The magnificent Kunsthistorisches Museum in the heart of Vienna was built during the imperial era and is today one of the largest and most important museums in the world. Not only its precious collection, but also its architecture is simply breathtaking.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) in the centre of Vienna is the most important museum in the country and one of the largest and most important museums in the world. Every year, more than one million people visit the Vienna Art Museum, making it by far the most visited museum in Austria.
Table of contents
PICTURES: Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna
The KHM is enthroned on Maria-Theresien-Platz, opposite the no less imposing building of the Natural History Museum. Both are among the most important historical monuments on Vienna's Ringstrasse and one of our top 10 sights in Vienna.
Visit to the Museum of Art History
The exhibitions in the main building of the Kunsthistorisches Museum on Maria-Theresien-Platz in Vienna are divided into:
- the picture gallery
- the Egyptian-Oriental Collection
- the collection of antiques
- the Vienna Kunstkammer
- the coin cabinet
- the library
When you enter the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the first thing that amazes you is the magnificent architecture in the entrance hall. Both floor and ceiling are decorated with ornate patterns and opulent staircases lead between marbled columns into the exhibition rooms.
Particularly famous is the overwhelming grand staircase with a marble statue of Theseus fighting the Centaurs, flanked by two lions with the Habsburg coat of arms. The initials of Emperor Franz and Empress Elisabeth are also immortalised in marble on this staircase.
The grand staircase leads directly to the no less impressive domed hall, where a café provides culinary delights in the midst of a breathtaking ambience.
The rooms themselves are also sumptuously furnished and create an aura of majestic splendour with the valuable exhibits from a wide variety of cultures. Famous painters such as Rubens, Dürer, Arcimboldo, van Eyck, Titian, Vermeer or Bruegel (with the world's largest collection) are represented in the painting gallery.
Golden salt cask
Apart from the paintings, the Saliera by Benvenuto Cellini is probably the most famous treasure of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The golden salt cask achieved worldwide fame in May 2003 after it was stolen during renovation work and reappeared on 21 January 2006 in a forest in Zwettl, Lower Austria.
Culinary delights at the Kunsthistorisches Museum
The café and restaurant in the Kunsthistorisches Museum not only caters for the physical well-being of visitors during the day, but also invites you to very special occasions. Whether it's a gourmet evening for two or a cosy Sunday brunch with the whole family, you'll feel like an emperor yourself when dining in front of this magnificent backdrop!
After the meal, the actual values of the KHM beckon and so various collections, ongoing special exhibitions and the picture gallery can be viewed at leisure - even after the museum has closed its doors to visitors.
History of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
The first idea for a museum in Vienna was conceived by the Imperial and Royal Court archaeologist and coin collector Joseph von Arneth in 1833. Court archaeologist and coin collector Joseph von Arneth in 1833, but the project was only realised under Emperor Franz Joseph I in the course of the general expansion of the city.
At that time, the imperial collections of the Habsburgs, Ferdinand of Tyrol, Emperor Rudolf II and Archduke Leopold Wilhelm were brought together. At the Emperor's request, the two museum buildings were constructed close to, but also not too close to, the Hofburg - i.e. above the Ringstrasse.
The two architects Carl von Hasenauer and Gottfried Semper, who also built the Semper Opera in Dresden, were officially entrusted with the construction of the two museums in 1870. The foundation stone was laid on 27 November 1871. Despite differences between the two master builders (Hasenauer took over construction management alone in 1877), the Kunsthistorisches Museum was opened by Emperor Franz on 17 October 1891.