so I called it a sightseeing day and instead enjoyed a Schnitzel, until tomorrow!

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