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3 Brilliant Art Complexes in Vienna

3 Brilliant Art Complexes in Vienna header

It is well known that Vienna is a global capital of all that is artistic. It is an absolute must on the list of places to visit for art lovers. Places like Natural History Museum, the House of Music, or Austrian Museum of Applied Arts will guarantee that you will not be bored for a single second, but will always have a chance to see an artistic wonder housed in Vienna’s museums and galleries. Here are three superb art complexes you can visit and enjoy any time of the year, though admittedly, it is best to explore them during nice and dry weather.


The first one on the list is a man-made wonder – the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, art patron and collector. This is a magnificent Baroque palace that consists of two palaces: Upper and Lower Belvedere, and it’s the home of Belvedere Museum. First, visit the three floors of the Upper Belvedere where you will find four hundred twenty works of art showcasing the history of the Belvedere and the art of the periods of Middle Ages, Baroque, Classicism, Biedermeier, Vienna Modernism, around 1900, as well as inter-war and post-war periods. So you can really witness the centuries of development of art in Austria. Gustav Klimt fans will rejoice, as they will find here the largest collection of his works in the world. But that’s not all, as many masterpieces by Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka call this place home too.

In the equally grandiose Lower Belvedere you’ll see the Hall of the Grotesque, the Marble Gallery, the Golden Room, the Orangery, and the medieval art in the stables. You will find beauty here like no other, reflected in the historical and art pieces, and you’ll walk through the breath-taking Baroque gardens with a pool reflecting the building’s façade, with the large terraces connecting the Upper and the Lower Belvedere.


Near the Imperial Palace you’ll find the brilliant MuseumsQuartier Wien (MQ) – a complex that is 60,000m2 large and houses Baroque and Modern buildings, famous art museums, small installations, contemporary exhibition spaces, various festivals and events, etc. The Tanzquartier, the Designforum Wien, monochrome, the ZOOM Children’s Museum, and the MQ Point shop, are all located here. MQ’s trademark is the modern outdoor furniture, called Enzi, as well as the courtyards which often host literary, film, dance, and art performances. Courtyards are connected by beautiful Baroque passageways that serve as mini-museums. The famous Q21 is also located here – the workplace of about fifty associations, initiatives, agencies, editorial offices, and artists-in-residence.

Make sure to visit the Leopold Museum, home to one of the world’s most important collections of about 6,000 works of Austrian art of the second half of the 19th century and modern times. Next up is the mumok – Museum of Modern Art, which houses around 9,000 works from the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly Pop Art and Photorealism, Fluxus and Nouveau Réalisme, and Viennese Actionism. After this wonderful experience, visit the former Baroque winter riding hall, now the site of the Kunsthalle Wien, which has a great variety of international contemporary art. Finally, go to the Az W – Architekturzentrum Wien, one of Austria’s most successful architecture centers, and see its world-famous collection.

The Hofburg

Located in the very center of Vienna, you’ll find this artistic wonder! Facing the Heldenplatz, flanked by the twin museums Kunsthistorisches Museum and Naturhistorisches Museum, and built in the 13th century, the Hofburg served as the imperial winter residence of the Habsburg rulers, while Schönbrunn Palace served as the summer residence. Some of its most famous residents are Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Empress Elisabeth of Austria, known as Sissi. Today, it’s the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria.

You’ll see here the Stallburg or the imperial mews, used by the Spanish Riding School; the Augustinian Church – home to the Hearts’ Crypt where fifty-four hearts of House of Habsburg rulers are kept in silver urns; the amazing wings like the St. Michael’s Wing, the Amalienburg, the Leopoldine Wing, and the Imperial Chancellery Wing with the Winter Riding School; the grand and marvelously decorated Hall of Ceremonies; the Imperial Treasury with twenty-one rooms full or exquisite treasures;  the Burgtheater – one of the world’s most important theatres; and the famous Albertina museum.

The oldest parts of the palace is the 13th-century Swiss Court, with a 15th-century gothic chapel. The New Castle was completed in 1913 and it houses a number of museums, including the Ephesos Museum, the Imperial Armory, the Collection of Historical Musical Instruments, and the Museum of Ethnology.

Absolute Hofburg must-sees include the Sissi Museum with numerous magnificent items that once belonged to Empress Elisabeth; the splendid Silver Collection Museum; the fascinating Imperial Apartments; and the brilliant 18th-century Imperial Library, today under the auspices of the Austrian National Library, with over 12 million items and four museums. The 17th-century opera house was converted into the dance and concert halls, which now have a number of oil paintings based on literary quotations and a massive ceiling painting with thirty-four handwritten verses of Karl Kraus’ poem “Youth”.

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