The Ambras Castle in Innsbruck

The Ambras Castle

The Ambras Castle ©arpaderba/Flick

The capital of the Austrian province of Tyrol, Innsbruck occupies a narrow area in the valley of the river Inn, bordered by the Alps to the north and south as the river flows from west to east. The link between Innsbruck and the winter games hides the true history of the city and its association with the Habsburgs, particularly with Emperor Maximilian.

The Ambras Castle (Schloss Ambras in German) is one of the most popular cultural sites in the provincial capital of Tyrol, Innsbruck and is positioned just above it on the map. It is a beautiful place that worth to be visited.


The Ambras Castle and its garden in Innsbruck

The Ambras Castle and its garden in Innsbruck ©arpaderba/Flick

The origin of the museum

Its origin is linked to the life and work of Archduke Ferdinand II, a true Renaissance prince and an enthusiast of the arts and sciences. He founded the Ambras collections and designs for them a special place, a kind of an avant-garde and modern museum of his time.

The lower and the upper castle

The castle consists of two main buildings and a garden. The lower castle or the Unterschloss is trying to rebuild the initial concept of the museum: the room of the Archduke of art and curiosities, the armory and the Antiquarium. The upper castle or the Hochschloss contains the exceptional gallery of the Habsburg family portraits with over 200 paintings, including the works of Velasquez, Titian, Van Dyck and Lukas Cranach. On the upper floor of the Hochschloss you will find a collection of sculptures from the late Middle Ages.

The wall of the Ambras Castle

The wall of the Ambras Castle ©arpaderba/Flick

A modern museum of those times

What makes the collections of the Ambras castle to be so special is the way they are presented, an example of the modern museum. It dates from the sixteenth century and is among the few collections that have survived in their original location. Archduke Ferdinand II receives the Ambras castle from his father, Emperor Ferdinand I in 1564. At that time, it was a medieval castle. Archduke Ferdinand transformed it into a Renaissance palace, getting involved directly in its planning.

The collection of armory differs from other similar collections from the same period by the fact that the elements are organized according to a unique concept. The Archduke aimed to illustrate the historical role of the Habsburg House and to commemorate the deeds of illustrious characters. It was the first time in the history of the collections, when the appearance of the presentation is taken seriously. The Archduke thinks about details like the illumination of the exposed objects and their colorful arrangement. The collections presented in the Ambras Castle became so famous that became the name of a famous coin collection: “the 10 Euro Coin of the Ambras Castle.”

The Ambras Castle

The Ambras Castle ©arpaderba/Flick

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