Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The fascinating Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Vienna, Austria

The Heeresgeschichtliches Museum is the Museum of Military History and is located in the center of the Arsenal. The style of the building is very unique; it is Moorish with byzantine influences. It was built between 1850 and 1856 which makes it the oldest museum in Vienna.

The museum is divided into 5 main sections from the 16th century to the end of World War II. This is the history of the Hapsburg family who ruled the Austria, Spain and large sections of Europe for centuries. The first room is the Thirty Years War during the reign of Maria Theresa and Prince Eugene of Savoy who was a great military leader of that time period. There is a set of his armor, which shows what a very small man he was in stature even though he was a great military man. There is an Ottoman tent that was capture during the war with the Turks, loads of amazing guns, early rifles, pikes etc. It is the sort of museum that will appeal to the entire family.

The conflicts with France were an off and on affair over several centuries but the museum is focused for the most part on the Napoleonic era.


For me the most amazing exhibits were the ones leading up to World War I. The car that Franz Ferdinand was riding in when he was assassinated is in the museum, also the uniform that he was wearing and couch that he died on. There is a whole room on Austrian naval history including a replica of the ship that carried home the body of the executed emperor of Mexico, Maximilian, who was Franz Josef's brother.

We had a headphone set to carry around and give us additional information on some of the exhibits. There are also sheets in every room in English that give more information. We spent over 2 hours here and the men especially were fascinated. There is a lot to see and much to enjoy. If you would like to have a guided tour, they will make an effort to provide it for you, you just let them know what your interests are.

The museum is open seven days week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is a good option for a Monday when some of the other museums may be closed. In addition to the permanent exhibits there are usually some special exhibits. You can check the museum website to find out what is being shown at any given time. The entire museum offers free Wi-Fi.


To get to this museum we took the UI to Sudtirolerplatz station and then took the 13A bus for 2 stops. It is a little off the beaten track but worth the effort. The museum is free on the first Sunday of the month. Every other day the entrance is  € 6 Euro with an additional €2 for the audio tour. 

The museum has a very interesting shop and a cafe if you need to eat. This is a very interesting museum to visit and I highly recommend it.

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