VIENNA — Museum Quarter and Around

This part of the Ringstrasse runs from Parlament to Schwarzenbergplatz and includes the area known as MuseumsQuartier. This area contains some magnificent architecture with its host of museums. Here you will also find the relatively peaceful plazas of Maria-Theresien-Platz and Burggarten with its statue of Mozart. The Museumplatz contains lots of excellent museums as well as great cafes and places just to sit and relax.

The sights found here are:
Palais Epstein
Naturhistorisches Museum
Akademie der Bildenden Künste
Secession
MuseumsQuartier
Kunsthistorisches Museum
Architekturzentrum Wien
Kunsthalle
Leopold Museum
MUMOK
Zoom

Palais Epstein

Palais Epstein
The Palais Epstein is found right next to Parlament and is one of the most important palaces on the Ringsrasse. It was designed by Theophil Hansen and was built from 1873 to 1883 in the Greek Revival style. It was originally the home of the prominent Jewish family Epstein. Later it was the headquarters of the Soviet Union and it was used in the period after WW2 as the departure point for people being deported to Siberia. Since 2005 it has been used for parliamentary purposes. There is a small permanent exhibition on the ground floor on the changing history of the palace and the Epstein family, as well as the contribution of Viennese Jewry to architecture around the year 1900. You can take a tour of its lavish rooms with their magnificent ceiling frescoes.
For information about Palais Epstein visit the website at: http://www.epstein.at/PALAIS_EPSTEIN_ENGLISH/Willkommen%20im%20Palais%20Epstein_E_Portal.shtml

Naturhistorisches Museum
This Natural History Museum is the scientific part of the Museum of Art History which is found opposite and mirrors it architecturally. The exhibits are an assortment of minerals, gemstones and both prehistoric and modern animal exhibits. Some of the highlights include the tiny Venus of Willendorf, a mysterious and magical female figure from the Upper Palaeolithic period and the magnificent bouquet of precious stones that were presented to Franz Stephan by Maria Theresia with its 2102 diamonds and other precious stones.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.nhm-wien.ac.at/Content.Node/museum/index1.html

Akademie der Bildenden Künste
The Academy of Fine Arts is less visited than some of the larger galleries but it is still worth seeing. It concentrates on Flemish, Dutch and German artists including Bosch, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Rubens, Titian, Francesco Guardi and Cranach the Elder. Some of the highlights found here are Bosch’s Triptych of the Last Judgement altarpiece (1504 - 1508) which is rather gruesome with its depiction of Hell and Ruben’s rather splendid Bacchanal (1611 - 1615).
For information about Palais Epstein visit the website at: http://www.epstein.at/PALAIS_EPSTEIN_ENGLISH/Willkommen%20im%20Palais%20Epstein_E_Portal.shtml

Secession

Secession
In 1897 nineteen artists broke away from the conservative artistic establishment to form the Vienna Secession that was part of the Secessionism movement that is now known as Art Nouveau. The artists who included Klimt, Josef hoffman, Kolo Moser and Joseph M Olbrich wanted to create a new style of contemporary art. The honour of designing their new building was given to Olbrich. The design of the building is vastly different from the rest of the buildings on the Ringstrasse and its most striking feature would have to be the golden dome on the turret on the roof which has sometimes been described as the ‘golden cabbage’. One of the highlights of the museum is the Beethoven Frieze by Max Klinger which is quite extraordinary and is found in the basement. Also of interest is the small room you enter before going to see the frieze where the story of the building is told.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.secession.at/e.html

MuseumQuartier
This area is found around Museumplatz and here you will find a lot of museums as well as cafes and wonderful public spaces. The museum complex that you see here today was finished in 2001 on the site of the former imperial stables. The complex was built after much controversy at the cost of around 145 million euros and is the eight largest cultural complex in the world. It houses the Leopold Museum; MUMOK; Kunsthalle; Zoom, Architekturzentrum Wien and Tanzquartier Wien which is Vienna’s first dance institution. At the front of the complex is Quartier 21 which is full of shops and temporary exhibitions and at the other entrance is a theatre for children called Dschungel Wien. Also in the MuseumQuartier is a large open space called Haupthof which houses events throughout the year particularly the summer months.
For information about what events are on at the MuseumQuartier visit the website at: http://www.mqw.at/fset_en.html

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Kunsthistorisches Museum
The Museum of Art History is one of the finest museums in Europe and it contains many of the fabulous art collections gathered by the Habsburgs. This magnificent building is situated across from the Hofburg Palace. There is so much to see here, not only the exhibits but the building itself should be admired with its marble interiors and beautiful ceiling paintings. There is too much to see in one visit so it is best viewed in sections. On the ground floor to the right as you enter is the west wing where the Egyptian and Greek and Roman collections are housed. Some of the highlights found in the Egyptian rooms are the burial chamber of Prince Kaninsut and the examples of the Egyptian Book of the Dead on papyrus found in the Egyptian. In Room 15 in the Greek and Roman section is the Gemma Augustea cameo. In the east wing there are some exquisite 17th century ornaments as well as some 16th and 17th century highly decorated clocks.

The first floor is the picture gallery and this is the most important part of the museum. There are works by some of the greatest European masters. The east wing is dedicated to German, Dutch and Flemish painting. There are so many masterpieces that it is hard to find a few highlights but there are a few worth mentioning such as the collection of art by Pieter Bruegel the Elder including his Hunters in the Snow and The Return of the Herd. Other works found here include works by Albrecht Düerr including The Holy Trinity Surrounded by All Saints and Martyrdom of 10,000 Christians. There are also works by Rubens and Rembrandt found in this section. In the west wing you will find works by Titian, Raphael including his Madonna in the Meadow as well as works by Tintoretto, Caravaggio and Velazquez.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.khm.at/en/khm/

Traveller's Tip

Because of its sheer size and the number of things to see it is best to arm yourself with some kind of guide to the museum. This can be one of the maps for sale or there are actual guides to take you around but you must request one in English — probably the easiest way is to take the audio guide tour for a few euros.

Architekturzentrum Wien
This is Vienna’s Architecture Centre found north of MUMOK. It consists of three halls of temporary exhibits with the main focus being on international architectural developments. There is also a library that is open to the public.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.azw.at/startpage.php?style=default&lang_id=en

Traveller's Tip

If you are interested in architecture there are tours organised by the centre that you can take. See the website for details.

Kunsthalle
The Kunsthalle which is found between the Leopold Museum and MUMOK is a collection of exhibition halls displaying both local and international contemporary art. The exhibitions are temporary but focus mainly on photography, film, video and new media.
For information about Kunsthalle visit the website at: http://www.kunsthallewien.at/en/

Leopold Museum
The Leopold Museum is probably the most-visited museum in Vienna. The building is very unusual looking very much like a white cube on the outside but inside it is full of light with huge panoramic windows giving a wonderful view of the city centre. The museum houses the most important and largest Egon Schiele collection in the world as well as works by Gustav Klimt, Josef Hofmann,Koloman Moser and Albin Egger-Lienz. Some of the highlights include Klimt’s Tod und Leben (Death and Life), Schiel’s Selbstportrait mitt Judenkirschen (Self-Portrait with Winter Cherries) and Kardinale und Nüen (Cardinal and Nun).
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.khm.at/en/khm/

MUMOK

MUMOK
The outside of the Museum of Modern Art is impressive but the inside is less so. The collection includes nouveau realism, pop art and photorealism and other modern art genres but the exhibits are cramped and not very well lit. If you like this type of art the best include works by Andy Warhol, jasper Johns and Rauschenberg.
For information about MUMOK visit the website at:
http://www.mumok.at/?L=1

Zoom
If you are travelling with children then this is the museum for you as it is a Children’s Museum. There are a lot of hands-on activities for children to express their creativity and there are a series of programmes for the children to get involved in. Some of these may need to be booked if they are popular. The Museum is aimed at children aged between 0 and 14 years.
To find out more information about the programmes visit the website at:
http://www.kindermuseum.at/jart/prj3/zoom/main.jart?rel=en&content-id=1127609922453&reserve-mode=active