I really find museums fascinating; I personally feel that both the artifacts as well as the architecture of the building that houses them reflect the culture and history of the city and people. So you can imagine that I delighted in my first visit to the Vienna Naturhistoriches Museum. I’m proud to say that I did not get lost on this venture out of my district (I live in the 21st and the Museum Quarters are located in the 7th – 3 train transfers again but the same route as previous ventures)!
The atmosphere that surrounds the Museum Quarters is just amazing and quite palpable – ages-old, formerly royal buildings, surrounded by carefully maintained gardens, walkways, fountains, and statues. There were tourists everywhere but conversations were held reverently low and everyone’s faces reflected the same measure of excitement and awe as mine. And all of this over a museum??
Naturhistoriches Museum of Vienna is one of the largest in the world, housing 39 exhibition halls.
Statue of Maria Theresa with the Kuntshistoriches (Art History) Museum in the background.
One of the fountains in the gardens.
The ground floor is filled with minerals and stone collections from all over the world. This lizard is carved from the a stone that mimics its natural coloring.
Through the various carvings and paintings, one is constantly reminded of the 'majesty' and history of the building.
This floral arrangement of gems were a present to the King and Queen.
Floral bouquet made of precious stones in China.
Each room showcases different statues and paintings.
A Planetenmachine (planetary machine) presented to the king in 1750; this allowed him to mark the movements of sun and the planets around us.
Moon rock brought back on the Apollo 17 and presented by President Nixon to Austria for its assistance in the venture and as a sign of goodwill between the countries.
To illustrate how some animals see, one exhibition showcases thermal signatures - my friend's is on the right and I'm on the left. The range flows from blue (cold) to yellow (moderate heat) to white (hot). My forehead is exploding with heat!
A geo-sustainable agricultural design - pretty cool!
Me ascending the grand staircase to the second floor.
Don't forget to look up as you ascend the grand staircase.
At the top of stairs, we were greeted by Maria Theresa's favorite pooch.
Portrait of the king indulging in his passion for artifacts.
The architecture and decoration are just riveting!
Of course, with over 35 exhibition rooms, this is just a taste of the wonders available; we spent over 3 hours exploring the ground floor but, as hunger edged us out the door and toward the cafes on Mariahilfer Straße, we vowed to return soon to complete our upstairs exploration.